The Packers crushed the hapless Atlanta Falcons, 44-21, in the NFC Championship while the Steelers embarrassed the host New England Patriots, 36-17, to win the AFC. Both road teams won with surprising ease.
The Packers got off to a 31-0 lead on the strength of four Aaron Rodgers touchdown passes. Jordy Nelson had two of these touchdowns, along with 180 yards receiving as the Falcons defense could do nothing to stop the duo. At one point, Green Bay scored on four consecutive drives.
The Falcons defense was pitiful, allowing 493 yards and showing what frauds they were. Matt Ryan threw three TDs for the Falcons, but they were too little, too late and the home crowd was howling its displeasure from the opening drive.
In New England, the Patriots were mostly inept, dropping two touchdown passes on offense and playing a soft, passive zone that allowed Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger to throw for 384 yards and three touchdowns. So much for defensive mastermind Bill Belichick.
Tom Brady was deflated most of the game and his 314 passing yards resulted in only nine points in the first three-plus quarters. The stands were 90% empty at game’s end as only Steelers fans hung around on a warm, clear night in Foxboro to celebrate the AFC title.
The Packers and Steelers will meet in the Super Bowl in Houston and an estimated 500 million to 1 billion viewers are expected to tune in to what will be the most-watched game in history. I, for one, can’t wait.