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Packers pass rush could tell the story in playoff meeting with 49ers

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) drops back to pass against the Green Bay...
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) drops back to pass against the Green Bay Packers during the first half of an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Nov. 24, 2019. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)(Tony Avelar | AP)
Published: Jan. 19, 2022 at 6:14 PM CST
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - In the playoffs the Packers have to affect the opposing passer.

2 years ago, in the NFC Championship Game loss to San Francisco, Jimmy Garoppolo only had to throw it 8 times as Green Bay was ground into oblivion. They didn’t affect the passer that night.

And last year in the title game loss to Tampa Bay, the Packers only sacked Tom Brady once.

But in Green Bay’s 2 playoff wins under Matt LaFleur? They sacked Russell Wilson 5 times in a 2019 Divisional win and got Jared Goff 4 times in a 2020 Divisional win. The Packers totaled 23 QB hits in those contests.

And, in their Week 3 win at San Fran this season, Green Bay gave itself a blueprint for success by building a lead and sacking Garoppolo 4 times with 11 QB hits.

“It is very vital,” said Pro Bowl defensive lineman Kenny Clark. “We have to stop the run and get after their passer. At this point it is all great quarterbacks when you get into the playoffs. When you get to this point you have to get after him and affect him and make him make bad decisions and throws.”

“Any way possible, we have to make sure that he’s not comfortable,” said Preston Smith, who had 9 sacks this season. “We have to make sure we take away any of his reads and make sure we are in those windows and we don’t allow him to sit back there comfortably. We gotta make sure to get pressure on him when we get our opportunities and make sure he’s not having a comfortable pocket it front of him to make those throws.”

Last week in the 49ers’ narrow playoff victory over Dallas, Garoppolo was not sacked a single time, yet still almost gave the game away. And if you’ll recall back in Week 3, he tried to throw the game away with turnovers as well. Aaron Rodgers’ heroics were still needed on that night, but affecting Garoppolo could go a long way towards winning on Saturday night.

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