Sun Jan 19 9:55pm ET
By JANIE McCAULEY
AP Sports Writer
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is sacked by San Francisco 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa, Left, and defensive tackle DeForest Buckner during the first half of the NFL NFC Championship football game Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020, in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Photo/Matt York)
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) is sacked by San Francisco 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa (97) during the first half of the NFL NFC Championship football game Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020, in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
San Francisco 49ers defensive back K'Waun Williams, right, knocks the ball away from Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers during the first half of the NFL NFC Championship football game Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020, in Santa Clara, Calif. The Packers recovered. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) watches from the sideline during the first half of the NFL NFC Championship football game against the San Francisco 49ers Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020, in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) rolls out during the first half of the NFL NFC Championship football game against the San Francisco 49ers Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020, in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) A sack and fumble one series, a muffed snap he couldn’t handle the next, then an interception that grounded Green Bay for good.
Aaron Rodgers’ latest failure in the NFC championship game kept him out of the Super Bowl once again, the Packers’ season ending just short with an another forgettable playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers, 37-20 on Sunday.
Rodgers hasn’t advanced past the conference title game since his lone Super Bowl trip - and triumph - after the 2010 season. His disappointment showed on the sideline, where Rodgers stood stone-faced, hands on his hips.
Sure, Rodgers completed his first eight passes but the Packers (14-4) never found an offensive rhythm and had no answers for Jimmy Garoppolo or dynamic running back Raheem Mostert on the other side of the ball.
Rodgers made another futile return to the Bay Area where he starred for the University of California at Berkeley, with far less chatter these days about the 49ers passing on him in favor of Alex Smith as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2005 NFL draft. The 36-year-old Rodgers, born in the Northern California town of Chico, finally led a scoring drive to begin the second half when he connected with Aaron Jones on a 9-yard touchdown pass. Jones ran for a 1-yard score early in the fourth.
Rodgers wound up 31 of 39 for 326 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions with a 97.2 passer rating while dropping his third straight conference title game over a six-year stretch. He also lost in the NFC championship after the 2014 and ’16 seasons. His highlight Sunday came with a 65-yard completion to Davante Adams with his team trailing 34-13 that set up Jace Sternberger's 8-yard TD reception.
That gave Rodgers 40 career playoff touchdown passes, breaking Brett Favre's franchise record of 39. Rodgers' night ended with an interception by Richard Sherman at the 5.
The rambunctious and raucous Cheeseheads couldn’t even help his cause in a surprisingly red-clad sellout crowd given Green Bay fans typically travel well. Last week in Wisconsin, they watched him play one of his best games of the season to beat the Seahawks.
Rodgers went 8 of 8 to start for 66 yards, but the Packers were forced to punt their first two possessions. Rodgers fumbled when sacked by K’Waun Williams for a 15-yard loss their next time and Green Bay punted again - totaling just 18 yards of offense in its first three offensive series. The Packers trailed 27-0 by halftime gaining only 93 yards.
Rodgers was sacked on his second third-down conversion attempt of the game for a loss of 13 yards. Nick Bosa came at the quarterback again from the right edge.
In the postseason, Rodgers has a rough history on San Francisco’s home field.
Most notably: He was the reigning NFL MVP when Colin Kaepernick thoroughly outshined him in the NFC divisional round in January 2013. Postseason first-timer Kaepernick ran for a quarterback playoff record 181 yards and two touchdowns in leading the Niners back to the conference championship with a 45-31 victory over Green Bay.
Rodgers never got in sync that night at Candlestick Park and finished 26 of 39 for 257 yards with two touchdowns. He also lost 23-20 to San Francisco in the wild-card round the next season at Lambeau Field.
Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones carried the ball 12 times for 56 yards and a rushing touchdown along with five catches for 27 yards and a receiving score in a 37-20 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Jones was running well and would have been able to do more damage on the ground if not for the 27-0 deficit at the half. The 24-year-old finished the year tied for the NFL lead in touchdowns with 19, then added four more scores in the playoffs. He (likely) won't score this many times next year, though Jones proved he's more than just a touchdown machine, racking up career-highs in both rushing and receiving yards. He'll be among the best options in 2020 for fantasy backs in all formats.
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers completed 31 of 39 passes for 326 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions in a 37-20 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. At first glance, Rodgers' stat line doesn't look so bad, though the first half was a complete struggle for him and the offense. Down 27-0 at the half, the veteran signal-caller effectively used up garbage time to post these numbers. It's a disappointing end to the season for Rodgers, though he still put up his eighth career 4000-yard season as well as his 10th season with at least 25 touchdown passes. The 36-year-old has plenty of juice left in his arm but will probably need another threat on the outside next year besides Davante Adams if Green Bay wants to make noise.
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Demarcus Robinson was not targeted often, but made it count when he was called upon. Robinson hauled in both of his targets for 31 yards during their victory over the Tennessee Titans on Sunday. His first reception was a 24-yard catch that helped the Chiefs move upfield for their second quarter comeback. However, Robinson is normally an afterthought with Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins, and Travis Kelce on the roster. He could have some cheap DFS value for Super Bowl 54.
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Mecole Hardman was unable to make much of an impact during the AFC Championship game on Sunday. Hardman finished with one reception for eight yards. His reception was technically a jet sweep play that was a handoff on the second drive of the game. However, he drew a big defensive pass interference call that helped the Chiefs get into scoring position. Hardman is a fantastic special teams player, but won't bring much value to DFS contests for Super Bowl 54.
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill was able to find the end zone twice during Sunday's AFC Championship game. Hill caught five of his seven targets for 67 yards and two touchdowns in the victory over the Tennessee Titans. His first score was a 10-yard jet sweep handoff that counted as a reception, but regardless it was a nice way for Hill to show off his ridiculous speed. The performance of Hill in Super Bowl 54 could help make or break plenty of DFS players.
Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce was surprisingly held in check by the Tennessee Titans during Sunday's AFC Championship contest. He caught three of his four targets for 30 yards in the win over the Titans. Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins were the players making the splash plays in this game. DFS players shouldn't be worried as Kelce should see plenty of opportunities during Super Bowl 54.
Kansas City Chiefs running back Damien Williams was able to find the end zone three times last week in the Divisional Round battle with the Houston Texans. Williams continued his strong play against the Tennessee Titans in Sunday's AFC Championship game. Williams rushed 17 times for 45 yards and a touchdown. He also caught five passes for 44 yards through the air. Veteran back LeSean McCoy (illness) didn't play and rookie Darwin Thompson saw just one carry in this game. It's clear that the Chiefs trust Williams to be their lead back going forward. Look for him to make a significant impact in Super Bowl 54.
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Sammy Watkins was able to finally find the end zone for the first time since Week 1. It's been a tough season for Watkins, but at least he was able to do damage when it mattered most. Watkins hauled in seven receptions for 114 yards and a touchdown in the victory over the Tennessee Titans. Watkins caught a 60-yard touchdown that basically sealed the Chiefs ticket to Super Bowl 54. It's been impossible to trust Watkins this season, but maybe he's finally turning the corner.
Kansas City Chiefs running back Darwin Thompson was not able to make much of an impact in the AFC Championship game on Sunday. Thompson had one rushing attempt for seven yards in the victory over the Tennessee Titans. Damien Williams continues to be the workhorse while LeSean McCoy (illness) didn't play in this one. Thompson has only two carries this postseason, so he won't be much of an option for Super Bowl 54.
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes was phenomenal in the AFC Championship game against the Tennessee Titans on Sunday. He completed 23 of 35 passing attempts for 294 yards and three touchdowns. Mahomes also had eight rushing attempts for 53 yards and a touchdown. It was a fantastic performance for Mahomes and DFS players who stuck with him despite the high price are smiling now. The Chiefs are heading to the Super Bowl for the first time in 50 years.
San Francisco 49ers running back Tevin Coleman (shoulder) was forced from the Conference Championship game with an injury in the second quarter, and is questionable to return. After being tackled on the play, it initially looked like Coleman sustained an elbow or arm injury, but it is now being called a shoulder injury. He remained down on the field in pain, and was eventually carted to the locker room. Raheem Mostert has taken over as the lead running back, and Matt Breida will be sprinkled in as well for as long as Coleman remains sidelined.
The San Francisco 49ers have declared TE Daniel Helm, DT Kevin Givens, LB Azeez Al-Shaair, RB Jeff Wilson Jr., CB Dontae Johnson, QB C.J. Beathard and WR Jordan Matthews inactive for NFC Championship.
The Green Bay Packers have declared FB Danny Vitale, WR Ryan Grant, OL Alex Light, RB Dexter Williams, OT John Leglue, CB Ka'dar Hollman and DB Raven Greene inactive for Conference Championships.
Updating a previous report, Tennessee Titans LB Rashaan Evans (foot) has returned to the AFC Championship game after missing time because of a foot injury.
Philadelphia Eagles TE Zach Ertz will be a candidate for a contract extension this offseason.
Fantasy Spin: Ertz has been one of the top tight ends in the NFL over the last few seasons and should be a main option in the passing game for the Eagles again in 2020. He will be a No. 1 tight end in all fantasy leagues next season.
Tennessee Titans LB Rashaan Evans (foot) suffered a foot injury during the AFC Championship game and is considered questionable to return.
Dallas Cowboys impending free-agent TE Jason Witten has not ruled out playing in 2020 and could join the New York Giants because of his connection with offensive coordinator Jason Garrett, according to sources.
Tennessee Titans WR Adam Humphries (ankle) is officially active for the AFC Championship game.
Fantasy Spin: Humphries will return to the lineup for the first time since Week 13, but his role in the passing game is uncertain. He probably will see a few targets during the game but can be avoided in fantasy leagues.
The Tennessee Titans have declared DT Isaiah Mack, OG Kevin Pamphile, WR Rashard Davis, LB Reggie Gilbert, WR Darius Jennings, DT Joey Ivie and WR Cody Hollister inactive for Conference Championships.