A game like the NFC Championship can really show the highs and the lows that fan bases go through in a game like this. This article will give you the Packers side of things from Brian Duricy, and the Seahawks side of things from Josh Eastern. Win or lose, what a football game we witnessed.
Holding the Packers to Field Goals:
This was what kept the Seahawks in the game in the first quarter. After Russell Wilson threw his first interception of the game off of Jermaine Kearse’s hands, the defense held strong and really flexed their muscles against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense. It was almost surprising when Russell threw that pick because he has always been so careful with the football and especially in the playoffs. Then again after Doug Baldwin fumbled the ensuing kickoff, the defense once again made a big stop.
With these big stops, the Seahawks kept themselves in this game. The one play that really stuck out to me was on 2nd down with 5:53 in the 1st quarter when Rodgers missed an open Jordy Nelson in the front corner of the endzone. If they make that play, it’s 10-0 and that is a whole different ballgame than just 6-0.
This theme of holding Green Bay to field goals proved to be big when it counted most.
It’s All About the Ball:
This is what Pete Carroll preaches to his team. It obviously makes sense and with the Packers coming in to the game with a turnover differential of +14 and the Seahawks right behind them at +13, this was definitely going to be a big deal.
When Russell Wilson threw each of his four interceptions, it just seemed to surprise Seahawks fans more and more. This was not the Russell that anyone was used to seeing and with this being a “Championship Opportunity,” as the Seahawks like to call it, it was even more surprising. He seemed to be forcing too many balls and it just wasn’t the same Russell Wilson anyone had seen this year. Russell just made bad decisions on a few of them, but also a few of them were drops by his receivers. I wouldn’t blame them all on Wilson, but that’s just the way it goes sometimes.
The Doug Baldwin fumble was very frustrating. Because Paul Richardson was out for this game with a torn ACL, Baldwin was pressed into duty. Being a wide receiver, he is usually sure handed. This play really swung the momentum to the Packers side because the Seahawks were happy with only giving up a field goal on the previous Packers drive.
But then on the other side, Aaron Rodgers also made his share of mistakes on his two interceptions. Both of them were just poor throws. Richard Sherman intercepted the first one on the first drive of the game. I don’t think there is much to say about that one. The second was miscommunication with his receiver and Byron Maxwell made a nice play. They were both big, but the second one seemed to be bigger with Seattle down 16-0 at that point in the second quarter.
Secondary came in second
I really can’t believe I get to say this, but I told you so. I told all of you so when I predicted that ‘Secondaries First’ would be one of the two most important keys for a Packers win. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Morgan Burnett, and Sam Shields dismantled the Seattle passing game for four quarters, gluttons whose source of nourishment was the opponent’s ball. You couldn’t ask for more out of your secondary, a unit who held the unquestionable star opposing quarterback to a QBR of 13.6 and a passer rating of 44.6. You couldn’t ask for more, except for when they didn’t do enough.
Ha Ha, the star of the game, also made two laughably (puns are necessary, humor comes from the immeasurable depths of sadness) rookie (see?) mistakes. On his second interception, with five minutes left in the game and Green Bay leading comfortably, but by no means decisively, he slid after but a few yards with the whole field a promised land of potential points. This gave Seattle enough time to launch a drive that should’ve still kept them behind, if it wasn’t for Clinton-Dix. After scoring, Seattle was forced to go for two to put themselves ahead by three, creating overtime as a worst-case scenario were the Packers to walk away with a field goal. As the defense surrounded Russell Wilson, he threw a lingering pass that was caught by Luke Wilson for the two-point conversion, all while Ha Ha stood there, statuesque. As a Packers fanatic, I have nothing but love for Ha Ha Clinton-Dix this season and especially in this game. We wouldn’t have been in this position if it wasn’t for him. But we wouldn’t have been in this position if it wasn’t for him.
Green Bay played a very flawed game when it came to their offense. Relying heavily on Eddie Lacy without providing Aaron Rodgers the proper chances to let his commanding abilities shine, the mediocre stats Rodgers put up are nothing when one examines them in context. At the end of the fourth quarter, when the Packers needed to quickly get down the field to at least kick a field goal, Aaron spent 36 seconds going 42 yards, two quick passes and one crucial run. Sure, he then missed the next two, but a field goal was all that Green Bay needed, and a field goal was what he got them.
Within the Seattle 10 in the first half, Green Bay passed the ball but twice. The Seahawks knew Eddie Lacy was coming, and the Pack offered little alternatives for them to contemplate. Though no Russell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers is one of the more fleet of foot quarterbacks in the NFL, and setting up in the shotgun or faking a run to Lacy would have given Rodgers the time and options he needed to get seven instead of three. By deviating from their normal game plan, Mike McCarthy and Aaron Rodgers didn’t listen to the latter’s now-famous five-letter assessment.
Thoughts from a Seahawks Fan:
The first half may have been the worst football the Seahawks have played on offense all season. Without the defense playing like they did and just keeping it to 16-0, it gave the offense a chance to get things going. It could have easily been at least 28-0 and maybe more if not for the interceptions. Nothing was going right.
But, with 7:30 in the 3rd quarter, the Seahawks faced a 2nd & 30. They converted this in what might be one of the biggest conversions of the season. Then with 4:44 left in the Seahawks shocked the world and faked the field goal for a touchdown. This was the moment that changed the game. The Seahawks had no business being in the game, but this play gave them that hope that they needed to keep them in the ballgame.
Then when Russell Wilson threw his fourth interception of the game with 5:13, I was sure that was the Seahawks’ last chance to dance. But, the defense made another enormous stop. It was really incredible to see the defense do what they did. When the Seahawks got the ball back and scored with 2:13 left, I knew there was still some magic left.
Brandon Bostick. Backup tight end for the Packers. No one outside had heard of who he was… until today. The onside kick goes off of his helmet and into the hands of Chris Matthews.
The Seahawks went down and scored a touchdown with 1:25 left but maybe more importantly saw Russell Wilson throw the ball a mile into the air into the waiting hands of Luke Willson for the two point conversion to go up three.
The Seahawks and Packers were going to OT. I had no words to describe this feeling. The Seahawks shouldn’t have been in this position, but they just hung around and got a few lucky bounces.
Then in OT, Baldwin gets a big 35-yard gain to be followed by a 35-yard walk off TD to send the Seahawks to Super Bowl XLIX.
The Seahawks are NFC Champions for the second year in a row. See you in Glendale.
Actual thoughts from an actual Packers fan
“Why did I spend money on this cheesehead? I didn’t, but still, why am I wearing this?”
“NOAM CHOMSKY WAS SO RIGHT – THIS GAME IS WORTHLESS”
“Okay, okay, okay, maybe we’ll get the ball in overt- TAILS ALWAYS FAILS, YOU IDIOTS, COME ON”
“Now I can watch the Australian Open. Thanks, Coach McCarthy!”
“One time, I cared about something. Now I remembered why I stopped.”
“I’m too tired to be interested in this.”
It’s going to be quite a Super Bowl in the desert on February 1st. Seahawks vs. Patriots. See you then!
Seattle sports fan and MLB writer for International Sports Hub