The Green Bay Packers are traveling to San Francisco for the NFC Championship Game! Green Bay put the first half to measure against Seattle – and still had to tremble in the end. But the Seahawks ended their season with more questionable coaching decisions.
In the duel between two teams who want to attack primarily on the run, a central question was: Who can create more big plays and who can find the best mix in play calling? The answer was quickly found – it was the Packers.
Offensive Green Bay appeared significantly more variable than in numerous games this season, attacked efficiently with play action and run pass options and was able to lay down drives for a long time.
Rodgers (16/27, 243 YDS, 2 TD; 2 ATT, 16 YDS) found the first drive a good route combination Davante Adams at Third Down for touchdown and the last two drives of the half were long drives with many plays that led to the end zone. Both times it was a short run by Aaron Jones on Third Down.
The Packers were able to gradually expand their leadership. And Seattle? The Seahawks fell into the problems that were to be feared: Many runs in early downs, poor protection in the normal dropback passing game: Seattle had five drives in which a field goal miss and a successful field goal jumped out. Only one of the five drives brought in more than 35 yards of space.
Seahawks catch-up is not enough
That changed after the half-time break. Seattle put the game more in Wilson’s hands and was promptly rewarded. Several big plays via play action, Wilson (21/31, 277 YDS, TD; 6 ATT, 64 YDS) also had critical plays as scrambler. Green Bay was able to respond to Seattle’s first touchdown drive with a long Adams touchdown, but Seattle’s offense was now involved.
Wilson continued to deliver big plays inside and outside of the pocket, even though he felt the ball felt like an eternity several times – and promptly led Seattle to two more touchdowns, while Green Bays Offense can now no longer keep up with the initially fragile Seahawks defense could. The lead shrank more and more, and Green Bay’s next drive ended with a bag from Shaquem Griffin at Third Down.
So Wilson got the ball back on the clock with just under five minutes – but now Green Bay’s pass-rush was on hand, although the Packers also benefited from an absolutely critical drop from Turner, and Seattle punted two and a half minutes before the end at 4th & 11. Touchback, and this decision was a little like a little white flag.
Wilson should never get the ball again after this Carroll mistake. At Third Down, Rodgers Adams put a perfect pass into the vertical slot route, so the clock kept running – and at the next and all-important Third Down, Seattle brought the lightning, but Rodgers found Graham with a pass in a mini window across the middle , First down, even if it was hair-sharp and a cheap spot for the packers, and game over!
No. 2 Green Bay Packers – No. 5 Seattle Seahawks
Result: 28:23 (7: 3, 14: 0, 7:14, 0: 6) Boxscore
Packers vs. Seahawks – the most important statistics
- The Packers were spectacularly good at Third Down: Green Bay turned 14 Third Downs into nine new First Downs. Seattle (3/9) couldn’t keep up here.
- That was a critical factor in the game, and not just on the last drive. When Seattle’s offense finally started the engine, the game threatened to tip over: In total, the Seahawks recorded more first downs (23:22), more total yards (375: 344) and more yards per play (6.2 vs. 5 ,8th).
- However, Seattle had once again pushed itself into a hole that was too deep, and this was largely due to the fact that the run game was held too long. Wilson became the biggest factor here, but as against the Eagles, Marshawn Lynch (12 ATT, 26 YDS, 2 TD) was simply massively inefficient except for a few short yardage situations in the Red Zone.
- D. K. Metcalf (4 REC, 59 YDS) had some important plays, but the clear focus of the Seahawks offense was Tyler Lockett. He saw twice as many targets as Metcalf (10: 5) and caught nine balls for 136 yards and a touchdown.
- Striking: The Big Plays at the Packers, almost all of which came via play action. Rodgers installed all of his six passes over at least ten yards – pulling out 145 yards and two touchdowns.
The star of the game: Davante Adams (WR, Packers)
Dominant, dominant appearance of Green Bay’s number 1 weapon. It was clear that the Packers would need a good game from Adams to keep Wilson at a distance – and Adams delivered. Whether from the slot or outside, the Seahawks hardly ever found an answer and almost every individual coverage player was clearly inferior to Adams. In the end, he caught eight balls for 160 yards and two touchdowns. Also noteworthy: Rodgers himself had one of his best performances this season at the perfect time.
The flop of the game: Pete Carroll (HC, Seahawks)
Even if you repeat yourself here like a prayer wheel: Pete Carroll’s in-game decisions are and will remain a huge problem. The run-heavy approach to be expected already pushed Seattle into a deep hole at half-time. Shooting a field goal from Green Bay’s 26-yard line in the first half is at least worthy of discussion – the punt at Seattle’s last drive was inexcusable, however, with the hope that your own shaky defense would recapture the ball in time. A trend continued here: Carroll coached games too often this year as if he still had the elite defense of a few years ago.
Analysis: Packers vs. Seahawks – the tactic board
- Green Bay’s offensive game plan was very consistent in itself. The Packers acted with many crossers against the man coverage and attacked the middle of the field against the split safety looks, which Seattle presented quite often.
- Green Bay combined the Outside Zone Runs excellently with a variety of play-action designs – often via short crossers in combination with Rodgers’ rollout -, misdirection and run pass options. Adams, who moved a lot in the formation to create advantageous matchups – which was done too often – was often the primary goal. Too rarely did Seattle put double coverage on Adams.
- Seattle, on the other hand, aggressively made the worst Seahawks fan fears come true. The play calling was extremely conservative even for Seahawks conditions, at least in the first half, Seattle obviously wanted to come into the game spasmodically via the run game.
- This only changed with the clear gap at half-time: Wilson got more options and also did damage as a scrambler, and via play action the pass protection also lasted much better and the pocket was mostly clean. It was once again a game that you have to ask yourself: What would be possible for this offense if, from the general approach, you always played as if you were clearly behind?