This week was all about the quarterback showdown between the Packers and Seahawks. Aaron Rodgers has been involved in lots of controversy the past two weeks with his COVID status. Meanwhile, Wilson made his first start in over a month after suffering a hand injury.
These two have played in some iconic games over the years, meeting in their ninth matchup. Both quarterbacks are 4-0 at home against each other. Some of these games include the Fail Mary (an asterisk loss for the Packers), the 2014 NFC Championship match-up (we don’t talk about that game), and the 2019 Divisional Round game (forgot about that one, didn’t you?).
Will this game live up to the others?
Right out of the gate, Rodgers leads the Pack to the red zone on a deep ball to MVS. Marquez has battled with injuries all year, so it was great to see him get a deep target early. But the drive stalled after a holding call and a blown block by Elgton Jenkins (please be back next week, David Bakhtiari). This sets up an easy 42-yard field goal for Crosby… who skanks it right. As a result, the Pack fails to get on the board.
Ugh, Crosby. I love you, but you’re 4/11 since the Cincinnati disaster game. This was projected to be Mason’s last year, and it might be a good call.
After back-to-back punts by both teams, Seattle escaped out their own end zone on two straight big plays. But then the Packers’ D-Line shows up, stopping a screenplay and getting to Wilson for a sack to force a punt.
Two straight three-and-outs are then forced as neither Wilson nor Rodgers can connect on any of their deep balls. In the last six drives, the Packers and Seahawks combined for 45 offensive yards (excluding penalties). Not what anyone expected coming into today.
At the end of the first quarter, there have been five punts and a missed field goal. During these kind of games, it begs the question: great defense, bad offense, or a little of both?
Packers 2- Seahawks 3
Wait, that was the punt score.
Packers 0 – Seahawks 0
The second quarter started with the Packers realizing, “Hey, this AJ Dillon guy is pretty good! Let’s use him.” They not only give him carries early in the drive, but also throw him a screen on 3rd & 7, showing how much they trust him.
Once again, the Packers find their way in the red zone after a nice drive. But, the offense stalls as they abandon the run game. Crosby gets a 27 yarder for the first score of the game!
While the Packers have remembered they can do more than punt, the Seahawks have not. They stall at midfield after a third down sack by Rashan Gary (who has had a breakout season).
The Packers go on a long six-minute drive with Rodgers starting to get into a groove. Stopped on third down, LaFleur decides to go for it on fourth instead of attempting a 52-yard field goal. Unfortunately, Seattle gets the stop to get the ball back with one minute left.
After getting into field goal range, Seattle gets a very unlucky holding call that eliminates their field goal option. This forces a Hail Mary shot, but Golden Tate doesn’t play for Seattle anymore, so no points for the Seahawks as we go to halftime.
Seattle’s two best receivers (Lockett and Metcalf) have a combined two receptions for eight yards. The Packers’ defense has been unreal this season.
Packers 3 – Seahawks 0
To start the second half, the Seahawks still think they are playing in the Punt Bowl and don’t want points. They kick their FIFTH punt of the day, which Amari Rodgers returned for a combined 13 yards. Oof.
Then the Packers wanted in on the fun, going three-and-out again in their own end zone and punting for the third time this game. We can all joke about the punts, but why is this happening? Cover Shell 2: the new defense in the NFL.
Both teams are unwilling to run the ball, and can’t get intermediate routes open. So, there have been seven or eight deep balls incomplete by both Rodgers and Wilson to try and move the offense instead of moving with short passes and runs.
That’s exactly what the Seahawks did on their next drive: feeding Alex Collins and getting Lockett and Metcalf open in the middle of the field. On a third down in the red zone, Wilson escapes his 20th sack of the day and throws a dart in the end zone… right to Kevin King, who played perfect coverage.
It’s clear the Seahawks want to have more punts than points.
After two and half quarters, the Packers finally feature a drive with both their running backs. Aaron Jones got 50 yards on just three plays, then Dillon comes in near the red zone on three straight runs for a first down.
But once they finally got in the red zone, they abandon the run again. They go with three straight passes that end with a Jamal Adams interception in the endzone.
Three red-zone possessions, three points. Not. Good.
After the interception, Jamal Adams mocks the famous Rodgers “Discount Double Check” belt. He should’ve known better. You never mock the belt.
The Seahawks follow up a great drive last time with yet another three-and-out. You know what that means…..
PUNT TIME!!! The Seahawks sixth of the game.
As the third quarter is about to end, Aaron Jones is injured. He tries to walk off the field but needs to be helped. Not a good sight for any Packers fan.
Punt Score: Packers 3 – Seahawks 6
Real Score: Packers 3 – Seahawks 0
The Packers once again get into the red zone, but they drop it on short plays. Seahawks linebacker Carlos Dunlap helped by throwing a Packer cleat 30 yards, receiving an unsportsmanlike penalty. With Aaron Jones out of the game, AJ Dillon gets all the work, getting Green Bay to the three-yard line. Then, on 3rd & Goal, the Packers let Dillon bulldoze his way to the end zone.
If Aaron Jones’s injury is long-term, it will be interesting to see AJ Dillon’s workload as the only healthy running back on the roster.
Now down 10 points, the Seahawks remember they have to score points to actually win football games. Wilson tried to get it all back on one play to Lockett, but Adrian Amos high points the ball for Wilson’s second interception.
The Packers now have a chance to close this one out with a good drive, and it starts with the play of the game. Dillon catches a screen pass then steamrolls for 50 unbelievable yards down the field. He tight-roped the sideline like a Circus Olay performer. The Packers are able to milk the drive all the way to the two-minute warning, where they finish it with another AJ Dillon touchdown.
Wilson and the Seahawks then try a two-minute drill to prevent the first shutout in Wilson’s career. But DK Metcalf gets frustrated and catches more Packers’ facemasks than he had receptions and got ejected. They fail to score, and the Packers win after losing to the Chiefs last week.
Matt LaFleur has yet to lose back-to-back games as head coach of the Packers in his three years as head coach. The Packers defense has now allowed 17 points or less for the fifth time this season. Green Bay has a Super Bowl contending defense, with Aaron Rodgers at quarterback.
Watch out NFL.
Packers 17 – Seahawks 0
Offensive MVP: AJ Dillon
This was a quiet and horrible game for the Packers’ offense. Rodgers proved not having a week of practice matters, the offensive line had bad penalties and blown blocks, and receivers were dropping balls left and right. But AJ Dillon kept the ball moving for the Green and Gold.
The “Mayor of Door County” had 130 total yards and two touchdowns. Dillon had big third-down conversions all game and was even involved in the passing game (including an insane 50-yard reception). Every run Dillon was breaking tackles and gaining more yards than he should. By the fourth quarter, he had the Seahawks defense tired and rolled all over them.
I would call this a breakout game for Dillon, but he has shown that he can do this all season. If Aaron Jones is out for a long time, AJ Dillon might have an unstoppable second half this season.
Defensive MVP: Rasul Douglas and the Packers Secondary
The entire Packers defense put on a clinic today. The pass rush was frustrating Wilson all day and Seattle couldn’t get their run game going, but the secondary won the Packers this game. Wilson never could find anyone open, and that’s a big credit to Rasul Douglas. Rasul was always in coverage against either Lockett or Metcalf and held them to almost no catches.
The Packers have hit on each of their offseason/midseason acquisitions. De’Vondre Campbell won Defensive Player of the Month, Whitney Mercilus has been great in the run game, and Rasul Douglas has gone from barely making the practice squad to starter for the number-one seeded Packers. This is the type of defense that wins championships.
What a time to be a Packers fan!