Game Recap: Packers Beat Seahawks 28-23, Advance to NFC Championship Game

The Green Bay Packers are heading to the NFC Championship Game. Soak it in people, the “worst 13-3 team” is making it happen. The Packers topped the Seattle Seahawks 28-23 in a thrilling winter matchup at Lambeau Field Sunday. Star receiver Davante Adams led the way with a record-breaking performance but not without the help of a tremendous performance by the Packers’ defense and some vintage plays by quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

“So proud of our guys and the way they battle and play for each other. It’s a resilient group. It wasn’t always pretty at times, but it was great at the end of the game there when we made plays when we had to,” coach Matt LaFleur said at his post-game press conference. “Our defense stepped up and was able to get that sack on Russell [Wilson], and there’s no better way to end a football game then in a four-minute mode where you have to convert a couple third downs. Really happy for all of our guys.”

The Packers wasted no time getting the ball rolling Sunday night. Running back Aaron Jones got things moving with a 23-yard run on the first play of the game and then it was all gas, no brakes from there. Adams caught a short pass and picked up 14 yards. Then, it was tight end Jimmy Graham with a 13-yard pickup on 3rd and 8. Just when it looked like the Packers may be forced to settle for a field goal, quarterback Aaron Rodgers found his favorite target in Adams for a 20-yard touchdown to put the Pack up 7-0.

The defense matched the offense’s energy on their first drive, forcing Seattle to punt right off the bat. Despite the refs robbing Green Bay of a fumble recovery, they were still able to come up with big plays and stop the Seahawks. Linebacker Za’Darius Smith took charge another week and sacked Seattle’s quarterback Russell Wilson, flashing a “SNUBBED” t-shirt under his jersey after the play.

The defense continued to put the pressure on the Seahawks throughout the first quarter, even stopping Marshawn Lynch on a 3rd and 1 attempt. Their next drive, Wilson went deep, and the Packers covered it perfectly, but cornerback Kevin King dropped what should have been an easy interception. Despite the missed play, Green Bay was able to hold Seattle to just a 45-yard field goal to keep the lead at 7-3.

The Packers next drive was all Davante Adams and we’d later learn this wouldn’t be the first time. After two consecutive first down pickups from 17, Green Bay didn’t look back. They marched into Seattle territory and Jones was able to punch it in from 1-yard out to extend the Packers’ lead to 14-3.  The d-train continued to hold on their next drive and Seattle had to settle for a 50-yard field goal attempt which went waaaaaay wide right, keeping the score at 14-3.

Green Bay kept their foot on the gas as they put together a monstrous drive to extend their lead even further. Going 60 yards in 11 plays and taking 4:13 off the clock ,the Packers and Aaron Jones found themselves in the endzone again Sunday night, going up 21-3 heading into the half.

 Seattle didn’t seem too phased coming out for the second half though. They made their way into Green Bay territory and running back Marshawn Lynch pushed his way into the endzone off a 1-yard play to cut Green Bay’s lead to 21-10.

When they needed a response, Aaron Rodgers and his offense were able to deliver. Graham had another big third down pickup to get things rolling and then it was who else but Davante Adams that created a play when he needed to. 17 ran a dirty, dirty route and burned the Seahawks corner not once, but twice on the play to make the grab and then some for a 40-yard touchdown to extend the Packers’ lead to 28-10.

The shootout continued, as Seattle responded with another touchdown after Wilson got fired up and started making crazy plays left and right all on his own. He found his number one wide receiver target Tyler Lockett all alone in the corner of the end zone to make it 28-17 as the third quarter ticked away.

Green Bay struggled to find anything on their next offensive drive and Seattle took advantage. Lynch punched one in from 1-yard out yet again to make it 28-23. The Seahawks attempted to go for two, but corner Jaire Alexander had other plans running completely untouched to bring down Wilson on the play.  

The Packers would get the ball back again but couldn’t make much out of it after the Griffin brothers came up with a huge third down sack (ow my UCF heart) that forced Green Bay to give the ball back to Seattle.

As they have all season, Green Bay’s defense made the stops they needed to, when they needed to. This time it was linebacker Preston Smith with a monster sack on third down that resulted in a 6-yard loss. Then guess who made another big play? That’s right Davante Freaking Adams. Adams lined up in the slot on third down and Rodgers with a hall-of-fame type throw found him for a 32-yard pass pickup. Sunday’s Mr. Third Down and former Seahawk, Jimmy Graham, sealed the deal for the Packers after a 9-yard pass pickup to give Green Bay the first down and secure their trip to the NFC Championship.

With Green Bay heading to the NFC Championship, Rodgers improved accuracy and decision making and another stellar performance from the defense, there are plenty of takeaways from Sunday’s matchup.

 

What we learned: This team can fight both on and off the field

If you didn’t believe it before, believe it now. This Packers team has heart and they will always put up a fight. Beating a great Seahawks team was already enough of a daunting task for the Packers, but this week they had to beat the flu too. As the flu bug spread around the locker room, I know I was just hoping and praying that some of the Packers’ key players wouldn’t pop up on the injury report with an illness.

It looked like most guys were in the clear until Sunday morning when offensive tackle Bryan Bulaga woke up feeling sick. Bulaga was active for the game, but we didn’t see much of him. No worries though, since his backup Jared Veldheer stepped up huge when he needed to which was crucial for Green Bay.

There was also so many times Sunday that the defense continued to keep fighting as well. Russell Wilson is a magician out there and guys like the Smith Bros and Kenny Clark relentlessly kept up with him despite being gassed late in the game.  

This team truly fights and that was on full display Sunday. Now, they just need to keep the fight going.

 

What went right: Throwing to Davante Adams

Goodness gracious did Davante Adams have a performance Sunday. The Packers star receiver showed why he should be named among the best in this league with this record-breaking performance. Adams had 8 receptions for 160 yards and 2 touchdowns and just came up with clutch play after clutch play (ESPN stats).

Despite one pitch-mishap, whenever Adams was targeted, he delivered for Green Bay and Seattle had absolutely no answers for him. The route he ran on his 40-yard touchdown reception was something out of a movie. He was sensational. His 160 yards was the most ever by a Packers player in the playoffs, according to the FOX broadcast.

 

What went wrong:  Letting Wilson take temporary control

When Russell Wilson is on, he’s ON, and mid-way through the 3rd quarter I’d be lying if I said what he was doing out there wasn’t scaring me. I have so much respect for Wilson and he alone was able to keep Seattle in Sunday’s game. Even at "14-3" now, the Packers seem to keep too many teams in the game for too long. Heading to San Fran against the best team in the NFC next week, they have to be able to maintain the energy that they started with on Sunday.

 

Offensive Standout: Davante Adams

*see above section for this no brainer choice*

 

Defensive Standout: Jaire Alexander

Jaire Alexander truly is a firecracker out there for Green Bay on defense. His passion, aggressiveness and talents are unmatched, and I am so excited to watch him flourish these next few years. Alexander was locked in on coverage Sunday and came up huge on that crucial stop on the two-point conversion attempt.

Alexander finished the day with 9 tackles, 7 of which were solo, and 1 pass deflection (ESPN stats).

 

Up next, the Green Bay Packers head west for the NFC Championship Game against the San Francisco 49ers. Kickoff is set for 6:40 PM EST.

 

Sarah Kelliher is a contributor for CheeseheadTV. She can be found via Twitter @sarahkelliher4

 

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Comments (24)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
4thand1's picture

January 12, 2020 at 09:50 pm

14 and 3. c'mon man

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Samson's picture

January 12, 2020 at 09:54 pm

Soon to be 15-3 followed by 16-3... Gotta believe.

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Leatherhead's picture

January 13, 2020 at 11:48 am

Yeah, it’s kind of amazing how many games you can win if you play good defense and protect the ball.

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Grimbo's picture

January 13, 2020 at 11:08 pm

What is soooo so nice now: no McCarthy on sidelines making his bonehead decisions. Love it!

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Samson's picture

January 12, 2020 at 09:51 pm

Wilson is a great & expensive QB... The Pack stifled him just enough to send him back to the west coast... Jimmy G. will be the next QB sent home!!

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Adorabelle's picture

January 12, 2020 at 09:55 pm

The ghost of graham had some big moments. Adams was amazing. On to the next.

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CAG123's picture

January 12, 2020 at 10:03 pm

I'm starting to think MLF gets his sick kicks by making the fans sweat it out week to week with that said we need someone to step it up at WR2 next week because just targeting Adams (even though he is a beast) isn't going to cut it 39ers secondary is vastly superior. Now I get to watch Skip Bayless eat crow this week and its going to be so enjoyable I think I will also have a glass of scotch. GPG!

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Handsback's picture

January 12, 2020 at 10:09 pm

The final four....for the NFC title with a rookie coach and new offense. The Packers aren't blowing teams away, but they seem to just win. I hope they continue. They are playing with house money and hope they go all the way, if they don't it will still be a great season.

I wonder if they should just pack up now and get to the west coast to start their preparations and practices? It seems the last two games against WC teams haven't worked out so well.

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stockholder's picture

January 12, 2020 at 10:19 pm

Rodgers Yelling: YELLOW WEASEL Hope it's not a jinx. Jones didn't get many yards after that. Carrols decision to punt. Thank You! Rodgers, Adams. Well Done !

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cpabandit's picture

January 12, 2020 at 10:26 pm

SarahKelliher Thank you once again for an excellent, enjoyable read. Glad you're on our team!

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Lphill's picture

January 12, 2020 at 10:32 pm

My final thoughts, Packetrs should fly out Tuesday and get acclimated.

How is Lafluer not coach of the year?
How are the Smiths not pro bowlers?
Gary was disruptive several times he forced Wilson to throw early.

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Wilment's picture

January 12, 2020 at 10:41 pm

First things first, Congrats to the Pack and Coach Matt for the great win. All year long, Ive heard, "Win ugly"....but we keep winning. We won our fourteenth game tonight....that equals our output from 2018 and 2017 combined. Offense seems to be clicking properly now. By next season it should be running smooth and clean. We had some problems with edge contain, but never trailed in the game. All in all, a great win. On to San Fran and then, MIami!! GOPACKGO!

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nostradanus's picture

January 12, 2020 at 10:48 pm

CHAMPIONSHIP!!

GO PACK!!

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Bearmeat's picture

January 12, 2020 at 11:01 pm

I was at the game. The atmosphere was electric! Russell was amazing, but the better team won! Onto the NFC CG! Go Pack Go!

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michaelturi's picture

January 13, 2020 at 01:40 am

With Matt Lafluer's success and taking a 6-9 team to 14-3 now, I am wondering what the hell the Cowboys saw in MM. I thought the only coaching job he would get would be from a team rebuilding not one with Super Bowl aspirations.

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Houndog's picture

January 13, 2020 at 08:03 am

Michael,
A 6-9 team? Let me see, that's 15, did the Packers have two byes last year?

As for McCarthy, what the Cowboys saw is a guy that recognized and admitted he was outdated, then gathered a group of out-of-work coaches, bought some equipment, and spent an entire year working on fixing it and getting better! Gutsy call and a crystal clear example of his dedication to his profession.
I wish him the best, he did what he needed to do to get back to doing what he loves.
It might be wise to look out for Mike McCarthy, Part II.

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deerskinlake's picture

January 13, 2020 at 09:35 am

The Cowboys couldn't pass up the two for one sale. They got two coaches for the price of one.

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4thand1's picture

January 13, 2020 at 04:46 am

P Smith said playing against R Wilson was like trying to catch a chicken in a field with no fence,lol.

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porupack's picture

January 13, 2020 at 07:53 am

So much for "ugly wins".
A great win is when you can get 5 sacks on a fish, and could have easily been 8.
A great win is when your star receiver breaks a receiving record.
A great win is when you convert 10 third downs.
A great win is closing out the game with your offense, and squeezing out all hope just after the 2 minute warning.
A great win is Jimmy sticking the final dagger to his old team.
A great win is the CBs covering Seattle receivers over 5-7 seconds, including the wunderkid DK Metcalf, even though there were still too many receivers catching in soft spots, GB didn't give up many deep plays unless they were spectacular catches.
A great win is relatively few penalties, and pre-snap penalties.
A great win is the team coming out healthy, despite some scares on Lazard and Preston.

The Dline wrecked havoc to the Seattle Oline.

I was starting to wonder if Za'Darius regretted leaving Baltimore, but after this weekend, it should be cool.

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PackfanNY's picture

January 13, 2020 at 09:03 am

Just a great season and a great night to be a Green Bay Packers fan. Our team is 14-3. They won a playoff game against a really good quarterback. They have a chance with one more win to get to the Super Bowl. You can’t ask for much more given that this team was a mess at the end of last season. We needed a new coach. The pass rush and the defense needed an overhaul. Yet, today here they are. One game from the ultimate game.

Thank you to our players, Coach LaFleur and his staff, Gute, Mark Murphy. Congrats on giving us a season and a night like last night. Hopefully, we have a couple more left!

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Turophile's picture

January 13, 2020 at 10:36 am

A sign of how hard Russell Wilson tried to put the team on his back and carry it to a win, was that I felt sorry for him after the game.................and I do NOT like the Seahawks as a team (they are up there with the Patriots, Cowboys and Vikings).

Well played the Packers to overcome a great effort and render it insufficient.

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Leland's picture

January 13, 2020 at 11:10 am

Well said

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HugePackersFan's picture

January 13, 2020 at 11:22 am

I am so proud of our Team victory last night over the Seahawks and watching Pete Carroll go into a rage when the refs confirmed Graham got that final 1st down to seal the victory. We all know that the 49's offense and defense is outstanding and is going to pose a huge challenge to our team throughout all 4 Qtrs. Keys to our victory over them will include no turnovers, limited penalties, good offensive line blocking for AR and A Jones, diverse running/passing calls by MLF, DL pressuring JG and sacking him, AR on his best performance this season to locate open receivers and deliver catchable passes, improved defensive pass coverage of 49's receivers, Crosby making all extra pts and FG's, long and well placed punts by Scott, and accurate REF;s calls. Beating the 49'rs will compel our best performance this season in all 3 phases of the game for sure...and we can do it!!

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jdpete's picture

January 13, 2020 at 03:14 pm

Couldn't be prouder! The PACK IS BACK!
Kudos to Rodgers, Adams, the Smiths and
the entire squad. Plus the coaching staff.
On to Frisco. We're with you-all the way.

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