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Packers vs. Seahawks: Quick Takes from Green Bay’s 28-22 Loss

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Packers vs. Seahawks: Quick Takes from Green Bay’s 28-22 Loss

A trip to Super Bowl XLIX was stolen away in gut-wrenching fashion by the defending champion Seattle Seahawks (14-4), who were left standing too long by a cascade of missed opportunities from the Green Bay Packers (13-5)—the better team for 55 or so minutes—during Sunday’s NFC Championship Game at CenturyLink Field.

 

It was over when…

… the Seahawks took the ball in overtime and scored, via Russell Wilson’s 35-yard rainbow to receiver Doug Baldwin that beat Tramon Williams’ single coverage in the end zone. The Packers, who didn’t trail until the 1:25 mark in the fourth quarter, never saw the football in the extra period. 

 

Game Balls

  • Offensive Line: Aaron Rodgers took just one sack, and his drop backs were rarely stressed by pressure. The front five gave him a chance to play well. The Packers also rushed for 135 yards, including 117 from Eddie Lacy and James Starks. It was a valiant effort in a tough environment. Then again, Green Bay came up short of the goal line on two occasions in the first half and failed to melt away the clock in the four-minute offense. The offense as a whole didn’t play well. 
  • Julius Peppers/Morgan Burnett/Ha Ha Clinton-Dix: The Seahawks couldn’t block Peppers, who had 1.5 sacks and three quarterback hits. Seattle eventually settled on giving right tackle Alvin Bailey help on most passing plays. Burnett delivered two sacks, three tackles for losses and what should have been the game-clinching interception. Clinton-Dix had two picks and probably should have had a third. Then again, why did Burnett stop running on his interception, and how could Clinton-Dix allow the silly two-point conversion? 
  • Mason Crosby: He made all five of his kicks, including a pressure-packed, do-or-die make from 48 yards with the Packer down three. Sixteen of Green Bay’s 22 points came via his right leg. Crosby has now converted 16 straight field goals in the postseason. 

 

Stat of the Game 

9: Or the number of points Green Bay scored off Seattle’s five turnovers. Stunning. The Packers started drives at the Seattle 19, 23 and Green Bay 44 and 43 because of four of the takeaways. Settling for three field goals out of those four opportunities kept the Seahawks alive. 

 

Other Notes

-- The Packers cheated death on special teams for 17 games, but in Seattle, Green Bay’s much maligned third unit cost the club a win. A fake field goal was poorly defended in the third quarter, giving the Seahawks life. And Brandon Bostick’s botched onside recovery will go down as one of the ugliest plays in franchise playoff history. Shawn Slocum is a coaching cockroach, but today should seal his fate. It’s way past time for a new vision on special teams. 

-- Mike McCarthy’s play-calling down the stretch is under fire. It was certainly conservative, but the only fourth quarter call I had a problem with was running Eddie Lacy on 2nd-and-14. That was playing not to lose. On the drive prior, the Packers ran twice to set up 3rd-and-4, and Rodgers missed on the same playcall that won the game in Miami (Quarless split out wide, 1-on-1 vs a linebacker). McCarthy didn’t have a great day but execution from his offense wasn’t there too often. 

-- The defense gave up three straight touchdowns to close the game. But Dom Capers’ unit made so many stops early on and late—including back-to-back holds with under 11 minutes left in the fourth—that it’s difficult to pin too much blame on the defense. Burnett’s interception with 5:13 left really should have been the dagger. Here’s how Seattle’s first 11 offensive drives ended: interception, punt, punt, interception, interception, end of half, punt, touchdown off faked field goal, punt, punt, interception. What more could you ask for? 

-- The offense lacked a killer instinct. Kicking field goals in the red zone and punting on four of six drives in the second half was just begging for the Seahawks to get back in the game. How many times were the Packers just one play on offense away from closing the game? The defense provided opportunity after opportunity for the offense to knock out the defending champs and Rodgers and Co. kept swinging and missing. 

-- Can’t draw up a more brutal way to lose a trip to the Super Bowl. The road underdog dominates the game for 55 minutes, blows the lead with mistakes on offense, defense and special teams and then loses on a walk-off touchdown before the offense can even touch the ball. The Packers were good enough in 2014-15 to play for and win a Super Bowl, but that means nothing now. Opportunity missed. Back to the drawing board for 2015. 

 

Zach Kruse contributes to Cheesehead TV. He is also the Lead Writer for the NFC North at Bleacher Report. You can reach him on Twitter @zachkruse2 or by email at [email protected]. 

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (33) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

4thand1's picture

I smashed the drawing board.

KenEllis's picture

Why do writers keep calling for Slocum's ouster?

This is Green Bay and we stand by our men through thick or thin.

Shawn Slocum will be here in 2015 as well as Dom and everyone else.

In MM we trust.

Imma Fubared's picture

Your correct and because your correct the Packers don't make the playoffs next year. Hey Minnesota is going to get better and Chicago and Detroit. This was the year to take advantage, and the packers did that, but next year, no easy games I'm afraid.

4thand1's picture

Kiss my ass. The lolions will suck next year, the barelys still have cutler and another new coach (how's that working for them), and the Vikings will be better. Packers will win their 5th straight NFCN title.

Barnacle's picture

Special Teams cost us a trip to the Super Bowl. I have posted about a dozen times over the past four years about the poor ST coaching.

Slocum is loud and a close friend of McCarthy and a terribly incompetent coach.

Barnacle's picture

Special Teams cost us a trip to the Super Bowl. I have posted about a dozen times over the past four years about the poor ST coaching.

Slocum is loud and a close friend of McCarthy and a terribly incompetent coach.

badaxed's picture

Special team errors are a reflection of coaching. No discipline. Bostick should have stuck to his assignment.
Shawn Slocum must go.

Spiderpack's picture

I still think its just the dumbest dumbest dumbest lost that any Packers team or any playoff team has ever offered on a plate to the Other. McCarthy and Rodgers just plain gave up when they had the chance to kill, more than once. They are not championship quality football. You cant do that when you have the ball late in the game.

Nerd's picture

Especially to a vomit inducing opponent like these.

THANKS MIKE.

Ashamed to be a fan of this team right now.

aj's picture

How could you say that you're ashamed? This team went up into Seattle's home and dominated for a majority of the game. Am I disappointed? Of course. Am I ashamed? No way, I will always live and die with this team. You're angry, it's understandable. But you sound a little spoiled. I'm not happy, but you can't change the past. This squad will be better next year, rodgers is about to get his 2nd mvp and TT will set this team up to dominate through the draft. Spend a little time away from football right now man, it will help you get over this loss.

Wenis's picture

How dare any one question Marty McCarthy. Doing so will get you banned in the live chat. :)

Nerd's picture

It wasn't stolen away. It was flushed down the toilet in classic Mike McCarthy fashion.

Any team that refuses to return an INT with that much space in front of them is playing TERRIFIED. Are they really that scared of fumbling?

This team showed up scared and clenched down whenever they sniffed the end zone. And at the end, they had a nervous breakdown.

TommyG's picture

Dead on. They played conservative, they played scared, and they played to not lose. The result is a loss. No surprise.

TommyG's picture

It was over when MM was afraid to lose, then played to lose, and then lost.

Or, it was over when HHCD whiffed on the two point conversion.

No wait. It was over when we couldn't rush for a 2 yard touchdown twice.

No, no, no. It was over when the fake kick took hawk out of position and he whiffed, giving up a TD.

The point is that there is no single act that ended this game. The loss Swiss cheese holes all aligned in the last 5 minutes of the game. Any single one of them could've stopped the loss. This is who Seattle is. They take 100% advantage of mistakes. They've done it all season, and yes, this is why they are the best team in the NFL. But, the recipe to defeat them is now in our play books. From here on out Seattle is ours.

Nerd's picture

It's not a situation where these players aren't good enough.

If there were inadequate players out there and the coaches were still maximizing their talent, that would be one thing.

But these are guys with skills, who just repeatedly are NOT getting it done. That's a coaching issue.

66EP's picture

Coaching is the big issue. I have been watching the Pack since 1960. When Lombardi go there they were shite. When he left, with almost the same core players Bengston (Asst HC for Lombardi) couldn't get them there. That's coaching/leadership. MM may be a good evaluator and X/Os guy but he's not a game coach. I think if Rodgers wasn't so hurt his frame of mind would have been better and might have called his own plays instead of MM's.

Tundraboy's picture

Absolutely. as much as this hurts, we proved what we are capable of, could have won it all, even with the team we have!!!!! . Now get some real ILB's and get rid of the dead wood, and I hope with a fire burning and huge chip on our shoulder and the great rookies to build off, next year is ours.

jimtalkbox's picture

Sickening, numbing, and depressing loss.

This team struggled to punch it in on the biggest stage. Trade ANY of those FG's for TD's and we're packing our bags for Phoenix.

Slocum flat out sucks as our Special Teams coach. Get rid of him.

Defense played admirably until the last few minutes, but you definitely can't put this on them.

Bostick has always been one of those guys that "flashed" something occasionally, but utterly "crapped the bed" on his absolutely INSANE decision to freelance instead of doing his job. Hopefully he can go about screwing things up for another team next season.

jbromusic's picture

totally agree with every point that you made. our defense stepped up and played lights out today. this loss is definitely not on them. i hope this is the last we see of bostick because it looks like he's one of those guys who just never ends up "getting it".

Imma Fubared's picture

I wish they would have played Flynn instead. Rogers just wasn't up for it. Obviously the game plan was to run run run and kck field goals.

Rogers almost never the entire game checked off the run and motioned for a pass. He ran the plays moron mike called and thus, failed to use his arm, failed to score touchdowns.

I understand mike was concerned about rogers getting killed dropping back passing but what are you saving it for. Rogers has a lot of time off now to get healed up.

Bottom line, you got the best weapon in football Rogers arm and you refused to use it and I can never understand why.

TommyG's picture

Are you okay? Seriously! Flynn over AR, in the NFC championship? I understand anger, I understand disgust, but suggesting that Flynn somehow would've done better against the best defense in the league is just silly. AR was not the cause of this loss. As a matter of fact, he played pretty awesome against them. Seattle is built to capatilize on mistakes. Up until the second half we had not made many. To add to that, it wasn't until the seven minute mark that we really screwed ourselves. After that point we started playing Marty ball. We started playing not to lose. The result was a complete meltdown. Flynn would've been a disaster from the word go. Be mad, bro; be effing mad, but don't pass it off as a one player show.

Nerd's picture

Quite possibly the biggest embarrassment in the history of the National Football League.

THANKS MIKE!

TommyG's picture

No, that was week 1. This stings because of the stage.

jh9's picture

No doubt about it, this was the most difficult Packers loss we've had to endure. Brandon Bostick's failure on special teams will be a historical metaphor of how we let this game slipped through our hands. The first half we played to win and in the second half we played not to lose. We lost our edge by playing that way and lost the game in the process. That can only be blamed on game management and play-calling. Like it or not, Mike McCarthy has to accept his share of the blame.

I'm not calling for MM to be fired now. I am calling him out to own his share of this loss and learn from his mistakes. If he is going to be the game manager and play-caller, then he must remain aggressive and play to win for a full sixty minutes. If he doesn't incorporate that into his approach next year, he should be fired.

Yes, this was a heart-breaking loss. But the good news is that we finished the season with the best defense we've had since 2010. Offensively and defensively we now have more of the pieces in place to win another Lombardi Trophy. All we need is a few more defensive and ST additions (i.e. ILB, DT, improved CB play) and with a healthy AR and a MM who learned his lesson this year, we take it all next year!

Go Pack Go!

murphy's picture

Eh, it hurts less than losing the Super Bowl to Elway/Davis, and about even with watching Frozen Favre toss his game sealing INT to the Giants at Lambeau.

Who in the world is suggesting that McCarthy isn't accepting blame?

JimTaylor31's picture

That fact is Rodgers did not play well at all. He was a tad bit better than Wilson who played lousy. Very bad timing on Aaron's part to not play even close to his ability. If either QB has a good game it's not even close. Couple that with MM deciding the game was over before half-time and Bostick being Bostick and you have the perfect shit-storm.

pacman's picture

It would have been nice if MM took some of the blame when they asked him if he any regrets instead of saying no!
Regrets
Not firing Slocum years ago
3rd and long when you've been bring pressure all game, go sack the QB!
Not being able to get your team to punch it in from the 1 multiple times at the end of the season.
I don't know if we can realistically fire all 3 coaches but it might be honorable if at least one of them fell on their own sword! My order used to be Slocum (if he stays, fans should boycott the team - seriously), Capers, MM. With the improved defense the 2nd half of the year, it is Slocum, MM, Capers (but only if he promises never to rush 3 again!)

Usually, it is - they tried hard against a good time. But today, there is just shame. If the Packers don't win the SB next year, they will never live this down. I told people before the game that Seattle is a good time but Packers might want it more. They did, until the last 6 minutes.

Tundraboy's picture

Can not disagree. Next year must be ours now. Any other attitude is unacceptable. Lombardi is rolling over and that needs to change. If this doesn't light a fire in the team nothing will. Go Pack Go

pacman's picture

I forgot to add, that I am from Chicago but have always been a Packer fan. But I am also a Cubs fan. The Cubs have been a joke for so long, it now longer bothers me. It is very sad the Packers will now be used as an example of an epic collapse. Vince Lombardi is crying. And the players are just saying 'we have to move on'. Let's hear a little anger. Let's hear commitment that this will never happen again. Let's hear that we will never play like losers again.

pacman's picture

And I don't want to hear AR saying RELAX either. There should be no relaxing on this team until after a SB win.

JimTaylor31's picture

Hell let's face it. Seattle tried to give us the game with 5 turnovers. We didn't take it so they did. When you have 5 TOs and still end up with the game decided on an onside kick and a 2 pt. conversion you really haven't done enough to win anyway.

Tundraboy's picture

And not taking full advantage of Sherman disgusted me most. That is the bitter aftertaste.

egbertsouse's picture

MM lost his balls. He was playing not to lose instead of playing to win. I thought we had just hired Mike Smith. He did that for years with the Falcons.

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