Green Bay Packers: ‘Speechless in Seattle’
The Green Bay Packers dominated the first 58 minutes or so of the game Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks.
After two three-and-outs by the Packers, Seattle scored 15 points in 44 seconds. Russell Wilson rushed for a one-yard touchdown to get within five. Then Seattle recovered an onside kick after Brandon Bostick couldn't recover it for the Packers. Marshawn Lynch scampered into the end zone for 24 yards to take a two-point lead. Wilson then converted a wacky two-point conversion to Luke Willson.
Green Bay got the ball back and Mason Crosby kicked a 48-yard field goal to send the game into overtime. But Seattle got the ball first in overtime and Wilson connected with Jermaine Kearse for a 35-yard touchdown.
It sure was gut-wrenching, and hard to stomach for Packers fans, like myself. A loss that made Green Bay fans sick to their stomachs. Worse than the 'Fail Mary," game, '4th and 26,' Terrell Owens' catch in playoffs, Super Bowl loss to Denver Broncos, the 2007 NFC Championship loss in overtime to the New York Giants and a loss in the NFC Divisional playoffs in 2011 to the Giants after going 15-1.
Sunday's loss at 5:30 CST (3:30 PST) tops them all. It shall be named 'Speechless in Seattle' (credit goes to ESPN Milwaukee's Jason Wilde for that one).
Sunday's season-ending loss was tough for Rodgers and the Packers. Green Bay got the ball first, and Rodgers marched the Packers to the red zone, but was picked off by Richard Sherman in the end zone. Green Bay's Ha-Ha Clinton picked off Wilson and Green Bay got the ball back. However, the Packers settled for three points. Then Brad Jones forced a fumble on the ensuing kick-off. Green Bay settled for three-points again.
Green Bay was doing everything right until about five minutes left in the game. The Packers built a 16-0 lead on the road, Rodgers was getting Seattle to jump offsides early, Seattle was getting called for a lot of penalties, Green Bay's defense forced turnovers, and Wilson was throwing interceptions (had four in the game).
However, the key may be is that Green Bay only managed one touchdown from Rodgers to Randall Cobb. Mason Crosby kicked four field goals in the game for the Packers.
Special teams miscues and coaching gaffes led to the Packers loss Sunday. First, on special teams touchdown pass from Jon Ryan, A.J. Hawk chose not to cover Garry Gilliam. Second, the onside kick was Jordy Nelson's to recover. Bostick's job was simply to block Chris Matthews, who ended up recovering the kick. Third, when Seattle got the ball back, Green Bay got the Seahawks in a long 3rd-and-19. The Packers rushed three (where they should have rushed more because they were getting pressure on Wilson all day), played prevent defense and let Wilson complete a pass to Doug Baldwin for a first down. Lastly, the two-point conversion was wacky and Clinton-Dix likely should have just swatted the ball down.
But then again if Green Bay didn't go three-and-out twice, the Packers probably wouldn't be in that position.
Everybody on the Green Bay sideline had to known with five minutes it was their game. The Packers just couldn't finish it. The loss hurt and it stung. Hopefully it will motivate the Packers for next season. If there's a lesson learned from Sunday's loss against the Seahawks, it is when bad things happen, don't freak out. The Packers got conservative and didn't finish the game.
Seattle will move onto the Super Bowl to face the New England Patriots on NBC. I have to give a lot of credit to Pete Carroll, Wilson, and the Seahawks for believing in their team.
Green Bay will now look to the NFL Draft, Green Bay will pick No. 30 in May's draft. Key free agents to sign will be Cobb and cornerback Tramon Williams.
Sam Tastad reported all season with pre-and-post game previews for the Packers all season long. Follow him on Twitter @samtastad and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.