PLAYER OF THE GAME
The entire Packers team. They came into this game looking to atone for last week’s last-second loss to the Steelers in Pittsburgh and determined to get their 10th win to wrap up a playoff berth.
Sunday, their balance and diversity of production was impressive. Three backs rushed for five touchdowns, and backup Brandon Jackson also scored on a pass play. Three players intercepted passes, including two by strong safety Atari Bigby. Nine players caught passes, including big plays from Greg Jennings (four receptions for 111 yards) and tight end Jermichael Finley (three for 80).
As Seahawks QB Matt Hasselbeck said, “They’re a good team. But we made them look really, really good today.”
PLAYS OF THE GAME
Offense: It didn’t score a touchdown, but it definitely set one up – the second of the Packers’ two scores in the first quarter. Facing a third-and-4 at their own 33-yard line, QB Aaron Rodgers dropped a beautiful pass over Seahawks cornerback Kelly Jennings into the hands of Jennings for a 40-yard completion.
Defense: With the Packers up 14-0, the Seahawks were on the doorstep of pulling to within one TD. But on a third-and-6 play from the Green Bay 8-yard line, Packers defensive end Johnny Jolly got a hand on Hasselbeck’s pass and Bigby made the interception in the end zone. End of threat, and then some.
Special teams: What the heck? Let’s go with Olindo Mare’s 28-yard field goal in the second quarter. It got the Seahawks on the board, and extended his club-record streak of consecutive field goals to 19.
Special teams co-captain Lance Laury called tails during the coin toss and it came up heads. Nothing else landed right for the Seahawks the rest of the afternoon.
Just as the Packers were scoring their first touchdown – Rodgers’ 13-yard pass to Jackson – a few snowflakes started to fall. The snow held off, but the avalanche of points by the Packers was just beginning. The 38-point margin of defeat tied for the second largest in franchise history and was the worst since the Seahawks lost 51-7 to the Cowboys in Dallas in 1980. They also lost by 38 to the New York Jets in 1997.
Will Herring doing a TV interview in the locker room. The third-year linebacker got the start for injured rookie Aaron Curry and responded with a team-high eight tackles.
Wide receiver Mike Hass, who was signed off the practice squad on Saturday, dislocated a shoulder early in the game, had it strapped down and continued to play. But Mora said Hass likely will need surgery after the season.
Cornerback Josh Wilson got a hip point when he fell to the turf after defending a pass in the second quarter and did not return. Running back Julius Jones aggravated a bruised rib and also injured an ankle. But he still carried the ball 14 times (for 39 yards) and caught a game-high six passes (for 51 yards).
YOU DON’T SAY
“I’m definitely searching for answers,” – Hasselbeck, after throwing four interceptions for only the third time in his nine seasons with the Seahawks, but the second time in the past two games
Player of the quarter: Carlson. He not only has scored the Seahawks’ only touchdowns in the past three games, he now has six to break the franchise single-season record for the position that he shared with Jerramy Stevens.
Play of the quarter: On a second-and-7 play late in the quarter, Hasselbeck went to Carlson for 16 yards and the touchdown.
Line of the quarter: 5-6-55-1. Those were Hasselbeck’s numbers on the Seahawks’ TD drive. Five consecutive completions for all 55 yards on the drive and, of course, the score.
The bigger picture: The Packers holding the Seahawks on downs to end the third quarter led to a 52-yard field goal by Mason Crosby and a 41-3 Green Bay lead with just under 11 minutes to play. And it was backup QB Matt Flynn who directed the nine-play, 37-yard drive.
The next time the Seahawks got the ball, you guessed it. No, not another interception. Just another third-down sack of Hasselbeck – this one for an 8-yard loss by LB Brad Jones.
The next time the Packers got the ball, you guess it. No, not another big completion from Rodgers to Finley. This time it was a 36-yard pass interference penalty against CB Marcus Trufant on WR Jordy Nelson, giving the Packers a first-and-goal at the 7 and setting up a 6-yard TD run by Ahman Green to make it 48-3 with 6:39 to play. For those scoring at home, that’s the Packers’ fifth rushing TD.
The Seahawks finally found the end zone – with 4:15 to play – when Hasselbeck passed 16 yards to Carlson. But it was way too little, way too late on this day.
Peephole perspective: 38-3, Packers. Two more interceptions by Matt Hasselbeck. Two more touchdown runs by the Packers.
Player of the quarter: Packers TE Jermichael Finley. Third-and-8 on their first possession of the half, and QB Aaron Rodgers went to Finley for a 28-yard gain. Third-and-1 on their next possession, Rodgers to Finley for 38 yards.
Play of the quarter: Rodgers’ 38-yard gain to Finley to setup another TD.
Line of the quarter: 4-111. OK, so it’s cumulative after three quarters. But the catches and yards belong to Greg Jennings.
Peephole perspective: 24-3, Packers. A long run by Ryan Grant and a couple of field goals – including a 28-yarder by the Seahawks’ Olindo Mare.
Player of the quarter: Johnny Jolly. The Packers DE tipped two passes, one that was intercepted in the end zone, and later stuffed Julius Jones for a 2-yard loss on a third-and-2 that forced the Seahawks to settle for a field goal.
Play of the quarter: After QB Aaron Rodgers scrambled for 9 yards on third-and-8, Grant went for 56 yards and the TD. Grant, remember, ran for 201 yards in the Packers’ 2007 playoff win over the Seahawks at Lambeau.
Line of the quarter: 3-63. It belonged to Grant, who carried three times in the quarter for 63 yards.
Peephole perspective: Packers, 14-0. A 13-yard pass from Aaron Rodgers to Brandon Jackson. A short scoring run by Ryan Grant. Another big first-quarter hole for the Seahawks.
Player of the quarter: Greg Jennings. The Packers WR Greg Jennings had receptions of 40 and 24 yards, to account for 64 of his team’s 94 yards.
Play of the quarter: Backed into another third-down situation, Packers QB Aaron Rodgers dropped a beauty of a pass over Seahawks CB Kelly Jennings for a 40-yard gain to WR Greg Jennings. Two plays later, the Packers scored their second TD.
Line of the quarter: 3-5-21-0-1-30.0. That was Matt Hasselbeck’s passing stats. He had a pass picked off, while completing 3 of 5 passes for 21 yards.
QB Matt Hasselbeck wore gloves during practice this week, but said he probably wouldn’t wear them in the game.
“It was one of those things where, you never know what it feels like unless you try,” said Hasselbeck, who spent three seasons in Green Bay before being traded to the Seahawks in 2001. “So this week I tried it out. I doubt I’ll wear it. I doubt I’ll even wear sleeves. But you never know. You practice just to see.”
Well, he just took the field at Lambeau, and Hasselbeck is not wearing gloves or sleeves.
As expected, rookie linebacker Aaron Curry will not play today. The Seahawks’ first-round draft choice has had problems regaining the strength in his arm after getting a stinger in last week’s loss to the Buccaneers.
Will Herring will start at stong-side ’backer for Curry. Herring started five games earlier this season with side-side ’backer Leroy Hill was with a groin injury.
Defensive tackle Red Bryant is active today, usually a sign that the Seahawks expect to need his size against the run. This is the sixth game he has been active. With Bryant active, Craig Terrill is inactive.
Also inactive for the Seahawks:
CB Roy Lewis
OG Mansfield Wrotto
WR Nate Burleson
WR Ben Obomanu
TE Cameron Morrah
3rd QB: Mike Teel
Inactive for the Packers:
WR Patrick Williams
FB John Kuhn
CB Trevor Ford
S Matt Giordano
OT Breno Giacomini
OL Allen Barbre
NT Ryan Pickett
LB Jeremy Thompson
B.J. Raji, the Packers’ first-round draft choice, will start for Pickett; while Korey Hall is start at fullback for Kuhn.
Greetings from Green Bay, on what locals are calling a balmy Sunday in this chilly little corner of Wisconsin. It’s still looking a lot like Christmas here – especially in Appleton, where the team spent Saturday night. Last night, it was snowing, the Christmas decorations were strung across College Avenue with care and the church bells were ringing. All that was missing was George Bailey running up the middle of the street saying hello to the buildings.
But now, on to the task at hand: Today’s game between the Packers and Seahawks. One team is 9-5 and very much in the NFC playoff picture. The other? Well, make it 5-9 and looking to play the role of spoiler.