The Green Bay Packers authored one of the worst playoff losses in NFL history on Sunday during their 28-22 overtime defeat to the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC Championship game.
While social media is opting to go HAM on Packers backup tight end Brandon Bostick, he is not alone on the list of game goats.
Sorry Packers fans but we’re going to go through how the Packers lost this game…bit by bit.
1. FIRST QUARTER: 3rd and 10 – SEA 29: Using three Seahawks penalties, the Packers moved into Seattle territory rather easily after receiving the opening kickoff. Facing third down, Aaron Rodgers lofted a pass intended for rookie receiver Davante Adams. Insert Richard Sherman, who flies in for the pick in the end zone. This play is borderline criminal considering they tried him at this point of the game but really didn’t go after him when he was playing with ONE ARM during the fourth quarter.
2. FIRST QUARTER: Mike Daniels Taunting Penalty – Following the Sherman interception, Green Bay rookie safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix intercepts a pass intended for Seattle’s Jermaine Kearse and barrels down the sideline to the Seahawks’ 4. Instead of starting the drive there, Packers defensive lineman Mike Daniels gets a 15-yard personal foul penalty called against him for taunting. It wasn’t a big deal at the time but it proved pivotal moments later…
3. FIRST QUARTER: Mason Crosby’s 18-YD Field Goal – Personal foul call be damned, the Packers moved the ball to the Seahawks’ 1 after an Eddie Lacy run on first down. Seattle’s defense stopped the Packers on consecutive plays from the 1. Faced with 4th and goal from the 1, Packers head coach Mike McCarthy decided to not go for it and wanted three points instead. It was the first of many conservative calls from McCarthy.
4. FIRST QUARTER: Doug Baldwin Fumble: WE’RE STILL IN THE FIRST QUARTER!! The Packers recover a Baldwin fumble on the ensuing kickoff at the Seahawks 23. Again, the Packers fail to score and are faced with another 4th and goal from the 1. What’s the call? Another field goal. Remember David Sims from Tin Cup? Chipping up and playing for par is boring. If you’re the underdog in the playoffs, gambling comes with the job. Apparently, McCarthy never saw this film and opted for another short field goal to take a menacing 6-0 lead.
5. SECOND QUARTER: Second Clinton-Dix Interception – The Packers start to roll towards the end of the first quarter and lead 16-0. Once again, the Wilson to Kearse connection failed dramatically. Clinton-Dix comes up with his second interception and returns it to the Seattle 41. A blindside block by Clay Matthews moves the ball back to Green Bay’s 44. Following a 23-yard pass to Jordy Nelson. Aaron Rodgers unleashes a pass that gets intercepted by Byron Maxwell at the Seattle 26. After that possession, the Packers closed six possessions in Seattle territory and only came away with 16 points. In related news, injury or no injury, this game was not Aaron Rodgers’s finest hour by any stretch.
6. THIRD QUARTER: 3rd and 19 – GB 48: We begin the sequence of events that led to Green Bay’s demise. Forgotten in the midst of this drive is that Seattle faced a 2nd and 30 (!!!!!!!!). Lynch ran for 11 yards to setup a 3rd and 19. Green Bay sent three linemen and somehow linebacker Clay Matthews fell asleep and allowed a cavernous sized opening in Green Bay’s zone that gave Wilson an opening to complete a 29-yard pass to Baldwin.
7. THIRD QUARTER: FAKE FIELD GOAL TD – Here comes trouble. Despite converting the 3rd and 19, Seattle’s drive stalled at the GB 19 as Pete Carroll called for a field goal…or so we thought. Punter Jon Ryan ended up completing a fake field goal attempt that resulted in a 19-yard touchdown catch by offensive lineman Gary Gilliam.
Linebacker AJ Hawk took the bait and decided to play Ryan rather than making sure nobody got behind him.
8. FOURTH QUARTER: Morgan Burnett INT, 5:13 left – Wilson fired his fourth interception of the day with just over five minutes left. Burnett hauled in the interception, traveled four yards, and then – at the behest of his teammate Julius Peppers – slid to the ground. Now, before people go ballistic on this play, there is historical precedence for bad things happening to players who don’t slide (I’m looking at you, Marlon McCree). Having said that, players sometimes don’t understand the situation. Considering the opponent, under no circumstance should Burnett go to the ground unless there was clear and present danger surrounding the play. Burnett heading to the ground cost the Packers points potentially – especially considering Green Bay went three and out on the next drive.
9. FOURTH QUARTER: The Onside Kick of Doom – With just over two minutes remaining and Seattle trailing 19-14, the Seahawks went for an onside kick that ricocheted off backup tight end Brandon Bostick.
Unfortunately, I fear that when people recall this game 25 years from now, they’ll point to this play as “The Play” when in reality the wheels were well off the wagon at this point.
Remember, even if the Packers recover the kick, the Seahawks still have the two-minute warning and a timeout to stop the clock. That game wasn’t quite over anyways.
Yet, when Bostick says he should have been blocking rather than trying to catch the ball in front of Nelson…that doesn’t make things any easier to accept for Packers fans.
10. FOURTH QUARTER: The Two-Point Play From Hell – This play made me gag. Seattle grabs a 20-19 lead with just over 90 seconds remaining and then, the two-point play went down. How Russell Wilson was allowed to essentially throw a two-yard hail mary after scrambling right and then, throwing across his body to tight Luke Willson is beyond me. In fact, it might be the worst defensive play of the year.
Yes, Green Bay came back to tie the game and send it to overtime but the damage had been done at this point. They didn’t deserve to win since they
Of course, moments later Wilson and Kearse put the Packers out of its collective misery.
Simply put, this game will (and should) haunt the Packers for a long, long time.