Play of the game
The Packers led 19-14 after Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson’s 1-yard keeper. That set up an all-or-nothing onside kick for the Seahawks.
Lined up on the left side of the formation at the 45-yard line for Green Bay was, from left, Andrew Quarless, Richard Rodgers, Brandon Bostick and John Kuhn. Jordy Nelson was stationed behind them, just on the other side of midfield.
While it’s called the “hands team,” that’s not entirely accurate. The roles of Quarless, Rodgers, Bostick and Kuhn are to take out members of the kicking team to give Nelson a clear shot at the ball. At the kick, Quarless, Rodgers and Kuhn did just that. Bostick, however, elected to try to field the ball.
He didn’t. The man he was supposed to block, receiver Chris Matthews, did, and Seattle took over at midfield.
“I let my team down, I feel like,” Bostick told reporters. “There was a lot on this game. I just feel like if I was able to do my job — my assignment was to block — Jordy would've caught the ball and the game would’ve been over.”
With 2:02 left, the Packers’ defense could have bailed out Bostick. Instead, the Seahawks’ momentum was too strong to stop. Not that it helped that Clay Matthews was inexplicably on the sideline for the possession. On Marshawn Lynch’s go-ahead 24-yard touchdown, right outside linebacker Nick Perry worked outside around left tackle Russell Okung. Left defensive tackle Mike Daniels was handled by guard James Carpenter and center Max Unger. They drove Daniels to the outside, so inside linebacker A.J. Hawk charged into the ‘A’-gap void. That left the Packers without a second-level defender when Lynch took the ball outside between Perry and Daniels. Meanwhile, the receivers blocked Micah Hyde and Sam Shields, giving Lynch a full head of steam to run through desperation arm-tackle attempts by the Packers’ corners.
Player of the game
The Packers tested Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman but not too much. Green Bay’s first possession ended with an interception when quarterback Aaron Rodgers, thinking he had drawn Seattle’s Michael Bennett offside, threw the ball into the end zone to Davante Adams but was picked off by Sherman.
By our count, the Packers threw at Sherman three times. The interception, a free play to Adams on an offside penalty (thus, that play didn’t count) and to Jordy Nelson on the final play for the game-tying field goal in the final seconds of regulation.
In two games against Seattle, the wide receivers not named Nelson and Randall Cobb combined for one reception — by Adams, for 7 yards.
Gazing into the Crystal Ball
After a crushing defeat, it’s a good thing the Packers have some time to pick up the pieces. While the national pundits have raved about Rodgers’ weapons, the Seahawks again exposed the Packers as having a two-man passing game. Maybe Adams or Richard Rodgers become that marquee No. 3 threat — and that’s assuming the Packers can retain Cobb. As of now, Green Bay’s offense isn’t good enough to beat the No. 1 obstacle in the way to the Super Bowl. And what is the future of special teams coordinator Shawn Slocum after his units botched the onside kick and was caught with its pants down on the fake field goal?
Numbers worth noting
0.0: Quarterback Russell Wilson’s first-half passer rating. He had thrown more interceptions (three) than completions (two).
0: Touchdowns in two opportunities in goal-to-go situations by Green Bay’s offense. The Packers were 10th in the red zone (57.8 percent touchdowns) but 19th in goal-to-go this season with a success rate of 67.6 percent. Seattle’s defense was 26th in the red zone (59.7 percent) and 26th in goal-to-go (70.8 percent). So, the Seahawks righted one of their few defensive wrongs.
.833: Green Bay’s winning percentage (35-7) with at least three takeaways under coach Mike McCarthy. Until Sunday, when the Packers forced five turnovers but lost.
.905: Green Bay’s winning percentage (19-2) when at least plus-3 in turnovers under McCarthy. Until Sunday, when the Packers forced five turnovers and gave it away twice.
1: Reception for 7 yards (to Davante Adams) to the wide receivers not named Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb in two games against Seattle.
3: Possessions started in Seattle territory.
3: Field goals scored on those possessions.
4: Yards of Morgan Burnett’s interception return before he gave himself up by sliding to the turf. Burnett caught the ball then headed left. To that side of the formation, one receiver was well downfield, one had run a crossing route and was out of the play and the other receiver was on the ground after failing to catch the ball. Burnett would have only had to beat the offensive linemen and Wilson to the end zone for what might have been the clinching touchdown.
15.5: Wilson’s passer rating after throwing his fourth interception of the game, to Burnett, late in the fourth quarter.
16: Seattle’s second-half comeback, the biggest in championship game history.
22: Years since a team had won a playoff game in spite of five turnovers.
22: Snaps in which Richard Sherman covered Nelson, by Packer Report’s count. Nelson caught one pass against Sherman.
27: Receptions for 274 yards and two touchdowns to Nelson and Cobb in the two games against Seattle.
35: Snaps in which Sherman covered Adams, by our count. Adams had zero catches vs. Sherman.
60: Yards after the catch by the Packers, by our count. The Packers averaged 139.4 for the season, according to STATS.
115: Yards of field-position advantage for the Packers, equating to an average starting point of the 39 for Green Bay and the 26 for Seattle.
158.3: Wilson’s passer rating, which is NFL perfection, after his fourth interception of the game. In the end of the fourth quarter and overtime, he was 6-of-7 for 99 yards and a email@example.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.