Report card vs. Seahawks

Grades are high after Packers snap three-game losing streak

PASSING OFFENSE: A-minus -- The statistics don't suggest that Aaron Rodgers is bothered any by a severely sprained right shoulder. He turned in a second straight mostly outstanding effort since sustaining the injury in Week 4. His efficiency rating was again well into the 100s (111.5), thanks to mistake-free precision through the air. Rodgers completed 21 of 30 passes for an economical 208 yards and two touchdowns.

Given the limitations he has with the throwing arm, he wasn't asked to wind up and throw deep but a few times. One of those instances in which Rodgers sucked it up and withstood the pain turned out to be the play of the game - a 45-yard strike on the money into the awaiting arms of Greg Jennings as he glided into the end zone a step ahead of Pro Bowl cornerback Marcus Trufant to put the Packers ahead to stay at 17-10 in the third quarter. The big connection was one of seven Rodgers converted in 12 third-down chances via the pass - he was 4-for-4 in two decisive touchdown drives in the second half.

Jennings had a big second half after being almost nonexistent the first 30 minutes, finishing with five receptions for 84 yards. Donald Driver was Rodgers' primary target in the early going and had a game-high six catches for 53 yards.

Rookie Jordy Nelson (four catches for 42 yards) stepped up in the possession role with James Jones out again because of a recurring knee injury.

Rodgers also turned to the fullback tandem of Korey Hall and John Kuhn as underneath safety valves - they combined for three catches, and Kuhn's first TD as a pro for 1 yard in the fourth quarter put Green Bay comfortably ahead 24-10.

Rodgers, though, is visibly affected in making some throws with the bum shoulder. He still is plagued by holding onto the ball too long in the pocket, a scenario that resulted in his being hit by Julian Peterson, who worked off a block by left tackle Chad Clifton, and fumbling the football to Rocky Bernard. The Seahawks cashed in the turnover on the Packers' side of the field into a touchdown.

RUSHING OFFENSE: B-minus -- Ryan Grant more than doubled his season average of 15 rushing attempts per game by toting the football a career-high 33 times. So much for duplicating his franchise postseason record of 201 yards (accomplished in 27 carries) at the expense of the Seahawks in the teams' NFC divisional-round meeting in January, however.

After an auspicious beginning with 29 yards in his first three touches, including an assertive 17-yard gain on a cutback from the left side into a gaping middle, Grant managed to get to just 90 yards for the game. His per-carry average of 2.7 yards left a lot to be desired, as Grant still remains without a 100-yard game this season.

The concerted effort to run the football was essentially all on Grant because top backup Brandon Jackson fell ill overnight and was a game-day scratch and DeShawn Wynn, newly promoted from the practice squad after rookie Kregg Lumpkin went on injured reserve with a hamstring injury, was only good for third-down blocking duties.

Grant seemingly is struggling with vision in finding holes that are being created - he too often, especially on runs to the left, wound up running into the backsides of his blockers. He had nine runs that amounted to zero or negative yards.

Rodgers has proved to be the Packers' most effective runner in 2008. No matter that he had to expose his ailing shoulder, Rodgers pulled the ball down six times for 23 yards. A pair of 1-yard sneaks converted a third-and-1 and scored a touchdown, respectively. A 16-yard scramble was in the midst of the clinching 15-play, 84-yard touchdown drive that ate up almost eight minutes bridging the third and fourth quarters.

PASS DEFENSE: A -- True, the Packers were given a free pass in this one with third-stringer Charlie Frye making the emergency start for Matt Hasselbeck, out because of a knee injury. Green Bay's injury-plagued defense made the day miserable for Frye, whose anemic numbers were 12-of-23 for 83 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. The immobile quarterback was a sitting duck as the Packers ended a 10-quarter dry spell without a sack by dropping Frye three times, including two by end Aaron Kampman.

Cornerback Charles Woodson, a lock at this early juncture for an invitation to the Pro Bowl, continued to play at a high rate. He had his first sack of the season on a blitz. Woodson has few peers in the league with better recognition and reaction skills in pass coverage, and he expertly nabbed his team-high fourth interception when he came off his man on a go route along the sideline to swoop in for an underneath pass intended for tight end John Carlson.

Tramon Williams is making people forget that Al Harris hasn't been working opposite Woodson at cornerback. Williams came up with his third pick in as many games as the injured Harris' replacement.

Until the Seahawks had a long touchdown march in garbage time late in the game, Frye was only 2-of-7 on third down in passing situations. The injury-depleted receiving corps he had at his disposal caught just three passes.

RUSH DEFENSE: B-minus -- The Packers had one of their better games against the run this season, but they're not close to turning things around. Former Green Bay left guard Mike Wahle took the Packers defense off the hook from what would have been another disastrous performance. Wahle's holding penalty against defensive tackle Johnny Jolly early in the third quarter wiped away a 51-yard run by Julius Jones and kept Seattle from regaining the momentum in what was a 10-10 stalemate at that point.

So, the Seahawks' final numbers of 113 yards in 23 attempts are encouraging on the surface for a defense that came in yielding an average of 161.4 rushing yards per game. Seattle, though, still hit the Packers for an average of 4.9 yards a carry. Jones fell below that with a 3.7 average (12 carries for 44 yards), which is props to a banged-up front line that did its job when it wasn't aided by a crucial call.

Colin Cole was effective on the inside. Undersized rookie Jeremy Thompson showed some flashes in shedding blocks to get to the ball carrier as the primary right end.

SPECIAL TEAMS: A -- Derrick Frost gave up 13 yards in length to punting predecessor Jon Ryan, now kicking for the Seahawks, but Frost's substandard average of 35.3 gross yards in four attempts also was the same for a satisfactory net number. Frost placed two kicks inside the 20, and Seattle didn't have any return yards.

The coverage unit also was mostly solid on kickoff returns, allowing an average of just 21.2 yards.

Mason Crosby connected on both of his field goals, including a 51-yarder that cleared the crossbar by plenty to cap Green Bay's scoring. Will Blackmon had a 23-yard punt return and averaged 9.8 yards in four runbacks.

COACHING: A-minus -- The game wasn't even 4 1/2 minutes old, and head coach Mike McCarthy almost saw a foolhardy decision come to fruition. He sent out Crosby to attempt a 60-yard field goal. Although Crosby had the length in pregame warmups to give such a kick consideration, the last thing the Packers needed to do in the throes of a three-game losing streak was to help Frye's cause at the outset and put the Seahawks at midfield if Crosby were to miss.

Thankfully for McCarthy, lineman Josh Sitton was late in getting onto the field, which forced the Packers to burn a timeout. McCarthy thought better and punted instead. From then on, McCarthy and his staff were on point in getting the team to finally play fundamentally sound football.

Green Bay had a season-low five penalties for 45 yards. McCarthy's play-calling for the offense was outstanding. Although Grant didn't oblige with oodles of yards on the ground, the heavy emphasis on the run enabled the Packers to control tempo and keep the offense on the field for nearly 37 1/2 minutes.

The Green Bay defense did a better job of staying in gaps to keep the Seahawks' rushing output to a tolerable number.

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