With Green Bay using big plays on both sides of the ball, it took a 24-3 lead into intermission at Lambeau Field. Half a country away, the Carolina Panthers led 24-0 over the host New York Giants. With the Packers (10-5) finishing the job and winning 48-10, and the Panthers wiping out the Giants (8-7), the Packers can plan for at least one more game this season.
It was an all-or-nothing first-half performance for the offense, with Aaron Rodgers just 8-of-18, but he hit Greg Jennings for three big plays that gained 102 yards. Connections of 40 and 24 yards on consecutive plays to Jennings set up a 3-yard touchdown run by Ryan Grant to make it 14-0, and Grant broke free for a 56-yard touchdown to bump the tally to 21-3.
Meanwhile, the defense forced two turnovers in the first half and four overall. The first, an interception by A.J. Hawk, set up a 35-yard touchdown drive for the opening score -- and the first of three on the day for Brandon Jackson. The second, an interception in the end zone by Atari Bigby, ended a scoring threat.
Everything was going so smoothly that embattled cornerback Jarrett Bush intercepted Matt Hasselbeck on Seattle's first drive of the second half, and the Packers marched to another touchdown to make it 31-3. By the end of the third quarter, with the Packers up 38-3, Matt Flynn had replaced Rodgers.
The Packers head to NFC West-champion Arizona next week. With a Green Bay-Arizona playoff rematch a possibility the following week and the Packers' likely desire to catch their breath after recovering from a 4-4 start, the regular-season finale probably will hold next-to-no intrigue or importance.
It was scoreless early in the first quarter, with the Seahawks running the ball down the Packers' throats. Six consecutive runs set up a third-and-1 from the Packers' 36-yard line. Seattle tried to catch Green Bay off-guard with a bootleg off of play action. Outside linebacker Brad Jones diagnosed the play and was in Matt Hasselbeck's face. Hasselbeck's pass appeared to slip out of his hand and it fluttered into the arms of linebacker A.J. Hawk, who rumbled 29 yards to the Seattle 35. Four plays later, Brandon Jackson strolled in from 13 yards on a perfect screen to give the Packers a 7-0 lead.
After weeks of picking up blitzes and catching the occasional screen, Brandon Jackson finally got a chance with the ball in his hands. He got the ball eight times (five rushes, three receptions) and scored three touchdowns.
Four: It was business as usual for the Packers, who forced four turnovers and didn't have any giveaways. Green Bay is a league-best plus-22 in turnovers for the season.
"It feels great, it really goes," Aaron Rodgers said of qualifying for the playoffs. "I think it's a lot of hard work. The second half of the season, we've been really putting it together. Guys are very excited in the locker room. But we realize it's just the beginning for us."
The other things you need to know
— Kicker Mason Crosby, who had missed makable field goals in each of the previous four games, went 2-for-2. The big one came in the fourth quarter, when he nailed a 52-yarder. He was given a standing ovation from the fans before the kick, and a louder ovation when he split the uprights.
"I think making a 52-yarder, in light of what he's been through over the last couple weeks, I think it's very important for him," special teams coordinator Shawn Slocum said. "It confirms his work. He had an excellent week of work. I thought his kickoffs were outstanding and his field-goal production was right on."
Said Crosby: "I had a good week of work, good warm-up. Trusted the operation, the protection was great, so they made it easy. I just had to swing through. It felt good. As soon as I hit it, I knew it went through. It's good to have this feeling."
-- Aaron Rodgers is the first quarterback in NFL history to post two 4,000-yard seasons in his first two years as the starter.
-- Along with Rodgers topping 4,000 passing yards (4,199), Greg Jennings topped 1,000 receiving yards (1,084) and Ryan Grant went over 1,200 rushing yards (1,202). Only Ahman Green (three times) and Jim Taylor (twice) have posted consecutive 1,200-yard rushing seasons. Donald Driver has 996 receiving yards.
-- Coach Mike McCarthy mentioned two injuries, ankle injuries to guard Daryn Colledge and safety Derrick Martin. Colledge returned; Martin was taken inside for examination.
-- The Packers' clinched their 25th postseason berth by matching the 12th-largest margin of victory in team history.
-- The Packers hadn't posted five rushing touchdowns since doing so against New England on Oct. 9, 1988. The last time they got four was in the 1999 season-finale at Arizona. Ray Rhodes' present for the accomplishment was getting fired a few hours later.
-- Brandon Jackson, who didn't have a touchdown all season, scored three touchdowns. It was the first multi-touchdown game of his career.
-- Johnny Jolly set the franchise's defensive-linemen record with pass breakups Nos. 10 and 11. Cullen Jenkins held the old record with nine. The Packers began keeping a tally in 1980.
-- Despite allowing 115 rushing yards -- the most since Sept. 27 at St. Louis -- Green Bay now owns the league's top-ranked run defense.
-- Brian Brohm's NFL debut went poorly. Buffalo's new starting quarterback -- and Green Bay's second-round pick in 2008 -- completed 17-of-29 passes for 146 yards and two interceptions in a 31-3 loss at Atlanta. His longest completion went 15 yards. Brohm's former teammate, Matt Flynn, completed 4-of-6 passes for 36 yards and led the offense to 10 points.
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at 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 and Facebook under Bill Huber.