Packers-Seahawks Report Card

The Packers received high marks across the board from their 48-10 thumping of Seattle, including two areas that are usually troublesome. Green Bay's hot-and-cold running game produced five touchdowns, and its maligned special teams delivered, as well.

PASSING OFFENSE: B-minus

The Packers piled up season highs of 48 points and six touchdowns, all by the offense, and the majority of the big-time production oddly wasn't orchestrated by prolific quarterback Aaron Rodgers. His pedestrian numbers in just three quarters of action before giving way to Matt Flynn included a season-low-tying 23 pass attempts and only 12 completions. Yet, Rodgers made the most of those career-low completions in his two-year tenure as a starter by throwing for 237 yards. Six of the passes were in the team's "explosive" range of 16-plus yards, including first-half strikes of 40, 24 and 38 yards to Greg Jennings and second-half connections of 28 and 38 yards to tight end Jermichael Finley. Jennings added to his late-season resurgence with four receptions for 111 yards, and Finley stayed hot with three catches for 80 yards. The Packers' lone passing touchdown was a 13-yard screen to Brandon Jackson, who had some nifty running as he followed the downfield blocks of guards Josh Sitton and Daryn Colledge. As usual, Rodgers was more often than not clutch on third down, even converting a third-and-8 play with a 9-yard scramble. Rodgers, though, was victimized by three drops and was officially sacked once — two other would-be sacks were negated by Seattle penalties. Flynn showed some flashes in extended playing time, going 4-of-6 for 36 yards, highlighted by a 17-yard throw to Jordy Nelson to convert third-and-12.

RUSHING OFFENSE: A-minus

The Packers have churned out more rushing yards than the 153 they amassed Sunday, but Green Bay's ground assault on the Seahawks arguably was its finest three hours of the season. The combination of Ryan Grant and backups Jackson and Ahman Green combined for five rushing touchdowns, one short of the team's single-game record. The explosiveness with Grant (16 carries for 97 yards, two touchdowns) appears to be back after questions were raised earlier in the season whether he had lost it. His 56-yard burst to paydirt in the second quarter was sprung by play-side blocks by fullback Quinn Johnson, Colledge and Sitton and a back-side seal from center Scott Wells as Grant made the hard cut from the left to the inside and veered away from safety Deon Grant and into the clear the last 45 yards. The first of Jackson's career-best two touchdown runs was all effort, as he escaped traffic to the left and bounced it all the way back to the right from six yards out. Green later barreled in for his short touchdown. The blocking up front was hit-and-miss throughout the game.

PASS DEFENSE: B-plus


Nick Barnett sacks Matt Hasselbeck.
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Holding Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck to 198 passing yards was more like it for Green Bay's defense, which recovered from its disastrous showing the previous week when it surrendered 503 yards to the Pittsburgh Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger. The Packers harried Hasselbeck into shoddy numbers of 19-of-37 accuracy and 36.6 passer rating, not to mention three sacks (all by linebackers) and four interceptions. Safety Atari Bigby led the pillage with two picks, including a key grab in the end zone of a pass deflected by defensive end Johnny Jolly on third down with the Packers' nursing a 14-0 lead in the second quarter. Bigby's coverage on tight end John Carlson earlier in the game forced a bootlegging Hasselbeck into a horrible throw in the flat right into the arms of linebacker A.J. Hawk. Maligned nickel back Jarrett Bush had the other interception, atoning for a 31-yard completion he allowed to T.J. Houshmandzadeh. The Seahawks' only touchdown (16-yard catch by Carlson) came in garbage time with several Green Bay starters pulled from the game.

RUSH DEFENSE: B-minus

The Packers' streak of not allowing a team 100 rushing yards ended at seven games. The slippery combination of Justin Forsett and Julius Jones accounted for all but 6 of the Seahawks' 115 yards. Forsett had three big runs of at least 11 yards (long of 16) in producing a healthy 70 yards in 14 carries in the rotation with Jones. Despite not having nose tackle Ryan Pickett for essentially the third straight game because of a hamstring injury, the Packers had a handful of big stops for losses. Rookie B.J. Raji, the starting replacement for Pickett, was stout at the point of attack. Jolly stuffed Jones up the middle for a 2-yard loss on third-and-2 at the Green Bay 7, forcing a field goal.

SPECIAL TEAMS: B

The nightmarish stretch of a missed field goal by Mason Crosby in four straight games came to a screeching halt. Crosby rectified things for at least one week by splitting the uprights on his two attempts, none bigger for his sinking confidence than a 52-yarder in the fourth quarter. Now, the Packers will have to try to get punter Jeremy Kapinos on track in time for the playoffs. Kapinos struggled with averages of 41 gross yards and 36 net yards in four kicks — a far cry from ex-Packer Jon Ryan's averages of 47.8 and 42.8. The Green Bay coverage units were generally solid for the third straight game, though Brandon Underwood and Jackson were guilty of aggressive penalties on kickoff returns. Nelson hasn't been doing anything spectacular as the Packers' dual returner.

COACHING: B-plus

Coach Mike McCarthy and his staff had the team in the right frame of mind a week removed from the potentially disastrous last-second loss to the Steelers. The Packers were authoritative on both sides of the football as they clinched a playoff berth, not leaving anything to chance while receiving a boost by the Carolina Panthers' elimination of the New York Giants from postseason contention. McCarthy's unusual commitment to and trust in the running game in recent weeks has been rewarded. Dom Capers' pressure schemes did the job on the mistake-prone Hasselbeck. Considering his sagging success rate on replay challenges this season, McCarthy shouldn't have been quick to throw the red flag on a completed Seahawks pass along the sideline — chalk it up as another loss.


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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 packwriter2002@yahoo.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.


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