It was a dominant win for the Green Bay Packers, and it secured them a playoff berth too. According to the Press-Gazette, the Packers would return to Arizona in two weeks if they lose next week to the Cardinals, and the Cowboys lose at home to the Eagles. The Packers hold the tiebreaker over either the Cowboys or the Eagles if they all reach 11 wins. So it's either at Arizona or at Dallas for the first playoff game.
Some other good news is that Mike McCarthy only reported two injuries: LG Daryn Colledge injured his ankle, but returned, and backup S Derrick Martin injured his ankle and he did not return. Martin's the only depth at safety on the roster besides rarely used S Matt Giordano. When the Packers pulled all their starters in the 4th quarter, CB Jarrett Bush moved to safety and SS Atari Bigby had to stay in the game.
One point commentator Brian Billick mentioned during the game that the Seahawks were trying to run a big play offense under new offensive coordinator Greg Knapp, but they didn't have any big play guys on offense. That was really the difference in the game: big plays. The Packers offense had 6 plays over 20 yards, plus they forced 1 pass interference penalty for over 20, and the defense forced 4 INTs. The Seahawks only had 1 play on offense of over 20 yards, and forced zero turnovers and only had 1 sack. All those big plays led to a lot of scoring opportunities, and the Packers only settled for a FG twice. Here's the complete Sports Network recap.
This all leads into a somewhat relaxing week for the Packers. Mike McCarthy said there are some things they can learn from (a.k.a. problem areas), and they'll game plan as usual for the Cardinals, but they'll certainly be loose next week. I'm not concerned about where they'll have to travel. All the possible opponents are good teams (with some weak areas) and the Packers can beat any of them. And all of them will be in good weather or domed locations, except in an unlikely scenario where they could wind up in Philadelphia. I'm expecting good weather would favor the Packers with their multiple receiver sets and QB Aaron Rodgers's accuracy. Just keep winning.
The complete play-by-play recap is after the jump.
The play-by-play descriptions are from NFL.com:
(9:02) 8-M.Hasselbeck pass short right INTERCEPTED by 50-A.Hawk at GB 36. 50-A.Hawk to SEA 35 for 29 yards (86-J.Owens; 33-J.Griffith).
The Seahawks got the game going well with a three-and-out on defense. Then they ran the ball well against the Packers great run defense (including two runs that converted on 3rd down). But then QB Matt Hasselbeck threw an INT that was so bad you have to see it to believe it. Nice catch and run by LB A.J. Hawk, but he didn't do anything special on the INT except stand in the empty space where Hass decided to throw it.
(6:41) (Shotgun) 12-A.Rodgers pass short middle to 32-B.Jackson for 13 yards, TOUCHDOWN [97-P.Kerney]. PENALTY on SEA-97-P.Kerney, Roughing the Passer, 15 yards, enforced between downs.
The TD pass to RB Brandon Jackson, his first TD of the season, was on a screen pass. Which is something that hasn't worked all season for the Packers. Just a sign of how bad things are for the Seahawks.
(5:42) (Shotgun) 8-M.Hasselbeck sacked at SEA 12 for -7 yards (56-N.Barnett).
Nice move by LB Nick Barnett to slip around the rookie center for the sack.
(5:00) (Shotgun) 12-A.Rodgers sacked at GB 10 for -9 yards (94-C.Redding). PENALTY on SEA-27-J.Babineaux, Illegal Contact, 5 yards, enforced at GB 19 - No Play.
This was the first of two Seahawk sacks that were wiped out by penalties. The Seahawks out-penalized the Packers by committing 8 penalties for 86 yards, and some of those were huge.
(4:02) (Shotgun) 12-A.Rodgers to GB 17 for -6 yards. FUMBLES, and recovers at GB 15. 12-A.Rodgers pass incomplete short right to 35-K.Hall. QB hit by SEA #97 (Kerney)
Fumbles are one area where Rodgers could improve. It was his 10th fumble, he's only lost 4, which is the same number as he had last season. By comparison, QB Peyton Manning has never had more than 7 fumbles in a season. Just a slight blemish on an outstanding season for Rodgers.
(1:37) (Shotgun) 12-A.Rodgers pass deep left to 85-G.Jennings ran ob at SEA 27 for 40 yards (21-K.Jennings).
(1:15) 12-A.Rodgers pass short right to 85-G.Jennings to SEA 3 for 24 yards (57-D.Hawthorne).
Back-to-back big plays set up a 3 yard TD run for Grant.
(14:39) 8-M.Hasselbeck pass deep right to 84-T.Houshmandzadeh pushed ob at GB 26 for 31 yards (36-N.Collins).
The Seahawks biggest play of the game. He beat CB Jarrett Bush, of course.
(12:10) (Shotgun) 8-M.Hasselbeck pass short middle intended for 84-T.Houshmandzadeh INTERCEPTED by 20-A.Bigby (97-J.Jolly) at GB -1. Touchback.
And their big play led to a 3rd and 6 at the Packers' 8 yard line that was picked off. It would have been a tight play, a tough pass between 3 defenders in coverage, but WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh slipped and the ball was tipped at the line for the INT.
(7:55) 22-J.Jones up the middle to GB 9 for -2 yards (97-J.Jolly).
This was a big stop on 3rd and 2 from the Packers' 7 yard line. Another good drive for the Seahawks, and this one had 4 plays over 10 yards. The Packers were getting run over early, but they did a much better starting midway through the 1st quarter. DE Johnny Jolly made a few plays in this game, and this one held the Seahawks to only a FG. Two consecutive drives into the Packers' red zone, and the Seahawks only came away with 3 points.
(5:46) 25-R.Grant left tackle for 56 yards, TOUCHDOWN.
This was like watching Grant v.2007. He got into the open field and he blew by FS Deon Grant around the 40 yard line.
(:15) (Shotgun) 12-A.Rodgers pass short middle to 88-J.Finley to SEA 1 for 14 yards (36-L.Milloy).
This was the first of TE Jermichael Finley's two almost-TD receptions. He had 2 big receptions (14 yards and 38 yards) on which he was tackled just short of the goal line.
(:08) 12-A.Rodgers pass short right to 41-S.Havner for 1 yard, TOUCHDOWN NULLIFIED by Penalty. PENALTY on GB-41-S.Havner, Offensive Pass Interference, 10 yards, enforced at SEA 1 - No Play.
(:03) 2-M.Crosby 29 yard field goal is GOOD, Center-61-B.Goode, Holder-7-J.Kapinos.
It's too bad for TE Spencer Havner that his TD was nullified, the shove was cutoff on replay so I couldn't tell how legit it was, but it's good to see K Mason Crosby hit a FG.
(14:14) (Shotgun) 8-M.Hasselbeck pass short right intended for 84-T.Houshmandzadeh INTERCEPTED by 24-J.Bush [52-C.Matthews] at 50. 24-J.Bush to SEA 47 for 3 yards (84-T.Houshmandzadeh).
It was the first career INT for Bush. Of course it led to stories of his redemption after getting repeatedly burned by the Steelers last week, and nearly every other team he's faced in his career before that. Good for him, but he's still a weak link in the defense.
(10:19) 32-B.Jackson right end for 6 yards, TOUCHDOWN.
Nice cut back by Jackson. There was nothing to his left, but LB Will Herring didn't hold contain on the strong side, and Jackson cut back around him for the TD.
(9:26) (Shotgun) 8-M.Hasselbeck pass deep middle intended for 83-D.Branch INTERCEPTED by 20-A.Bigby at GB 38. 20-A.Bigby to GB 38 for no gain (83-D.Branch).
This looked like a frustration pass from Hasselbeck. There were two defenders next to WR Deion Branch, and another nearby. It would have been a miracle if it had worked.
(6:21) 12-A.Rodgers pass short right to 88-J.Finley to SEA 4 for 38 yards (54-W.Herring).
There's a lot wrong with the Seahawks all over the depth chart. The thread over at Field Gulls puts most of the blame on Hasselbeck, but he's not the only problem. There was a funny exchange, I don't know if it was in regard to this play, where Scruffy Lefty said "the slant" is their weakness, and someone replied you mean "the pass"?
(5:32) 32-B.Jackson right guard for 4 yards, TOUCHDOWN.
This was a funny play where Jackson crouched down in the huddle and tried to hide the fact that he was the fullback. Otherwise it might have been a tip off that he was getting the ball. I'm not sure the Seahawks could have stopped him even if they had known.
(:32) 8-M.Hasselbeck sacked at GB 29 for -7 yards (54-B.Chillar).
The Seahawks got another drive going by nickel-and-diming down the field. I'm sure the Packers were willing to give them the short stuff once they were up 38 to 3. And on 4th and 10, LB Brandon Chillar ran a nice delayed blitz for the sack.
(13:40) (Shotgun) 10-M.Flynn pass short right to 87-J.Nelson pushed ob at SEA 43 for 17 yards (57-D.Hawthorne).
Nice play by QB Matt Flynn. He escaped the collapsing pocket, rolled to his right, and found WR Jordy Nelson along the sidelines. It was the big play of this FG drive.
(8:58) 32-B.Jackson right tackle to SEA 49 for 2 yards (97-P.Kerney, 36-L.Milloy).
(6:32) (Shotgun) 8-M.Hasselbeck pass short left to 83-D.Branch to SEA 44 for -1 yards (33-B.Underwood).
At those points in the game, the Packers brought in all their backups, while the Seahawks kept their starters in. Each team managed one TD drive, and one stop, during those last 9 minutes.