Battling for playoff relevance.
In a game between two teams battling for playoff relevance in the NFC Thursday night, the Seattle Seahawks were able to protect home field against a Packers team that’s suddenly in the midst of a lost season.
Despite falling down 21-17 at the half, Russell Wilson and Co. did what they needed to do in order to move to .500 on the season.
Meanwhile, Green Bay’s offense stalled to the tune of three points in the second half. Aaron Rodgers struggled through the air. And in a clear sign that Mike McCarthy’s days are numbered, his play-calling was disastrous.
These are among the winners and losers from Seattle’s 27-24 victory over Green Bay on Thursday Night Football.
Winner: Russell Wilson shows up again
A game that started out slow for Wilson and Co. turned into a statement win for Seattle. Wilson led the Seahawks on two fourth quarter scoring drives, overcoming a 21-17 deficit in the final stanza. This included a game-winning 15-yard touchdown strike to Ed Dickson with just over five minutes left.
Wilson ultimately completed 21-of-31 passes for 225 yards with two touchdowns and zero interceptions in the win. He’s now tallied 23 touchdowns and five interceptions on the season. Depending on how the remaining six games go, he might now be in the MVP conversation.
Loser: Aaron Rodgers comes up small in the end
Rodgers simply has Seattle’s number. Since entering the league, he boasts a 6-2 record with 10 touchdowns and two interceptions against the NFC rivals. Early on Thursday, it didn’t look like this would change. Rodgers threw for north of 200 yards with two touchdowns before halftime. He was on his game — completing game-changing passes throughout the first two quarters.
Then, the second half came. Whether it was Mike McCarthy’s struggles calling the game or Rodgers’ own issues, Green Bay scored a grand total of three points after intermission. It’s a span that included Rodgers being inaccurate on multiple passes and taking three sacks on third down. Now at 4-5-1 on the season, these Packers are pretty much done. Rodgers’ performance played a role in that.
Loser: Packers run defense
While Green Bay’s pass defense has proven to be pretty darn good this season, its biggest Achilles heel has been stopping the run. Heading into Week 11, the Packers had yielded an average of 4.5 yards per rush and ranked in the bottom 10 of the NFL against the run.
In a game that saw Green Bay hold Russell Wilson in check for the most part, it was Seattle’s No. 1-ranked run offense that kept the team in the game. Chris Carson, Rashaad Penny and Mike Davis combined for 155 yards on 29 attempts. As a team, the Seahawks averaged 4.9 yards per rush. This needs to change big time moving forward if Green Bay wants to have any chance of contention this season.
Winner: Rashaad Penny is making major strides
Injured during the summer and earlier in the regular season, Penny lost his starting job to Chris Carson before Week 1. It’s taken a while for the rookie first-round pick to make an impact. But he did that last week by putting up 108 yards and a touchdown on just 12 attempts against the Los Angeles Rams.
Penny backed that up big time in Thursday’s win over Green Bay. Seeing a bit more action after a fumble by Chris Carson on the initial drive, Penny put up 46 yards on eight attempts. He’s sure to get more volume moving forward after showing himself to be a big-play threat for a team that boasts the No. 1 rushing offense in the NFL.
Loser: Tre Flowers struggles big time
A combination of Shaquill Griffin and this rookie fifth-round pick were tasked with covering Davante Adams on Thursday Night Football. To say it didn’t go too swimmingly would be an understatement. A full-time starter in his first NFL season, Flowers has performed well through eight games. Unfortunately, that didn’t come close to continuing against Rodgers and Co.
When all was said and done, Adams put up 10 catches for 166 yards on 12 targets. From our estimation he caught 6-of-6 targets when covered by Flowers. We fully understand that rookies will struggle. But Flowers’ performance on Thursday hurt the Seahawks.
Winner: Aaron Jones continues to prove his worth
We’re so glad that Packers head coach Mike McCarthy finally got on the Jones’ bandwagon (at least for six quarters). It’s taken quite some time. But now that this second-year back is a bigger part of the picture, it’s changed Green Bay’s offense completely. He adds another dimension to the offense, creating balance Mr. Rodgers has not had since Eddie Lacy starting eating out.
Jones entered Week 11 averaging an NFL-best 6.8 yards per attempt. He was coming off a 172-yard performance against Miami last week. The UTEP product added another 103 yards on 16 touches, including two touchdowns, in the loss. Green Bay might finally have that answer at running back. It’s certainly been a long time coming.
Loser: Mike McCarthy is toast
Speaking of Jones, he touched the ball a grand total of six times after halftime. This came with Green Bay pretty much in the lead throughout the final two quarters. There’s absolutely no rhyme or reason to this. And in reality, the Packers’ head coach has to be blamed.
More than that, Green Bay was left with just one timeout as Seattle was attempting to run out the clock late in the fourth quarter. It’s this type of game management that could ultimately cost McCarthy his job. Now at 4-5-1 on the season, that might come sooner rather than later.
Winner: Davante Adams balls out
Already one of the most-productive receivers in the game this season, Adams continues to prove that the Packers didn’t make a mistake in signing him to a lucrative extension towards the end of the 2017 campaign. He entered Week 11 having caught 62 passes for 787 yards and nine touchdowns. The former second-round pick also boasts a career-high 66 percent catch rate.
Adams’ talents were on full display against a talented, but inexperienced Seahawks secondary in Seattle on Thursday. He caught 10-of-12 passes for 166 yards. That included a huge 57-yard catch in the fourth quarter to set Green Bay up for a field goal and a four-point lead. This dude is legitimately turning into a star right in front of our eyes.
Loser: Seahawks offensive line
The good news? This unit opened up huge lanes for the likes of Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny to run through. The bad news? Seattle’s offensive line couldn’t get out of its own way. It committed five false start penalties while yielded three sacks and five hits of Russell Wilson throughout the evening.
We know full well this offensive line is a work in progress. And in a vacuum, it has improved leaps and bounds this season. Even then, committing so many false start penalties at home is just not acceptable. Period.
Winner: Kyler Fackrell dominates less competition
Green Bay might have finally found that outside pass-rush threat. It’s something this defense has struggled with ever since Clay Matthews started to regress a couple seasons back. But heading into Week 11, Fackrell had put up five sacks in part-time duties. That included a three-sack performance against Buffalo back in Week 4.
The rookie third-round pick from Utah State added another three sacks to the mix in a dominating performance against an over-matched Seahawks offensive line. Given that two of these sacks came against Pro Bowl left tackle Duane Brown, we’re just going to assume this rookie isn’t a fluke. And in reality, that could be huge for Green Bay moving forward on the season.