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Week 19 Game Recap: Seattle Seahawks 23, Green Bay Packers 28


What you need to know

Seattle Seahawks

In another installment of “…But Will It Be Enough?”, QB Russell Wilson nearly brought his team back from a 21-3 deficit, in the process reminding us just how dangerous he still is when he runs the ball. But in the end, it just wasn’t enough this time. RB Marshawn Lynch took on most of the carries, and scored twice in what most likely will be his last game before heading back into retirement. Lynch had a 12-3 edge in carries over Travis Homer, and probably could have handled more, but with the Seahawks were forced to go to the air in the second half. After breaking the rookie playoff record for yards in a game (160) last week, DK Metcalf came back down to earth with a good-but-not-great game, and it was Tyler Lockett’s turn to steal the spotlight, as he had an excellent game.

Green Bay Packers

The Green Bay Packers beat the Seattle Seahawks 28-23 to advance to the NFC Championship game. Aaron Rodgers completed 16 of 27 passes for 243 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions. Aaron Jones carried the ball 21 times for 62 yards and two touchdowns, and caught one pass for four yards. Jamaal Williams had a very quiet day, rushing one time for three yards with one reception for nine yards. Davante Adams dominated the Seahawks secondary to the tune of eight catches for 160 yards and two touchdowns on 11 targets. Geronimo Allison, Marquez Valdes-Scalding, Jake Kumerow and Allen Lazard combined for two catches for 19 yards, a sad continuation of the Packers struggles in finding a complimentary receiver next to Adams. Jimmy Graham caught three passes for 49 yards on four targets.

Seattle Seahawks

QB Russell Wilson, Pass: 21 - 31 - 277 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 7 - 64 - 0
Wilson didn’t have a horrible first half, but he just wasn’t able to connect with his receivers consistently enough to sustain any drives. The running game was not exactly inspiring, which led to a lot of pressure. Late in the half, Wilson countered with his legs on a number of rollout plays, and scrambles for good gains (he was the Seahawks leading rusher, by a country mile), and the momentum started to shift. Then, he came out throwing in the second half and moved the team up the field for an eventual Marshawn Lynch short yardage TD. On that drive, he found DK Metcalf for a 24-yard pickup, but was otherwise limited to short throws to him. On the other side of the field, Wilson had a great connection with Tyler Lockett, hitting him for two big plays in the first half, and continuing the rapport in the second, as all but one of their hookups went for either a first down or touchdown. On the touchdown play, Wilson had rolled out and he anticipated Lockett’s moves perfectly, timing the short pass to him just as he separated from his defender in the end zone. Wilson nearly brought the team back to win it, but was sacked on 3rd & 5, which led to a punt with under three minutes to go, with hopes of one more possession. The Seahawks did not see the ball again, however.

RB Marshawn Lynch, Rush: 12 - 26 - 2
Lynch looked strong in the early going, but the Packers weren’t giving up much, and even stopped him on 3rd-and-short, which stalled the Seahawks second drive. Lynch got most of the carries over Travis Homer, by a 12-3 margin. For the most part, Lynch tried to follow his blockers, and when breaking away was closed in on pretty quickly. After the one short yardage fail, he was basically unstoppable in those situations, converting both touchdowns from in close, and further adding a five yard run from the six, setting up his own score.

RB Travis Homer, Rush: 3 - 13 - 0, Rec: 2 - 27 - 0 (3 targets)
Homer looked proficient on his few carries, getting positive yardage when there wasn’t much room to run. He fared better as a receiver, taking a 4th-quarter pass from behind scrimmage for 16 yards, to the 5-yard line. He has played well enough these past few games that he’s most likely earned a place in the pecking order going into next season, albeit behind Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny.

WR Tyler Lockett, Rec: 9 - 136 - 1 (10 targets)
Lockett was the Seahawks leading receiver by a wide margin. His first contribution was a 28-yard reception down the sideline, in which he had a couple of steps on the defender, and easily pulled in a perfect throw from Wilson. This play set up the field goal – and only first half points – late in the first quarter. Still in the first half, he added a big play of 31 yards over the middle, continuing to show versatility with his knack for finding openings zone defenses. He converted a short 4th-and-1 in the red zone, on a quick rollout play, getting the ball almost to the goal line, setting up the Seahawks first touchdown. Lockett’s TD was a short catch in the end zone, that was a deceptively good play. Wilson had rolled out and as Lockett jockeyed for position in man coverage, Wilson’s pass floated to him – wide open -- at the exact moment that he found separation.

WR DK Metcalf, Rec: 4 - 59 - 0 (5 targets)
Metcalf didn’t come close to last week’s record breaking day, as the defense seemed intent on playing softer coverage on him and taking away the big play. The result was a handful of catches underneath, but for the most part he was kept in check. The exception to this was a catch that helped set up the TD to start the second half, in which he caught the ball in between defenders and was able to run about ten yards for a 24-yard pickup into the red zone.

TE Jacob Hollister, Rec: 5 - 47 - 0 (6 targets)
Hollister caught the first pass of the game, an 11 yarder over the middle in which he got hit and went end-over-end. He had a short red zone catch, and fought hard to get the first down, but came up just short. His biggest play was a 19-yard catch in the 4th-quarter, which sustained a drive that led to a touchdown.


Green Bay Packers

QB Aaron Rodgers, Pass: 16 - 27 - 243 - 2 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 5 - 14 - 0
Aaron Rodgers completed 16 of 27 passes for 243 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions. He also rushed five times for 14 yards. This game summed up Rodgers season very well, as he alternated between stagnant drives and elite throws at some of the biggest times in the game. Specifically, with the Packers facing a third and eight from their own 22 yard line, deep in the fourth quarter and clinging to a five point lead. Rodgers took the snap out of the shotgun and looked downfield to Adams, who was running a straight go-route from the inside right slot position that was angled toward the right sideline. Adams was able to create some separation by running a ridiculous hop-step juke that gave him some operating room. The way the route was set up, Rodgers had an angle that allowed him to make a throw that only Adams could make a play on, right at the apex of where two Seahawk defenders were converging. Although the angle was right, it was a difficult throw because the ball had to arc over the top of one defender, and then drop in a bucket ahead of the safety who was giving help over the top. Rodgers throw was textbook perfect, and it came at one of the defining points in the game and set up the Packers for the win. Rodgers first touchdown pass of the game came with the Packers facing a third and seven from the Seattle 20 yard line. Rodgers took the snap out of the shotgun and was looking to Adams on the left side the entire time. Adams ran a filthy route that was set up by Allison and Adams essentially running the same exact routes from the same side of the field. They both started off the line running immediate slants, Allison to the outside and Adams to the inside. It was an awesome piece of route-combinations, as right at the apex of where Allison and Adams met, they both put their foot in the ground and ran in the opposite directions. This confused the Seattle secondary and Adams was able to get massive separation from his defender which gave Rodgers plenty of room to lead him into the end zone for the 20 yard touchdown. Rodgers second Seattle touchdown pass came with the Packers facing a second and six from the 40 yard line. Rodgers took the snap under center and play action faked the handoff to Jones. The Packers overloaded the left side of the field, sending Adams in motion where he settled in right behind the inside left slot position. Adams ran what looked to be a deep post-route to the inside of the field, but after changing direction, Adams ran a double-move and ran on an angle back to the left sideline. The route was executed so cleanly that the Seahawks secondary had no one even in the close proximity to challenge the pass to Adams. The result was an easy 40 yard touchdown and a replay that is destined to be in “how to run routes” books and publications for years to come.

RB Aaron Jones, Rush: 21 - 62 - 2, Rec: 1 - 4 - 0 (2 targets)
Aaron Jones rushed 21 times for 62 yards and two touchdowns, while also catching one pass for four yards on two targets. This was far from Jones most efficient outing, as this was the first time where Jones did not eclipse 100+ yards rushing when receiving at least 18 carries (8 for 8 heading into this game). Jones still managed to make a big impact in this game, scoring two touchdowns on the ground. The touchdowns were essentially the same play, as they both came with the Packers facing a third and goal from the one yard line. Rodgers took the snap out of the shotgun and handed off to Jones who was running a draw right up the middle of the line. On the first touchdown, Jones managed to keep his feet moving when he was met with resistance at the line of scrimmage, which gave him enough momentum to extend the ball over the goal line for the one yard touchdown. The second touchdown was easier for Jones, as he was able to run right up the gut for the easy touchdown. Jamaal Williams and Tyler Ervin combined for just three carries and one reception, paving the way for Jones to be the Packers bell-cow back throughout the playoffs.

RB Jamaal Williams, Rush: 1 - 3 - 0, Rec: 1 - 9 - 0 (1 targets)
Jamaal Williams ran one time for three yards and caught one pass for nine yards on one target. This game was dominated by Adams in the passing game, and Jones getting nearly all the carries in the running game. That left scraps for Williams to share with every other player on the Packers offense, and the result was five players with one catch, Graham with three catches and Adams with eight. Despite Williams not being much of a factor in this game, he has carved out a nice little piece of the Packers offense and should be more involved in what will be a difficult matchup against the 49ers. In their week 12 matchup against the 49ers, Williams was the more efficient of the two, rushing 11 times for 41 yards to Jones 13 carries for 38 yards.

WR Davante Adams, Rec: 8 - 160 - 2 (11 targets)
Davante Adams rushed eight times for 160 yards and two touchdowns on 11 targets in the Packers win over the Seahawks on Sunday. Adams put on a master class of route-running, hitting the Seattle secondary with a bevy of double moves and jukes coming off the line of scrimmage. Adams came up big when it counted most, as the Packers offense was stagnant at times and depended on Adams to make the big play, something he did over and over again. With the Packers looking to close the game out in the fourth quarter, they were facing a third and eight deep in their own territory. Adams was lined up in the inside slot position on the right side of the formation and ran a straight go-route that angled towards the sideline. He was able to get immediate separation on his defender by juking him out at the line of scrimmage with a hard jump cut and fake to the inside. Rodgers was given a small window of daylight, but it was all he needed to execute the throw that only Adams could make a play on, right at the apex of where two Seahawk defenders were converging. Although the angle was right, it was a difficult throw because the ball had to arc over the top of one defender, and then drop in a bucket ahead of the safety who was giving help over the top. Rodgers throw was textbook perfect, but you have to tip your cap to Adams as well. He ran such a crisp route and never gave up the separation he created at the line of scrimmage, which was the difference between it being a completion and the Packers having to punt the ball back to Russell Wilson, up only five points with less than five minutes left in the game. Adams first touchdown catch of the game came with the Packers facing a third and seven from the Seattle 20 yard line. Rodgers took the snap out of the shotgun and was looking to Adams on the left side the entire time. Adams ran a filthy route that was set up by Allison and Adams essentially running the same exact routes from the same side of the field. They both started off the line running immediate slants, Allison to the outside and Adams to the inside. It was the first time I’d ever seen that specific route combination between the X and Z receivers. With Adams and Allison on a course that would see them intersect, they both stuck their foot in the ground and cut hard in the opposite direction. This confused the Seattle secondary and Adams was able to get massive separation from his defender which gave Rodgers plenty of room to lead him into the end zone for the 20 yard touchdown. It was a very impressive route because Adams did not give anything away in terms of where he was going to end up, a tough thing to do when you have to cut back in the opposite direction and get up to top speed very quickly. Adams then outran the Seattle secondary to the end zone, scoring on the 20 yard touchdown catch. Adams second touchdown catch came with the Packers facing a second and six from the 40 yard line. Rodgers took the snap under center and play action faked the handoff to Jones. The Packers overloaded the left side of the field, sending Adams in motion where he settled in right behind the inside left slot position. Adams ran what looked to be a deep post-route to the inside of the field, but after changing direction, Adams ran a double-move and ran on an angle back to the left sideline. Adams absolutely destroyed the Seattle secondary with double move-routes, and they all seemed to be executed in a way where Adams was running away from the coverage on his second move, something that allowed him to generate big plays whenever they caught Seattle in the wrong coverage. This was Adams showing that he can carry the Packers offense on his back, which is exactly what he’s going to have to do in order for Green Bay to win next weekend in San Francisco.

WR Allen Lazard, Rush: 1 - 5 - 0
Allen Lazard had a very quiet day in the Packers win over the Seattle, failing to secure his only target of the game, and missing some time with a leg injury. He did run the ball once for five yards on an end around. Lazard has carved out a piece of the Packers offense as the #2 receiver, but it is hard to depend on him for anything meaningful when Rodgers spreads the ball out as much as he does.

WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Rec: 1 - 8 - 0 (1 targets)
Marquez Valdes-Scantling caught one pass for eight yards on one target in the Packers win over the Seahawks on Sunday. Valdes-Scantling has seen his playing time decrease with the ascension of Lazard, so one target is about what you can expect for him in the playoffs. He does have the added benefit of running a majority of his routes down the field, but when you get only one shot at a deep ball, you can’t expect to make that play a majority of the time.

TE Jimmy Graham, Rec: 3 - 49 - 0 (4 targets)
Jimmy Graham caught three passes for 49 yards on four targets in the Packers win over the Seahawks on Sunday. Graham’s long gain of the night came on a third and six from the Packers 29 yard line. Rodgers took the snap out of the shotgun and waited in the pocket for his receiver’s routes to develop. Graham managed to slip his way through the Seattle zone and get behind the linebackers tasked with covering him. Rodgers dropped the ball over the Seattle linebackers and hit Graham in stride. Graham was absolutely lit up by a Seattle safety after taking several strides down the field, but he was able to hang onto the ball and set up Adams long touchdown two plays later. Graham’s biggest play of the game came on the Packers last drive where he was able to gain a first down when the Packers were faced with a third and nine at the Seattle 45 yard line. If Graham does not convert the first down, then the Packers have to punt the ball back to Wilson up only five points. It says something that Rodgers was willing to go to Graham on the biggest play of their season to date, but it’s hard to trust him when he’s had so many down games this year.