Week 17 Game Recap: Seattle Seahawks 17, Green Bay Packers 23
What you need to know
The Seahawks sat many starters including LT Walter Jones and WR Darrell Jackson because they have home field advantage locked up throughout the playoffs. Many other starters played only through the first half Including QB Matt Hasselbeck, RB Shaun Alexander, WR Bobby Engram, and TE Jeremy Stevens.
RB Shaun Alexander set the single season record with his 28th touchdown at the start of the second quarter. Alexander remained in the game through the first half allowing him to catch and pass up RB Tiki Barber for the season rushing title as well.
QB Brett Favre ended his drought of passes without a touchdown in the third quarter hitting WR Antonio Chatman for a score. Speculation about Favre’s future dominated discussion throughout the game. Fans in Lambeau Field chanted “one more year” through much of the second half.
RB Tony Fisher started the game, but was primarily used as a receiver out of the backfield through the majority of the game. Back up RB Noah Herron was the primary ball carrier in the game for the Packers. Herron didn’t show anything worthy of speculation that he would be a future starter. His best runs in the game were the result of well-designed and blocked plays.
What you ought to know
Wallace started the second half for the Seahawks. He marched them downfield 71 yards to take the lead completing all four of his passes capping it off with a touchdown pass to WR Joe Jurevicius. Wallace threw the ball with zip and hit all his targets in stride. Wallace followed up the great drive with a terrible throw. On the first play of the next drive Wallace took a three step drop, planted, and threw a quick out towards WR Peter Warrick without thinking twice about it. CB Al Harris stepped in front of the pass for the easy interception setting up the Favre touchdown pass. It only got worse for Wallace as he began to face a more aggressive Packer pass rush. This combined with Seahawks sitting all their starting offensive line created a situation makes it hard to evaluate Wallace’s play.
Hasselbeck didn’t have much a chance to move the Seahawks in the first half. He was sharp and accurate completing six of eight attempts, but it was obvious that the Seahawks were committed to getting RB Shaun Alexander the rushing title. This regulated Hasselbeck to not much more than the person handing the ball off. Backup QB Seneca Wallace entered the game at halftime while Hasselbeck went to the sideline
The Seahawks came out dedicated to getting Alexander the single season touchdown record and the rushing title. After going three and out on their first possession, Seattle gave Alexander eight carries on the ten play drive that ended in him setting the touchdown record. He continued to get force fed the ball for a total of 20 carries before halftime compared to only nine pass plays called. Alexander locked up the rushing title just before halftime. He piled on some more yards with a 13 yard draw up the middle to the Packers’ six yard line, but fumbled on the play when rookie DB Marviel Underwood put his helmet on the ball hitting Alexander.
Morris had only one carry in the first half giving starting RB Shaun Alexander a quick breather. Morris was in the game to begin the second half. He had four runs on a long drive that got the Seahawks the lead including a 16 yard run off right tackle using a stiff arm to break a tackle. Morris only had two more carries on the next four Seahawk possessions. He was targeted coming out of the backfield in the middle of the field and dropped what would have converted a long third down play. Later on in the game he made the reception on the same play, and also made a nice move in the open field to pick up a first down and extra yardage.
Strong made an over the shoulder reception straight up the middle of the field for 27 yards to begin the second Seahawks’ drive. This was his only touch in the game.
Hackett caught his first target on the second Seahawk drive converting a short third down. He caught the pass well short of the sticks, but turned up field nicely breaking a tackle on the play. When QB Seneca Wallace entered the game in the second half Hackett caught three passes on the drive that got Seattle the lead working the middle of the field. Two possessions later he was targeted on third and long in the center of the field, but dropped the ball that hit him in the gut.
Engram converted two long third downs just before half to pull the Seahawks into field goal range. Each was a cross in the center of the field. Engram was rested in the second half along with many other starters.
Jurevicius caught an out on third and seven on the first Seattle possession, but ended up one yard short of the mark. His only other target in the first half was a deep ball down the left sideline just before half. He did a nice job fighting for the ball, but was out of bounds and couldn’t come up with the ball. Jurevicius capped the Seahawks’ opening drive in the second half pulling in a five yard touchdown on a pattern across the back of the end zone. He did a nice job of finding the hole in the back of the zone.
Warrick entered the game on the second Seattle drive in the third quarter. He was targeted on his first play on a quick hitch, but CB Al Harris jumped the route and made the interception. Two drives later he made a nice move at the line of scrimmage to gain separation and took a short pass 33 yards showing good moves in the open field to avoid tacklers.
Jackson was rested this week and did not make the trip to Green Bay.
Stevens wasn’t targeted while in the game. His lack of targets can be directly correlated to Seattle forcing the ball to RB Shaun Alexander seeking the rushing title and touchdown records.
Down by nine points at the end of the game, Brown got to kick a field goal from 44 yards as the Seahawks needed a field goal and a touchdown to catch up. The kick snuck inside the left upright.
The Seahawks had little trouble stuffing RB Noah Herron throughout the game. Herron had only two solid runs in the game on consecutive carries including an 11 yard touchdown off right tackle. Other than this one instance, the Seahawk front seven continued to display fantastic red zone rush defense as they have all season.
First year FS Marquand Manual missed making a big play when he blitzed straight up the middle and whiffed on sacking QB Brett Favre early in the game. CB Kelly Herndon returned from injury to help the depleted secondary. DT Marcus Tubbs was able to create some pressure straight up the field and forced Favre to overthrow a pass into the end zone. However, pressure from the Seahawks pass rush was rare. DE Bryce Fisher was able to get to Favre once, but was flagged for tripping on the play.
|QB Brett Favre, Pass: 21 - 37 - 259 - 1 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 1 - -1 - 0|
Favre was able to move the Packers well with his arm through the game, but turnovers and inefficiency in the red zone kept the Packers from pulling away in the first half. Favre threw his first touchdown in five games when he got the Packers the lead in the second half. However, he threw several balls that were tipped and nearly intercepted on top of his two late turnovers (fumble and interception). Favre’s future was the focus of the game dominating all discussion on the network broadcast. There was no formal ceremony or anything indicating that a decision has been made with regard to his possible playing future. Coach Mike Sherman allowed the crowd a chance to give him a thundering ovation when he left the game with :40 on the clock.
Herron was the primary ball carrier from the beginning of the game. He had all but two Packer rushes in the first half, mostly between the tackles. His longer runs were well blocked by the offense line and his fullback including his touchdown run that capped the third Green Bay drive. In the second half Herron was particularly ineffective gaining only 13 yards on 13 carries.
|RB Tony Fisher, Rush: 7 - 16 - 0, Rec: 6 - 44 - 0 (9 targets)|
Fisher started at the running back position in both halves, but was mostly used as a passing target. Fisher’s few carries were mostly between the tackles and uninspiring. He didn’t have much room to run.
Driver pulled in three passes on the first Green Bay drive. Each was on third down picking up the conversion (10, 8, and 2 yards). On their following drive he was targeted near the goal line at the conclusion of the drive, but the pass was well overthrown. Driver converted another third down play on a short out route on the third Packers’ possession. Shortly after that play Driver was targeted on a deep cross, but the ball was overthrown. Driver drew an illegal contact penalty on the defense, but got laid out on the play by SS Michael Boulware and was on the field in obvious pain. Most likely the “wind knocked out of him”. Driver returned to the game two plays later and drew a pass interference flag on another third and long. His last target was a long reception down the right sideline for 59 yards.
The Packers ran a reverse for Chatman in the red zone on the first Packer drive. The play went for negative seven yards as the Seattle defense read the play well. Chatman didn’t see a passing target until the second half. He pulled in two short five yard passes before becoming the focus of the next Packer drive. After CB Al Harris put the Packers in the red zone with an interception QB Brett Favre targeted Chatman on a skinny post into the end zone. Chatman didn’t slant enough on the route and got an earful from Favre. However, Favre went right back to Chatman on his next completions including a touchdown to regain the lead.
The Packers were committed to getting Gardner some looks in this game so they could evaluate him as a future prospect. Gardner saw two targets on the first Packer drive. He pulled in a short hitch on the sideline and did a nice job of breaking a tackle getting up field for a first down. He followed this up with by catching a short cross and breaking free up the left sideline for a long gain. Gardner was open deep after blowing by CB Jimmy Williams down the left side, but QB Brett Favre was short on his throw allowing the defender to catch back up. Gardner got a hand on the ball, but couldn’t make the play. He was also targeted in the end zone on a deep out. Again, Gardner got a hand on the ball, but it would have taken a spectacular catch to pull in the poorly thrown ball.
Lee saw lots more action than his stat line would suggest. He was targeted in the end zone twice during the second half.
Longwell hit all three of his attempts (26, 32, 28) in the game.
The Packers were unable to keep RB Shaun Alexander from breaking the single season touchdown record and winning the rushing title. They knew Seattle was giving the ball to Alexander play after play, but still weren’t able to shut him down (20 carries, 73 yards, one touchdown in the first half). Green Bay continued to struggle into the second half while the Seahawks kept the bulk of their offensive line in the game (sans LT Walter Jones), but turned the tide quickly when the Seattle second string came in.
The Packers’ front seven didn’t have many chances to get after QB Matt Hasselbeck in the first half as the Seahawks continued to feed the ball to QB Shaun Alexander, but they did sack him once (DE Kenny Peterson) forcing the Seahawks to go three and out on two of their first three possessions. The second half was a different story when the Seattle backups entered the game. DE Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila got two garbage time sacks. CB Al Harris made a great play stepping in front of a pass from QB Seneca Wallace setting up the Favre touchdown pass.