Sunday’s 28-22 overtime loss to the Seattle Seahawks is clearly one of the worst playoff losses in Green Bay Packers history. It may not top the list, but it’s close.
The Packers dominated play for most of the game, but left the door open just enough for the Seahawks to pull off a 12-point comeback in the final two minutes to force overtime and eventually pull out the win.
While the Packers were busy crushing the spirits of the Seahawks, they were missing opportunities to put the Seahawks away. They settled for field goals instead of scoring touchdowns early on, yet still led 16-0 at halftime and 19-7 with just under four minutes to play.
Seattle fans were starting to slowly trickle towards the exits, only to miss a comeback of the ages.
Nothing went right for Russell Wilson until the fourth quarter. He had thrown four interceptions as the Seahawks offense was suffocating against the Packers defense.
The Packers opened the door when they weren’t prepared for Seattle’s fake field goal. The Seahawks scored when punter/holder Jon Ryan (former Packer) hit Clint Gresham for a 19-yard touchdown pass to put Seattle on the boards. It was an obvious time to throw out a fake, but the Packers coaching staff didn’t have its players ready for it and Seattle now had some life.
The Packers four-minute offense had been sensational this season, but when it came to running out the clock on he Seahawks, the Packers couldn’t do it. On one, fourth quarter possession, they went run, run, pass & punt, then a second series went run, run, run and punt. The conservative play calling seemed to be of concern with quarterback Aaron Rodgers after the game. Instead of being aggressive and trying to pick up a first down. the Packers gave the ball back to the Seahawks.
Aaron Rodgers didn’t have his best day either. He finished 19 of 34 for 178 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. His passer rating was 55.8 and his longest completion went for 23 yards.
The final special teams gaffe came after Russell Wilson’s short touchdown run and the Seahawks needed to recover an onside kick, and they did. Brandon Bostick was supposed to block to pave the way for Jordy Nelson to catch the onside kick attempt. In spite of all that happened in the game, had Bostick stuck to his assignment, the Packers look like they would have recovered and won the game. Instead, the Seahawks recovered and Marshawn Lynch rushed 24 yards for the go-ahead touchdown.
The Seahawks would then attempt a two-point conversion. Russell Wilson was forced out of the pocket and while moving backwards, Wilson threw off of his back foot and still found Luke Wilson for the 2-point conversion and a 3-point lead.
Aaron Rodgers would lead the Packers down the field for a game tying field goal and Mason Crosby answered with a 48-yard boot right down the middle, his fifth field goal of the day to force overtime.
The Packers lost the toss and Seattle marched down the field with Russell Wilson hitting Jermaine Kearse with a 35-yard touchdown pass in overtime to win it, never giving the Packers a chance in the overtime.
It sends the Seahawks to their second straight title game, Super Bowl 49 in Arizona. They’ll be trying to win back-to-back Super Bowl titles for the first time since New England did it in 2003-04.
The Packers still have a window to get back here and to another Super Bowl with Aaron Rodgers at quarterback, but nothing is for certain. Several players after the game pointed to that very thing. It’ll take some time to put this loss behind them. After taking some time off, it will be time to start all over again with offseason workouts, OTA’s and mini-camps, followed by a new season. It’s hard to think about that right now.
The Packers had a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter and they let it get away. That will be the painful memory that will last for some time.