I think I am still in slight disbelief that the Green Bay Packers thumped the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.
When I was making my prediction, I kept thinking to myself that the Packers could win this game. I felt like the absence of Earl Thomas would be huge and knew that if the Packers stopped the run, they’d have Seattle’s offense in trouble. But I wasn’t going to pick the Packers because they have just been all over the place this year.
The common sense pick was the Seahawks. I mean, let’s be honest. None of us would have been the least bit surprised if the score were 38-10 in favor of Seattle.
Maybe they’ve finally pulled it together. Maybe…
Here are five more notes on the big win.
The MVP is Back
Yes, okay, Aaron Rodgers has been “back” for a while now. He’s been playing at his MVP level for a while now. About four games, to be exact. In the last four games, Rodgers has not thrown an interception, his quarterback rating has been over 100 each time (with a low of 108.9) and, with the exception of the Houston game, his yards per attempt has been above 8. Three things immediately jump out from the Seattle stat line — the 150.8 rating, the 10.7 yards per attempt and the 78.3 completion percentage. All of those represent season highs. Rodgers hasn’t always played well against the Seahawks in the past. He sure as hell came up big this time, though.
The F-You Touchdown
The Packers didn’t really need to score a touchdown with 5:43 left in the game up 31-10. Sure, they had the ball at Seattle’s 19 after a Micah Hyde interception. A lot of coaches would have just ran into the line three times and kicked a field goal. Not Fat Mike, not on this day. He whips out the Jeff Janis reverse. Not the time and situation in which you’d normally run a trick play. But these are the Seattle Seahawks. They needed to be thoroughly demoralized. A one-play, seven-second drive for the fuck-you touchdown. I certainly did not agree with all Buffoon decisions on this day, but this one was tremendous.
Burnett and Thomas Over Ryan
I wasn’t too fond of this move at the time, but I guess it worked fine and I do understand the rationale. The Packers replaced Jake Ryan — their best inside linebacker — early in the game. He was replaced by safety Morgan Burnett. That left the Packers with Burnett and the undersized Joe Thomas in the middle. One, Burnett is having a great season — at least recently. He was great on Sunday — eight tackles (second on the team), a pass defended and that pick that set the tone early. Thomas, on the other hand, I have my issues with. He’s constantly getting blown out in the running game. He’s a liability there. Thomas Rawls rushed 12 times for 67 yards. That’s a 5.6 average and a lot of the time, you could see Rawls carrying Joe Thomas on his back or running right through him. If Russell Wilson hadn’t kept throwing picks, this would have been a drastically different game. Seattle would have obviously been able to commit to Rawls, who probably would have taken Joe Thomas for a ride to the tune of about 120 yards. The Packers were lucky that the Seahawks were forced to pass almost exclusively for a large portion of the game. Thomas is decent in coverage, but he might have killed the Packers’ defense with his play in the running game if the score were closer.
We thought the loss of Nick Perry was going to be huge for the Packers. To make up for it, some guys had to step up and some guys did. First of all, Mike Daniels. Daniels obviously came to play on this day — five tackles and a QB hit. More importantly, he played with emotion and was disruptive. It would be great if he did that every week. Second, Jayrone Elliott. We were just criticizing him last week for not actually doing anything on the field this year, but he comes to play against Seattle for whatever reason. Five tackles, 1.5 for loss, a sack and a QB hit. He obviously got more playing time with Perry sidelined and he actually did something with it. That’s exactly what the Packers needed. Third, Dean Lowry. The rookie has sacks in consecutive weeks, his first two of the season. On Sunday, two tackles, one for loss, a sack and a QB hit. And finally, Datone Jones. Datone does boneheaded stuff sometimes, like the personal foul he picked up in the first half. However, he was the Packers’ most consistent rusher on Sunday, notching a team high five QB hits. Another guy who got more PT with Perry out and did something with it.
Nagging Injuries Disappearing?
A couple guys seem to be playing better lately than they have all year. Those guys are cornerbacks Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins. I can’t say for sure, but it seems like they were sent out on the field before they were fully healthy and they have really only become healthy and rounded back into form in the past two or three weeks. There have been times when both guys have been downright terrible this season. We haven’t seen that same level of terrible play from the secondary at all lately. Maybe it’s not health related. Maybe it was preparation or rust or communication-related. I don’t know, but the secondary doesn’t appear to be the liability it once was this season. That bodes well for a strong finish.