In a NFC Divisional playoff game that started off as a Seattle Seahawks blowout, ended with the same team from the Northwest getting blown out. Led by a running game that saw Ryan Grant start with two fumbles and end with 201 yards on the ground, the Packers are on their way to the NFC Title game for the first time since their last Super Bowl season in 1997 with a 42-20 win. They will take on either a Cowboys team they have not beaten in the playoff since 1967, or a Giants club they have not played in the postseason since 1962.
Saturday in a snow-filled Lambeau Field, the Packers fell behind 14-0 just five minutes in after a pair of Grant fumbles that led to two quick Seahawks scores. From there they dominated, outscoring the Hawks the rest of the way 42-6 over the last three and a half quarters. They did it with a defense that didn’t give up much in the snow, and a grind-it-out offense that opened up holes for Grant and after he finally shook off the nerves, he took total advantage of it.
Green Bay scored on six consecutive possessions after falling behind, with QB Brett Favre hitting Greg Jennings from 15 yards out with 7:13 left in the first quarter to make it 14-7. After a Seahawks punt, Favre and Grant went to work, with the back going for 49 yards, with runs in there of 26 and 15, and he capped off the drive with the first of his 3 TD’s as he tied the game with a 1-yard run to make it 14-14 with 1:06 left in the first quarter.
The Hawks fumbled on their next possession as Marcus Pollard, who had an awful day in the snow, caught a pass in the flat then was hit and dropped it for a fumble at the Hawks 18. Two plays later the Pack took their first lead and a lead they would never lose. Favre again hit Jennings, this time from two yards out to make it 21-14. Seattle did comeback on their next possession, as they ran off 11 plays in just over 6 minutes in a drive that ended with a Josh Brown 29-yard field goal to make it 21-17.
Green Bay salted away the game for all intensive purposes, as they took the kickoff and went 70 yards with Favre hitting five of 8 passes in getting the Packers into range as he hit Donald Lee for 11 yards to set up Grants second TD, this one from 3 yards out to make it 28-17 with :30 left in the first half. It was a back breaking drive, as they took off 6:52 of the second quarter clock, and scored a huge TD that made it an 11-point game at the half.
If there was any doubt about the outcome of this contest, it was over when Green Bay scored on their first possession of the third quarter after Seattle went three-and-out. Favre hit Jennings for 24 yards and Grant sprinted for 24 yards to get the Pack in range, and Favre hit Brandon Jackson from 13 yards out on a flare out to give Green Bay a 35-17 lead with 10:32 left in the third quarter. The only scoring after that was another Brown field goal to make it 35-20, then a Grant third TD with 13:30 left in the fourth quarter to make it the final of 42-20.
The game was supposed to come down to if the Packers offense could move on the physical Seattle defense, and they did it with ease. They put up 400 yards with 34 minutes of possession, and dominated the game from the moment they went down 14-0. Seattle could really do nothing right after building the lead, as they ran for just 28 yards all day, and had 200 total offensive yards and 26 minutes of possession.
This game was supposed to be different for the Hawks, who talked about pressuring Favre, stopping the Packers running game, and holding the ball and putting up yards with their West coast offense. Nothing worked. While their offense was stuck in the snow, the Packers did basically whatever they wanted. One stat to look at was third downs, where the Pack was 7-of-10, while the Hawks, a big issue all season, was 3-for-11.
Green Bay has now won 14 games in this magical season. Whether it’s in Dallas next weekend, or at home vs the Giants, this group of cheeseheads is not going to go down without a big fight. They will be tough to bet against the way they played today against a Seattle team that many felt was going to score the upset.