Seattle Seahawks vs. Green Bay Packers: Winners & Losers
Wow, that was weird!
To be honest, I'm still not sure what happened, but brace yourselves for a full firestorm about the replacement referees and a lot of hand wringing this week after the Seahawks escaped with a dramatic, if not highly controversial, 14-12 win against the Packers on Monday Night Football.
Afterwards I think we can all agree on two things:
1. The replacement refs need to go.
2. The 'Hawks need to take this win and run.
Even before the final play, this game was bizarre, especially when judging winners and losers, but let's try to take a look and see if we can draw any conclusions...
Winner: Russell Wilson
Russell Wilson was a winner on Monday night, but just barely.
The performance he turned in was uneven at best, but he made plays when it counted.
For this week we will have to settle for the old saying, "It's better to be lucky, than good."
To be honest, though, 10-for-21 passing for 130 yards with two touchdowns is passable if those were Wilson's numbers from the first half instead of the entire game.
Yes, Wilson made some really nice throws including his first touchdown toss to Golden Tate and a beauty to Sidney Rice in crunch time, but for the 'Hawks to take off they will need Wilson to be both lucky and good and avoid taking 19-yard sacks deep in his own territory or nearly throwing fourth-quarter interceptions.
Loser: Matt Flynn
But hey, it could be worse...for Matt Flynn, at least in terms of his professional career, this had to be the longest week of his life.
To find yourself on the bench your with former team coming to town for Monday Night Football after signing a free-agent deal that arguably offered you the best opportunity to play has to be frustrating, but to have Russell Wilson further establish himself as the starter by winning really has to hurt.
Leading up to the game, late last week Flynn had this to say about the situation:
"It's not my decision to make," Flynn said. "I'm proud of the way that I've played and I've picked everything up and how I've handled coming into a new situation. I can't control anything. I'm just trying to make the team better and make myself better, and stay confident."
What else can he say at this point?
Winner: Golden Tate
With Golden Tate it's all about perspective.
So far this season Tate has had a habit of either being in the right place at the wrong time or the wrong place at the right time.
For Seahawk fans he's quickly emerged as a bit of a cult hero, for fans outside the Pacific Northwest he's become a lightning rod for controversy.
The good: two touchdowns including a 41-yard catch that gave the 'Hawks a 7-0 lead on a brilliant double move against Tramon Williams to earn his first touchdown on the night.
The bad: the drop right after the two-minute warning on what should have been an easy touchdown that seemingly ended the game for the 'Hawks.
The ugly? Managing to sell a Hail Mary pass from Russell Wilson to get the win.
Say what you want about Tate, but he certainly has a knack this season for making things entertaining...
Winner: The Pass Rush
Speaking of entertaining, how exactly did the pass rush sack Aaron Rodgers eight times in the first half?
By halftime Chris Clemons had four, his protege Bruce Irvin had two and even Brandon Mebane got two of his own (although the one was kind of comical given all he needed to do was sit on Rodgers after he slipped).
This is what we had been hoping to see for ages from this group and they managed to pressure Rodgers and actually had something to show for it while they kept the Packers off the score board for the first 30 minutes.
But what happened in the second half?
Naturally the Packers adjusted, but the Seahawks suddenly couldn't get much of anything and Rodgers managed to get into a rhythm, which, coupled with all of the pass interference calls, made the second half frustrating to watch on both sides of the ball.
Winner: The Defense
Still, if I told you that the 'Hawks defense would limit the Packers to 12 points and sack Aaron Rodgers eight times while limiting him to 223 yards with no touchdowns before the game, there isn't a fan in all of Seattle who would find fault with such a performance.
Sure there were some questionable, if not costly, penalties with the ones by Kam Chancellor and Bobby Wagner topping my list, but amidst the anarchy and chaos the 'Hawks defense got the job done with their patented bend, but don't break approach.
Loser: Russell Okung
On the other side of the ball the 'Hawks offensive line managed to turn in a decent, but far from noteworthy performance as Wilson was only sacked once (but almost twice) and Marshawn Lynch nearly reached the 100-yard mark, but generally speaking this group didn't set the tone in the same way they did last week against Dallas.
Meanwhile, with each passing week it gets harder and harder to defend Russell Okung's performance or lack thereof.
When you add this performance to his resume along with his lackluster play in Week 1 against Arizona and couple that with being out last week against Dallas, it makes you wonder...
A false start here, a critical holding penalty there and basically letting Clay Matthews have his way all night leaves me with more questions about the "cornerstone" left tackle with the first being, "Will he ever live up to the hype of being a high first-round draft pick and help anchor the 'Hawks line?"
I know I keep picking on this group, but the receivers still leave me skeptical.
While it's nice to see that Golden Tate is getting Russell Wilson's attention, Zach Miller was the only other pass-catcher with more than one reception and even then he only had 12 yards on the night.
Is this Wilson's fault, the receivers fault, or both?
Would a healthy Doug Baldwin be of some help?
Whatever happened to Braylon Edwards?
At some point these issues need to be addressed...
Today 'Hawks fans can laugh it up or perhaps turn a blind eye, but this wasn't the kind of game, at least offensively, I'd like to revisit. Although, it's all anyone is going to talk about this week.
The good news is that defense did a solid job of taking on Aaron Rodgers with a bend but don't break approach and held the once vaunted Packers attack to 12 points, but sadly the 'Hawks could only counter with 14 points of their own.
This week that's good enough, but in the weeks to come it probably won't cut it. Next week the Seahawks will venture to St. Louis to face the 1-2 Rams, but need to be careful of falling into the trap of underestimating their opponent.
On paper it's a game the 'Hawks should win and that's what scares me.
Luck favored the 'Hawks this week, but against the Rams we will need to see more from this offense than just Marshawn Lynch plugging away towards the 100-yard mark while Russell Wilson learns on the job.
Yes, it's a formula that's worked so far, but personally I feel the 'Hawks have a chance to experiment a bit in St. Louis by opening up the playbook while the defense holds down the fort.
Not sure if Pete Carroll will take that approach next Sunday, but at some point he will probably need to...