Russell Wilson, Seahawks Beat Aaron Rodgers, Packers to Keep Playoff Hopes AliveNovember 16, 2018
The Seattle Seahawks rallied to pull out a 27-24 victory over the Green Bay Packers at CenturyLink Field on Thursday night.
Russell Wilson led the way for Seattle with 225 yards and two touchdowns.
Aaron Rodgers had 332 yards and two touchdowns in a losing effort for Green Bay, while Davante Adams posted 10 catches for 166 yards.
Seahawks' Running Game Key to Success
It wasn't the easiest of nights for Wilson, but fortunately for him, his running game stepped up to carry the offense.
The duo of second-year back Chris Carson (17 carries for 83 yards) and rookie Rashaad Penny (eight carries for 46 yards) helped take the pressure off Wilson, who was sacked three times. The team's ability to pick up yards in chunks (4.9 yards per carry) helped the team overcome the fact Wilson averaged just 7.3 yards per pass attempt.
This was a game Seattle needed to have. Clinging to a three-point lead late in the fourth quarter, keeping Rodgers off the field was top priority. With Carson and Co. moving the ball at will, milking the clock proved no problem.
Just more than four minutes to play and the Packers having just one timeout, the Seahawks imposed their will on the ground to secure the victory. Mike Davis (who had just one carry to that point) picked up 16 yards on three carries, while Wilson picked up a first down himself on an eight-yard keeper. That combination made it so Seattle never had to sweat giving Rodgers the ball back.
In the end, Carson and nearly Penny outrushed Green Bay (48 rushing yards) themselves.
This performance wasn't just a one-time thing, though, as ESPN Stats & Info points out:
ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo
The Seahawks have rushed for 150+ yards in 7 straight games, tied for the 3rd-longest streak in the last 40 seasons. That rushing attack helped Russell Wilson finish his 21st career game-winning drive in the 4th quarter/OT, 2nd-most in the NFL since 2012. Matt Stafford has 26. https://t.co/4voCIhbbFi
Wilson came up clutch and made throws when he needed to, but without a strong running game, the Seahawks would not have had much of a chance to win this contest.
Packers Exposed as Playoff Pretenders
Green Bay needed a win Thursday night to try and keep pace with the rest of the NFC contenders, sitting a game back in the win column of the sixth seed.
Well, not only did the Packers not get that victory, but they allowed one of the teams behind them to jump them in the standings. At this point in the season, that could prove costly.
The Packers have now lost three of their last four games, with two of those losses coming to the hands of the Los Angeles Rams (9-1) and the New England Patriots (7-3). Three of their losses have come by just one possession. This team may not be far off from being right in the thick of things, but in the NFL, results are all that matter.
Coming off a 31-12 victory over the Miami Dolphins last week, Green Bay had a golden opportunity to build some momentum for the stretch run. Instead, the Packers continued a troubling trend that has been present all season—they have yet to win back-to-back games through the first 11 weeks.
More glaringly: The Packers are 0-5 on the road this season. Getting to the playoffs would be nearly impossible if they can't find a way to win away from Lambeau.
Green Bay does not exactly have a gauntlet of a schedule the rest of the way, with games against the Arizona Cardinals (2-7), the New York Jets (3-7) and the Detroit Lions (3-6, with a win over the Packers) still remaining. However, contests against the Minnesota Vikings (5-3-1), the Atlanta Falcons (4-5) and the Chicago Bears (6-3) are still on the slate.
But considering half of this team's victories have come against the Buffalo Bills (3-7) and the San Francisco 49ers (2-8), there's plenty of reason for Packers fans to be concerned.
Aaron Rodgers' Heroics Being Wasted in Disappointing Season in Green Bay
If the Packers have any hope of salvaging their season, it will be up to Rodgers.
But judging by Thursday night, even he may not be able to do the job single-handedly.
Green Bay entered the game ranked 14th in rushing and tied for 16th in scoring defense. Meanwhile, Rodgers ranked sixth in passing heading into the night, proving once again that he's among the league's best quarterbacks.
Rodgers was forced to be nearly perfect, and for the most part, he was (21-of-30 passing, zero interceptions). He helped the Packers seize an early 14-3 lead by showing why he has two NFL MVP awards:
It's that type of improvisation that makes No. 12 such a nightmare for opposing defenses.
But he wasn't done. When his defense surrendered the lead by allowing back-to-back touchdowns late in the first half, Rodgers had an answer. The six-time Pro Bowler led his team on a 75-yard drive in just five plays to regain momentum heading into the locker room.
Then there was a clutch deep ball on third down that ultimately helped the Packers extend their lead in the second half:
There's just no way to stop that.
With those two long dimes, Rodgers joined some exclusive company, per ESPN Stats & Info:
In the end, though, Rodgers just couldn't do enough to carry his team to victory. The ground game's struggles (48 rushing yards on 3.7 yards per attempt) and the special teams (Mason Crosby missed a field goal) leaving points on the field proved to be too much to overcome.
Rodgers, 34, may not have many more prime years left, and unfortunately for the Packers, they are not taking advantage of his prime right now. Thursday night's effort was just the latest example.
Green Bay (4-5-1) will remain on the road for an NFC North battle against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday Night Football on Nov. 25, while Seattle (5-5) will head to Charlotte, North Carolina, for a clash with the Carolina Panthers in Week 12.
This article will be updated to provide more information soon.
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