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Aaron Rodgers, Packers Edge Russell Wilson, Seahawks; Advance to NFC Title Game

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistJanuary 13, 2020

Green Bay Packers' Davante Adams celebrates his touchdown catch with Marquez Valdes-Scantling (83) during the first half of an NFL divisional playoff football game against the Seattle Seahawks Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Darron Cummings/Associated Press

For the first time since 2016, the Green Bay Packers will play for the NFC Championship after knocking off the Seattle Seahawks 28-23 in the divisional round at Lambeau Field on Sunday night.

The Packers earned a first-round bye thanks to five straight wins to end the regular season. They have also won six straight games at home dating back to Week 6.

In a battle between two of the NFL's best quarterbacks, Packers wide receiver Davante Adams stole the show with a franchise-record 160 receiving yards.

Green Bay Packers @packers

.@tae15adams now has 160 receiving yards, a #Packers playoff record. #SEAvsGB | #GoPackGo https://t.co/gV3CcsMCLw

Russell Wilson did everything in his power to carry the Seahawks. The MVP candidate had 277 yards passing and ran for a game-high 64 yards, but it ultimately wasn't enough.

     

Notable Game Stats

  • Aaron Rodgers, QB (GB): 16-27, 243 yards, 2 TD
  • Davante Adams, WR (GB): 8 receptions, 160 yards, 2 TD
  • Aaron Jones, RB (GB): 21 carries, 62 yards, 2 TD
  • Jimmy Graham, TE (GB): 3 receptions, 49 yards
  • Russell Wilson, QB (SEA): 21-31, 277 yards, 1 TD; 7 carries, 64 yards
  • Tyler Lockett, WR (SEA): 9 receptions, 136 yards, 1 TD
  • Marshawn Lynch, RB (SEA): 12 carries, 26 yards, 2 TD

     

Packers Ride Big Plays to Victory

There were understandable concerns about the Packers offense coming into the playoffs. The team didn't score more than 23 points in each of its last four games of the regular season. Rodgers completed just 27 of 55 attempts in Week 17 against a Detroit Lions secondary that allowed the most passing yards per game.

Green Bay wasted no time putting those concerns to rest with a 75-yard scoring drive on the first possession of the game. Aaron Jones started things off with a 23-yard run to set the tone. Rodgers and Adams hooked up twice, including on the touchdown from 20 yards out.

NFL @NFL

The @packers strike first! @AaronRodgers12 finds @tae15adams for the score. #GoPackGo #NFLPlayoffs 📺: #SEAvsGB on FOX 📱: NFL app // Yahoo Sports app Watch free on mobile: https://t.co/8lgzlFahDc https://t.co/2ztdI7dQuh

Adams proved to be a huge difference in the game against a Seattle secondary that gave up 263.9 passing yards per game. He found the end zone from 40 yards out by running away from Tre Flowers after making a catch.

NFL @NFL

.@Tae15Adams just gets open. 40-yard TD on the throw from @AaronRodgers12! #GoPackGo #NFLPlayoffs 📺: #SEAvsGB on FOX 📱: NFL app // Yahoo Sports app Watch free on mobile: https://t.co/8lgzlFahDc https://t.co/0xS53XExYf

Matt Schneidman @mattschneidman

The #Packers might not have Davante Adams next week if they win tonight because he's gonna be arrested for that crime he just committed on Tre Flowers.

ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo

After that last pass TD to Davante Adams...Aaron Rodgers now sits at 38 career pass TD in the playoffs, 1 behind Brett Favre for most in Packers history. https://t.co/tmcYkHwL1G

Even when the Packers were struggling to score down the stretch in the regular season, Adams was a constant source of good for the team. He had at least seven receptions, 13 targets and 93 yards in each of the final three games coming into the postseason.

Adams nearly hit two of those marks in the first half against the Seahawks and was getting separation with ease:

Ryan Wood @ByRyanWood

Aaron Rodgers in first half: 10-15, 120 yards, 113.2 rating. Davante Adams: 6 catches, 88 yards, TD. Aaron Jones: 13 carries, 46 yards, 2 TDs. #Packers' triplets are making plays.

Next Gen Stats @NextGenStats

Davante Adams has been Aaron Rodgers' go-to receiver tonight, accounting for 68% of the @packers team air yards and this 40-yard TD. @tae15adams has had little trouble getting open—Adams has had 3+ yards of separation on 7 of 8 targets (season-high 88%). #SEAvsGB | #GoPackGo https://t.co/JgeMAXTebj

Tight ends had a field day going up against Seattle's defense this season. It allowed 106 receptions, 1,216 yards and six touchdowns to players at the position in 2019, per CBSSports.com.

Jimmy Graham didn't have a huge day overall, but he found an opening for a 27-yard gain in the third quarter that helped set up Adams' second touchdown catch two plays later.

NFL @NFL

.@AaronRodgers 🎯🎯🎯 Pinpoint pass to @TheJimmyGraham for 27 yards. #NFLPlayoffs #GoPackGo 📺: #SEAvsGB on FOX 📱: NFL app // Yahoo Sports app Watch free on mobile: https://t.co/8lgzlFahDc https://t.co/Ks9zZsaVzF

The middle of the field was huge for Rodgers throughout the game. After Seattle cut the deficit to 28-23 early in the fourth quarter, the two-time NFL MVP found Geronimo Allison for a huge third-down conversion that allowed them to take three minutes off the clock.

Rodgers went back to Adams and Graham for two huge third-down conversions on the final drive that allowed them to run out the clock.

NFL @NFL

Aaron Rodgers. Bad man. #GoPackGo #NFLPlayoffs 📺: #SEAvsGB on FOX 📱: NFL app // Yahoo Sports app Watch free on mobile: https://t.co/8lgzlFahDc https://t.co/IRGGyOJ3v7

The 49ers dominated Green Bay 37-8 when these two teams played at Levi's Stadium on Nov. 24. The Packers had season-lows with 198 total yards and 81 passing yards in that game.

If this version of Rodgers and the Packers show up next week, it has the ability to cause a lot of problems for a San Francisco defense that's coming off a dominant performance against the Minnesota Vikings.

     

Russell Wilson Dazzles as Seahawks Come Up Short

The Seahawks' formula for success in 2019 has been keeping games close until the fourth quarter, at which point Wilson takes over.

There was a brief moment when it seemed like Seattle's magic had run out when the Packers scored on three consecutive drives between the second and third quarters to take a 28-10 lead. The defense wasn't getting stops, so how could Wilson do his thing?

The answer, it turns out, was the Seahawks would simply steal a page from Green Bay's book. They had their own run of three straight touchdown drives to start the second half. Wilson anchored things with his arm and legs.

NFL @NFL

Russell Wilson making plays out of nothing. #Seahawks #NFLPlayoffs 📺: #SEAvsGB on FOX 📱: NFL app // Yahoo Sports app Watch free on mobile: https://t.co/8lgzlFahDc https://t.co/G260DV3UFo

Seattle Seahawks @Seahawks

There we go! @TDLockett12 adds 6️⃣ to the score. #GoHawks x #SEAvsGB https://t.co/28wIeRE1eS

Seattle was able to cut the deficit to 28-23 early in the fourth quarter on Marshawn Lynch's second touchdown of the game.

NFL @NFL

BEASTMODE. @MoneyLynch's second TD pulls the @Seahawks within five! #NFLPlayoffs #Seahawks 📺: #SEAvsGB on FOX 📱: NFL app // Yahoo Sports app Watch free on mobile: https://t.co/8lgzlFahDc https://t.co/4ZVIY28nbs

Wilson accounted for 68 of the Seahawks' 79 yards on that scoring drive, which didn't include one third-down attempt.

Ryan Clark @Realrclark25

Don’t care! Russell Wilson is not paid enough!

Geoff Schwartz @geoffschwartz

Russell Wilson looks tired. I wonder why https://t.co/kpQzKDI3Ex

Aaron Boone @AaronBoone

Russell Wilson is an absolute magician. #NFLDivisionalRound

Head coach Pete Carroll opted to go for two, but Jaire Alexander sacked Wilson to keep it a five-point game. The Seahawks did get the ball back at their own 23-yard line with 4:54 remaining and a chance to take the lead.

When the Packers sacked Wilson on 3rd-and-5 to bring up a fourth down from the Seahawks' 36, Carroll opted to punt the ball away. That would be the last time his offense touched the ball.

Seattle's play-calling was subject to heavy scrutiny, particularly its reliance on the run with Wilson at quarterback:

nick wright @getnickwright

Last year, Seattle lost a playoff game to Dallas they should’ve won because they stubbornly kept running the ball. This year, they ran 32 RB handoffs, for a grand total of 58 yards, 1.8 YPC. They have Russell Wilson, and they call games like they have Blake Bortles. Awful.

BUM CHILLUPS @edsbs

Pete Carroll has been coaching for forty-seven years and chose the option of "punt and try to stop Aaron Rodgers from getting two first downs in a playoff game"

Rob Pizzola @robpizzola

Pete Carroll can be furious with the spot but that’s not going to change the fact that he chose to rely on his defense instead of one of the greatest quarterbacks of all-time. That punt was inexcusable.

Jeff Howe @jeffphowe

First down https://t.co/XewNJscUYk

There was a controversial call on Green Bay's final drive when the officials awarded Graham a first down on a 3rd-and-9 play, even though it appeared he was down before getting to the first-down marker.

The booth did review the spot, but the call on the field stood.

Seattle has lived on the edge all season, with 14 of its 18 games, including the playoffs, decided by eight points or less.

More often than not, Wilson has been able to step up in the biggest moments to give his team a win. He nearly did it again, but the Seahawks will have to regroup and prepare for the 2020 season.

     

What's Next?

The Packers will travel to Levi's Stadium for a matchup with the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game on Jan. 19 at 6:40 p.m. ET.

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