Seahawks’ Grades of the Game: Marshawn Lynch, Legion of Boom, special teams earn A’s
Seahawks Grades of the Game: The remarkable ending raises some low early grades for the Seahawks in their overtime victory over Green Bay.
Seattle Times staff reporter
As he prepared to leave an almost empty locker room, Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman turned and looked at a couple of reporters and smiled.
“Sorry to make it so hard,’’ he said.
Indeed, how do you grade this game? For 57 minutes, it was one of the greatest disappointments in Seattle sports history only to then turn into maybe its greatest moment as the Seahawks rallied for a 28-22 overtime victory over Green Bay in the NFC Championship Game.
But grade we will a game where the fabulous ending colored everything that came before.
Russell Wilson, who entered the game with the highest passer rating in NFL playoff history at 109.6, had a zero rating in the first half as the Seahawks fell behind 16-0. But after starting 2 for 9 with three interceptions, Wilson finished 14 of 29 for 209 yards, including 3 for 3 for 80 yards in overtime. He also played through one of the biggest hits he’s taken in his career, a crushing blow from Green Bay linebacker Clay Matthews. And while he finished with four interceptions, he ultimately led a team to a Super Bowl for the second time in his first three seasons, something no one else has ever done.
Simply put, Marshawn Lynch might have been the best player on the field, rushing for 157 yards on 25 carries and also catching one pass for 26 yards. Seattle had another stellar rushing day with 194 yards (186 in regulation) with just 25 rushing yards coming from Wilson. GRADE:A
Seattle played without right tackle Justin Britt due to a sore knee, with Alvin Bailey stepping in. It was a slog for most of regulation. The Seahawks were held to just 59 yards in the first half, with only 8 passing. Pass protection was an issue all day as Wilson was sacked five times (though on a couple Wilson could have gotten rid of the ball more quickly). GRADE:C+
All of the pedestrian jokes were being lined up early on as Seattle receivers struggled against the largely man-to-man defense of the Packers. Seattle receivers coach Kippy Brown said the Packers were trying to keep everything inside, and the Seahawks didn’t adjust as quickly as needed. But eventually they did, with Doug Baldwin finishing with 106 yards on six catches, and Jermaine Kearse once again being Mr. Clutch. GRADE:B-
Seattle might have been routed early had the defense not stood strong in the first quarter to hold Green Bay out of the end zone on possessions that reached the 1-yard line, forcing field goals each time. The line never let the Packers take control up front, despite Green Bay’s commitment to the run. Michael Bennett again came up big. The pass rush, though, wasn’t great — Aaron Rodgers was sacked just once. That came from Cliff Avril, who had two of Seattle’s six quarterback hits. GRADE:B+
Big games for Bobby Wagner (10 tackles) and K.J. Wright (six tackles and a pass defense), and they were equally big in containing the Packers early. Green Bay had five possessions that reached the Seattle 33 in the first half but just 16 points. GRADE:B+
This area featured some of the gutsiest play ever seen. Earl Thomas played through a shoulder injury suffered in the first half, and Sherman suffered a hyperextended elbow. Thomas’ hit with a wrapped-up shoulder on the first play of the third quarter sent a message that the Seahawks weren’t going down easily. And if anyone had any reason to question Sherman’s toughness — or commitment to the game — the sight of him playing with one arm should answer it forever. Before getting hurt, Sherman turned in an early key play with an interception in the end zone. Byron Maxwell also had an interception at a time when the game seemed to be slipping away. As a whole, this was a typical Seattle secondary performance with the Packers getting no gain longer than 23 yards. GRADE:A
Two big plays stood out here: 1) The fake field goal turned touchdown pass from punter Jon Ryan to Garry Gilliam; 2) the onside kick recovered by Chris Matthews. The onside kick recovery was Seattle’s first since an Oct. 4, 2009 game at Indianapolis. There were a few tough moments early, such as Baldwin’s fumble of a kickoff return. But, as with the rest of the game, what an ending. GRADE:A