Friday, January 11, 2008
Green Bay, WI - The Packers were the team that was supposed to have the resurgent running game and the never-ending stable of quality wide receivers. It was the Seahawks, on Saturday afternoon, that proved people wrong with a surprisingly strong running game to compliment their potent passing attack.
Shaun Alexander combined with Maurice Morris and fullback Leonard Weaver to pile up 165 yards rushing, much of it coming when the Seahawks had spread the Packers out with their multiple wide receiver sets. Alexander shocked the Lambeau Field crowd by capping the opening Seahawks drive with a 38-yard scamper on a 2nd & 7 draw play.
Alexander finished with 95 yards and two touchdowns in a performance that is sure to quiet some critics for at least a little while.
The Seahawks quick start seemed to cause the Packers to tighten up, as they appeared overmatched from the beginning. Deon Grant and Lofa Tatupu delivered big hits on the Packers first two series that set the early tone. It wasn't until Brett Favre led a late TD drive in the second quarter, to make the score 17-10, that the team appeared to start playing their best football.
Seattle closed the first half with a 47-yard Josh Brown field goal to regain momentum as they went into the locker room ahead 20-10.
The second half started quickly as the Packers scored on a 65-yard touchdown pass to Greg Jennings on the opening possession to draw within three. The teams traded field goals before closing with a pair of touchdowns.
Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck did plenty to erase the memory of his infamous overtime interception against the Packers in 2003. He outplayed his mentor in a nearly flawless game that saw him completing passes to eight different receivers for nearly 300 yards. His 20-yard strike to Deion Branch was the first of many frustrating moments for the Packers secondary that never found an answer for the Seahawks four wide receiver sets.
The Seahawks now await the winner of the Giants/Cowboys matchup on Sunday. A Giants victory would mean Seattle would host its second NFC Championship game in three years.