January 18, 2015; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks defensive end Cliff Avril (56) sacks Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) during the second half in the NFC Championship game at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
The story that is being told from the NFC Championship game is how poorly the Seattle Seahawks’ offense played for the first 54 minutes of the game. What everyone seems to be missing is just how well Seattle’s defense played for the entire 60 minutes.
Let’s start with a quick quarterback comparison:
Player A: 14/29, 209 yards, 1 TD, 2 int, 55.1 rating
Player B: 19/34, 178 yards, 1 TD, 2 int, 55.7 rating
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Those are almost identical stat lines. Player A is Russell Wilson having what is probably the worst game of his career and if the two passes that hit Kearse in the hands just fell incomplete instead of getting batted up into the air for interceptions. Player B is Aaron Rodgers against Seattle on Sunday.
That really puts things into perspective. What was arguably Wilson’s worst day as a pro was approximately equivalent to the planet’s best QB against Seattle’s defense on Sunday. Even with a pass rush that wasn’t as good as it has been, the Seahawks stifled Green Bay’s passing attack.
It wasn’t just Rodgers either. Eddie Lacy ran the ball 21 times, but only able to pick up 73 yards (3.47 YpC). While Starks did have the one big run in the fourth quarter, the run defense was solid throughout the rest of the game.
The Seahawks gave up only 22 points despite four turnovers by the offense and another on a kick return. Green Bay’s early lead was built primarily on good field position, and not on any true offensive success.
Here is every drive the Packers had in Sunday’s NFC Championship Game:
The Packers only had four drives that were over 50 yards. Those ended in one touchdown, two field goals and an interception. That’s 13 of their 22 points. The other nine points scored by Green Bay on Sunday were gifts because of turnovers.
It should also be noted that the Packers had exactly zero drives that gained 60 yards or more against the Seahawks on Sunday. While it might be easy to attribute that to the fact that Seattle provided the Packers will great field position for most of the game, that would be an incorrect conclusion. There were plenty of opportunities for the Packers to put together long drives, and they simply couldn’t do so.
This defensive performance is made even more impressive once time of possession is considered. While the final numbers are almost equal (32:15 for Green Bay to 31:04 for Seattle), the Packers had most of the game’s possession time through the first three quarters.
The first five Seahawks drives lasted :48, :06, 1:28, 1:42, and :19. That’s five possessions that ate up only 4:23 of the game clock. Seattle’s defense was on the field a lot in this game, and still managed to keep Green Bay’s offense in-check throughout the game.
It really is a shame that Seattle’s offense played so poorly in this game. Had they played only slightly better, then Seattle’s defense would be getting the recognition right now that they very-much deserve.