SEATTLE—The answer should’ve been obvious.
“This is the Seattle Seahawks, a great defense,” Aaron Rodgers said when asked for a reason that would explain the Packers offense’s failures in Thursday’s 36-16 loss. “You don’t expect to move the ball on every drive, but you have to make the most of your opportunities.”
The Packers didn’t make the most of their opportunities, but neither did Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos last February, when Manning was the MVP quarterback of the No. 1 offense in the league.
How good are the Seahawks? Well, in consecutive games – big, high-profile games – the Seahawks have scored wins by a combined 79-24 score, against arguably the two most feared quarterbacks in the league.
Where did the Packers fall short on Thursday?
“On the scoreboard,” Rodgers said, obviously still stinging from three hours of a kind of football to which he is not accustomed. He flashed the reporter a smile.
Rodgers was held under 200 yards passing – 189, to be exact – and to a passer rating beneath than the 90 mark – 81.5, to be exact – and forgive this reporter for not immediately knowing when that combination last happened, but it’s probably accurate to assume it hasn’t happened often since Rodgers rose to the ranks of elite quarterback.
If you had any doubt about the Seahawks’ worth, stop doubting. They’re the real deal.
“They played a couple of defenses. There was a lot of one-high (safety) to get that eighth guy down in the box, and they tackled well to make us drive and go the distance,” Rodgers said.
Translation? The Seahawks don’t scheme you, they hit you.
They have the best cornerback in the league, Richard Sherman, and the Packers more or less confirmed that fact by unofficially not throwing at Sherman once in the whole game. Asked to confirm that fact, Rodgers said: “If we did, it wasn’t that many times.”
The Packers went after the other cornerback, Byron Maxwell, who responded with an interception that helped turn the game in the Seahawks’ favor.
“I missed my spot by a foot,” Rodgers said of a pass that glanced off Jordy Nelson’s outstretched hands.
Yeah, the Seahawks have a powerful defense that denies both run and pass, and this wasn’t just another offense they were denying. This was an offense with Rodgers and Eddie Lacy that cuts through most defenses with ease, just as Manning and the Broncos had last season, until they ran into the Seahawks.
There’s more. The Seahawks aren’t just a team that plays nasty defense. They also play a rare kind of offense. They play a college-like offense but with professional-like precision.
Russell Wilson ran plays from the spread. He ran bootlegs and froze defensive backs with his play fakes. His favorite receiver, Percy Harvin, specialized in the very college-like jet sweep, and when the Seahawks weren’t creating space with all of that razzle dazzle, they were pounding Marshawn Lynch the old-fashioned way, between the tackles.
Wilson may not be an elite pro-like quarterback, but he’s just the kind of quarterback Coach Pete Carroll wants running his offense. Wilson is a do-it-all quarterback, and he plays with a unique flair that plays to the Seahawks’ unique strengths.
“Those guys come up and make tackles,” Rodgers said.
In today’s NFL, something as simple as making tackles is, in fact, unique. It’s how the Seahawks play, which is to say with an easy-to-understand but difficult-to-defeat execution of the basic art of physical dominance.
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