ReFo: Packers @ Seahawks, NFC Championship
Quite simply one of the greatest comebacks in NFL history and one of the wildest playoff games you’ll ever see. The Seahawks were down 19-7 when they got the ball at their own their own 31 with 3:52 remaining. From then on, one team played to win while the other played not to lose and the inevitable happened as the Seahawks came all the way back for the 28-22 overtime win.
Unless you were living under a rock, you know all the craziness that went into this one ending up a Seahawks victory. So without further ado, let’s dive right into the performances that shaped the NFC title game into the epic contest that it was.
Green Bay Packers – Performances of Note
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S: +2.1
Breakdown: No defender was directly involved in as many big plays as Clinton-Dix was on Sunday. The safety showed off his playmaking ability for the first time with a couple of interceptions to go along with multiple plays in the run game. On the flip side he also botched his coverage on the Seahawks two-point conversion and dropped another very easy pick midway through the fourth quarter. The big play ability is a terrific sign going forward for the young safety; it’s just unfortunate that his rookie mistakes had to come when it mattered most.
Signature Play: His one-handed interception in the second quarter was a thing of beauty. It’s difficult to come away from that game and not focus on what the safety was trying to do when he horribly misplayed a jump ball to Luke Willson on the Seahawks’ successful two-point conversion late in the fourth quarter.
Josh Sitton, LG: +3.7
Breakdown: The top performer on an offensive line that put together one of the most impressive pass blocking performances you’ll ever see. As a whole, they yielded just four total pressures on the day while Sitton himself didn’t give up any. The left guard was equally superb on the ground as Packers’ running backs carried the ball 13 times in his gaps and gained 76 yards on those carries.
Signature Play: Sitton’s reach block on a slanting O’Brien Schofield was the crucial block on James Starks’ 32-yard run on the first play of the fourth quarter.
Green Bay’s Run Defense: -21.5
Breakdown: Breaking the usual mold here as no poor performance stood out above the rest, but Green Bay’s putrid run defense had to garner some mention. Mike Daniels, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, and Tramon Williams were the only Packers to grade positively, albeit barely, against the run, while nine different players had grades lower than -1.0. The Packers outside linebackers were especially victimized. They combined for seven missed tackles and once again looked lost at times defending the read-option. The most obvious was case was Mike Neal getting frozen in place on Russell Wilson’s 1-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter.
Signature Stat: Josh Boyd was the only member of the front seven to see snaps and not miss a tackle.
Seattle Seahawks – Performances of Note
Marshawn Lynch, RB: +4.7
Breakdown: It was the type of performance that makes you want to start tracking fourth-quarter comebacks as a stat for running backs. Russell Wilson may have won the game in overtime, but Lynch was the sole reason the Seahawks even made it that far. Lynch broke an unbelievable 15 tackles on the day and averaged 4.4 yards after contact per attempt. The amazing part was that he did it all with completely average blocking in front of him (-1.4 team run blocking grade). The run game truly was all Lynch on Sunday.
Signature Play: Lynch’s go-ahead touchdown with 1:33 in the fourth quarter was vintage Beast Mode. Three separate Packers got their hands on the running back, but none so much as slowed him down as he ripped through for the 24-yard score.
Russell Wilson, QB: -2.1
Breakdown: Seattle fans will forgive Wilson’s absolute disaster of a game because of his two perfectly thrown balls in overtime, but his grade still reflects the fact that Wilson dug them in a large hole to begin with. Two of his picks were completely inexcusable forced throws (Clinton-Dix: Q2, 9:37 and Shields: Q2, 2:00), while the other two were on target passes that took unlucky bounces off Jermaine Kearse. Wilson added another interception-worthy throw that was dropped by Clinton-Dix midway through the fourth, but from that point on he was absolutely superb in the Seahawks comeback.
Signature Play: What else but the game-winner? A 35-yard strike on a post route with Tramon Williams in Jermaine Kearse’s back pocket. The window was tiny, but Wilson found a way to sneak it in there for the win.
K.J. Wright, OLB: +4.2
Breakdown: The co-defensive MVP for this game along with Richard Sherman (+2.3). Wright played flawlessly outside of a single missed tackle. The linebacker made four stops against the run and added another in coverage. He was targeted three times on the day and allowed a single catch for five yards.
Signature Play: There are a handful of plays you can point to and say if they didn’t make that play, the Seahawks couldn’t have come back. Wright’s pass break up on third down with 5:26 left in the fourth quarter certainly qualifies as one of them.
PFF Game Ball
This one goes to Marshawn Lynch and it’s not even close.
Follow Mike on Twitter: @PFF_MikeRenner