Dec 28, 2014; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers wide receiverJordy Nelson
(87) during the game against the Detroit Lions at Lambeau Field. Green Bay won 30-20. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Yards after catch
To me, this probably ends up as the most important element of the game.
Lacy running takes some pressure off of here, slowing Lynch likely keeps the score lower, and keeping the ball will give them more opportunities, but all those previous points mean nothing if Green Bay cannot impact the game here.
It works in their favor that the Packers have been strong at this skill as a unit since way back in the Brett Favre heydays here, but games like this are where extending plays is not just handy, but required.
It won’t be easy; not only are Seattle’s defensive guys great in coverage, but they can pursue just as well. Sherman, Thomas, Chancellor, K.J. Wright, Bobby Wagner…the list goes on for days. Somehow, the Packers’ guys will have to break away and push for extra yardage against this stellar group.
January 10, 2015; Seattle, WA, USA; Carolina Panthers running backJonathan Stewart
(28) is brought down by Seattle Seahawks middle linebacker Bobby Wagner (54) during the first half in the 2014 NFC Divisional playoff football game at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Don’t count them out at all.
Jordy Nelson is a big-play guy who absolutely loves playing against guys that get up close and physical; in many cases he uses that against his opponents to make crucial deep grabs and break away, which is exactly what he’ll be needed to do here.
Randall Cobb has also proven to be a great option underneath and in the mid-range who can pull away with his speed there too. He’ll line up anywhere on the field and find some hole in a zone or manage to pull away from man coverage juuuuuuust enough for Rodgers to find him in a perfect moment.
There’s even an exciting new prospect for this as well after last week’s showing: Davante Adams. If you want to see the exact thing people talk about with WAC, go back to his two big plays versus Dallas. First, he made a catch, pushed away a defender, then cut all the way around and across the field for a touchdown. Then later on, he made a clutch grab and completely threw a guy off himself before running for even more yardage.
If Adams can pull off a redux of one of those moves this weekend, it’ll be a godsend that could pop the cork on that welded-shut scoring defense of Seattle (about 8 ppg allowed in since last loss). If he – or Nelson, or Cobb – can do so, they may get to put Seattle in an area the defense actually has struggled some: the red-zone.
Jan 11, 2015; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams (17) gets away from Dallas Cowboys free safetyJ.J. Wilcox
(27) to score a touchdown in the third quarter in the 2014 NFC Divisional playoff football game at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Based on DVOA statistics, despite all the great defensive hallmarks they achieve, somehow the Seahawks are 28th in the red-zone area. Now, this has been a problem at times for Green Bay on offense, but they still managed to be a top-10 DVOA red-zone offensive group on the season, so it would appear they get to have an elusive clear advantage to work with.
With their great WR corps and emerging tight end strength in close quarters (Quarless and Richard Rodgers each had a TD catch against Dallas), Green Bay could really put the heat on Seattle.
Making an impact with Yards After Catch can go a long way to putting them into that situation often enough to hopefully pull out the victory.
Next: Concluding Thoughts