Jan 18, 2015; Seattle, WA, USA; Green Bay Packers free safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (21) returns an interception ahead of Seattle Seahawks wide receiverJermaine Kearse
(15) during the second quarter in the NFC Championship Game at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
While the aftermath leaves much to be desired for Packers fans, there are some bright spots that can be looked back on from this game.
Jan 18, 2015; Seattle, WA, USA; Green Bay Packers strong safetyMorgan Burnett
(42) celebrates his fourth quarter interception withTramon Williams
(38) against the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC Championship Game at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
Beating The Odds
That seems silly after the odds backfired on Green Bay toward the end, but if you can remember back to before kickoff this team was given practically zero shot at an upset victory.
To have been able to go into Seattle and come out just two minutes away from a stunning victory is commendable.
Once the pain subsides some more, maybe that point will mean more than it does now.
A massive weakness as recently as last season, this spot looks to be set for years to come.
Burnett ended a strong year with 10 tackles, 2 sacks and that late INT where he took an ill-fated slide.
His fellow starter, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix had a perhaps the more impressive game despite the mishaps at the end; a few tackles to go with a couple INTs.
Those two have made the secondary an overwhelming strength yet again in Green Bay; the day Russell Wilson had until the final couple drives is sufficient evidence.
Turning It Over
January 18, 2015; Seattle, WA, USA; Green Bay Packers cornerback Sam Shields (37) intercepts a pass intended for Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Jermaine Kearse (15) during the first half in the NFC Championship game at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Until right at the end, this defense put up its most impressive effort of the year.
To go with 5 sacks and not allowing any points of their own until the 2:09 mark, they also forced four interceptions on the day.
The special teams also managed to force a fumble during their impressive start to give Green Bay 5 in all.
Against a team that only had 14 giveaways all season, that is downright absurd.
Hopefully Capers’ crew can provide some more of that magic next year.
Unlike Seattle, they did slow toward the end once Seattle realized that’s what they wanted to do. But don’t let that take away from their early and overall gains.
Lacy got a good start and ended with about 70 yards, while James Starks made an appearance with a few explosive runs as well.
On the day, Green Bay managed 30 carries for 135 yards. It may not have led to a win, but their success there early definitely attributed to helping keep what lead they did accumulate, at least for a while.
If they can keep working at this area of their game, we could see them manage to finish off a game of this nature on the ground.
January 18, 2015; Seattle, WA, USA; Green Bay Packers kicker Mason Crosby (2) kicks a field goal against the Seattle Seahawks during the first half in the NFC Championship game at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Mason Crosby has miraculously turned himself from a bumbling mess into a stone-cold kicking assassin in a matter of two seasons.
He continued to live up to the much-improved persona he’s apparently adapted the past two seasons by knocking through a Packers postseason-record five field goals in five tries.
Include his extra point kick, and he was to thank for 16 of Green Bay’s 22 total points.
While McCarthy and Co. may be receiving plenty of criticism for being overly conservative, maybe part of that came from the belief and comfort of having a great kicker to fall back on whenever a drive stalled out.