Monday, October 06, 2003

Packers 35, Seattle 13. I was thinking this game would be the game that tells me if the Packers are going to compete this year in the NFC, or if it was time to start looking forward to next year. The Packers had some holes, but by the end of the game they were clearly the better team on the field.

First Quarter: The Packers first drive might have had Brett Favre's worst play of the game where he tried to force something downfield on 3rd down that wasn't there. If that is Favre's worst, I will take it every Sunday. Shawn Alexander comes out running and proves that he can run off left tackle anytime he wants. Alexander is one of the best backs in the NFL and LT Walter Jones and LG Steve Hutchinson are two of the best linemen in the NFL too, so Seattle can run off left tackle against any team. The Packers defense can't stop quality running teams, unless they turn the ball over and the Packers are very good at forcing turnovers, and Alexander has his first fumble of the year. It leads to Donald Driver's first touchdown of the year. Seattle answers with its own touchdown drive and the Packers linemen are getting stood up and no one is shedding their blockers. On Maurice Morris's 18 yard run, the left side of the defensive line is blown wide open and Na'il Diggs gets knocked over by a Seattle wideout. Then Alexander runs untouched into the end zone for the touchdown. The only good news is that the Packers run defense improves over the course of the game, although their pass rush never gets on track without blitzing and Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila is being outplayed by some right tackle for Seattle named Matt Hill. On the Packers next drive, Seattle shows the Packers how to play run defense by fighting through their blocks and not allowing Ahman Green a run longer than 5 yards. Packers 7, Seattle 7.

Second Quarter: Fortunately, Seattle can't stop Favre from making completions (all the while Fox's announcers rattle on about a changing of the guard, how Green is the main man and Favre is complementary, right, uh-huh...). Favre's last completion on the drive sets up a 1 yard TD run by Green. Seattle tries to answer right back, but the Packers have figured out how to play run defense. In the first quarter, Seattle rushed for 70 yards, but Seattle will only run for another 58 yards all game. Matt Hasselback responds by connecting up with Koren Robenson and Bobby Ingram to drive to the Packers 10 yard line, but they have to settle for a field goal. By rediscovering their run defense, the Packers changed the tempo of the game from a shoot out to a blow out. On the next drive, the Packers finally start running against Seattle and Green rips off one run of 9 yards and another of 11 yards. Meanwhile, "complementary" Favre keeps completing passes, and now the offense can run and pass when it wants to. Touchdown. Seattle comes back with a mini-drive but they run out of time in the half. Packers defensive coordinator, Ed Donatell, finally gets fed up with the complete absense of a pass rush in the first half, rushes about 8 guys on second down, and DB Michael Hawthorne sacks Hasselbeck to take Seattle out of field goal range. But Seattle's kicker nails a 58 yard field goal anyway. Packers 21, Seattle 13.

Third Quarter: Seattle goes three and out to start the half on three Hasselbeck incompletions and Tom Rouen's lone punt of the game. Then the Packers come out with a balanced attack (run, pass, pass, run, pass, run, pass, run) where Favre completes three passes to three different receivers, and Tony Fisher makes a great touchdown run, jumps into the stands, and gets a beer dumped on him. The rout is on. Seattle responds with a nice drive, mixing up the pass and run and they are successful with both, but all the passes are short and Darren Sharper starts camping in the middle of the field, reading Hasselbeck's eyes, and jumps a short route for an interception. The next Packers' drive is where Seattle's defense gets frustrated. Ken Hamlin gets in Favre's face, Ken Lucas commits a pass interference penalty, and Seattle allows the fifth Packer touchdown on a pass to William Henderson. Packers 35, Seattle 13.

Fourth Quarter: Seattle gets another good drive going but again its all on short plays and takes almost 4 minutes. It would probably have led to another field goal, but Seattle went for it on fourth down at the Packers 9 yard line and Darrell Jackson dropped a touchdown pass (although a declined penalty would have called it back anyway). Then the announcers have to go and announce that Favre has only been sacked once this year, so on the next play he is sacked by his old buddy John Randle. On the final drive, the Packers have the ball for over 5 minutes, Seattle can't stop the run anymore, and Mike Holmgren doesn't use any timeouts and just gets this game over with for Seattle. Packers 35, Seattle 13.

No comments: