SEATTLE – Two of the best quarterbacks in the NFL went at it Thursday night and it was a match-up worth watching.
Both Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers had great moments and head-scratching moments during the 27-24 Seattle victory over Green Bay.
Here are five things we learned, starting with the QBs:
No one is perfect
Rodgers had some typical wow plays we’ve become accustomed to seeing from him. The biggest was a scramble to his right in the first quarter when he launched a 54-yard touchdown pass to tight end Robert Tonyan, who was racing down the middle of the field and caught the perfect throw at the 1.
Rodgers also had a 57-yard completion to Davante Adams in the fourth quarter. What’s amazing about Rodgers is his ability to throw deep balls accurately off his back foot while being pressured.
However, in the end, Rodgers proved he’s mortal. On a third-and-2 at the Green Bay 33, Rodgers saw Marquez Valdes-Scantling open in the right flat for what would have been a first down, but Rodgers threw the ball into the turf. He later said the ball got stuck in his hand.
Wilson started the game the way Rodgers ended it. Wilson had a few wildly inaccurate throws, including one in the first quarter that may have been the worst pass of his career.
Doug Baldwin was all alone in the middle of the end zone on a second-and-12 at the Green Bay 21 when Wilson’s throw sailed behind Baldwin and about 10 feet over his head.
“Sometimes you shoot and miss,’’ Wilson said. “The ball bounces off the rim, but you just keep shooting. I know what I’m capable of. You stay the course.”
He did and it worked. As he has done so many times in his career, Wilson led the Seahawks on a game-winning 75-yard touchdown drive in the fourth quarter. It included two deep throws to Tyler Lockett, one for 18 yards and one for 35 yards, before the 15-yard TD pass to tight end Ed Dickson on a vertical throw to the goal line.
Utah State linebackers put on a show
Bobby Wagner and Kyler Fackrell were the two best linebackers on the field. Both played college ball at Utah State.
Wagner is considered one of the best, if not the best, middle linebacker in the game. Fackrell is just starting to show how good he can be. Wagner had a team-best nine tackles for the Seahawks, including a bone-jarring hit on an Aaron Jones run up the middle in the second quarter.
Fackrell had three sacks and another tackle in the backfield for Green Bay.
Wagner noticed: “I said on the sideline, ‘Man, y’all are letting Utah State be all over the field.’ He was a freshman my last year. You could tell then what he was gonna do.”
Time to pay Frank Clark
Two more sacks for Clark Thursday give him 10 in 11 games, tying his career high. He has 29 sacks in the last three seasons, but this is his first year as a full-time starter.
He’s in the last year of his rookie contract, so it is great timing. The Seahawks should sign Clark to a multi-year deal before the season ends. That could mean that Clark gets the money the team needs to re-sign linebacker K.J. Wright. If it’s one or the other, Clark is the easy choice.
The three-headed running back system is working for the Seahawks
Chris Carson, Rashard Penny and Mike Davis combined for 155 yards rushing on 29 carries. All three contributed in a big way.
Penny had a wild 30-yard run in the first quarter where he changed direction in the backfield, swept around the left side, turned back up field, breaking four tackles in the process. He sprained his ankle on the play, but later returned.
Carson fumbled on the first play from scrimmage, which led to a easy touchdown for the Packers, but he finished 83 yards and one TD on 17 carries. Carson also had a bulldozer run in the fourth quarter where he saved a field-goal scoring drive on a third-and-1 at the Green Bay 31. Carson turned a 2-yard loss into a 12-yard gain, turning back up field and bowling over Packers.
And Davis was the clock-killing back on the final drive when the Seahawks needed to drain four minutes off the clock. He rushed for 17 yards on three carries, including a 7-yard run for a first down that assured the victory.
Horrible clock management by the Packers
Green Bay used its second timeout of the second half with 10:31 to go in the game. The Packers had to punt the ball back to Seattle with 4:11 to play. Green Bay used its last time out with 3:18 to go. Even with the 2-minute warning, Seattle only needed one more first down to end it.
Davis’ first-down run came with 2:34 left. That was it. After the 2-minute warning, Wilson only needed to kneel three times to win the game.
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