16 painful plays that cost Packers in NFC title game : Packers Insider

16 painful plays that cost Packers in NFC title game

January 26, 2015 by  
Filed under News

Great (painful though) piece from Ryan Wood here

Any defeat on a championship stage hurts. This one, Aaron Rodgers said, hurt the Green Bay Packers even worse.

It wasn’t that they lost in the NFC championship game at Seattle on Sunday, or even the way they lost in a late-game collapse. But there were so many missed opportunities that set the stage.

“Of course, you go through the different plays throughout the game,” Rodgers said on his ESPN Milwaukee radio show on Tuesday. “A lot of times, we’re sitting here thinking, you know, we’ve lost some playoff games where we probably needed to make a few more plays — more than one. You look at the game on Sunday, it really, you know, one play here or there could’ve made a difference. Could’ve been a play in the first quarter, or a play in the last quarter.”

Rodgers said it’s a “terrorizing game,” evaluating an outcome through the scope of hindsight. Clearly, Seattle could claim no comeback was needed if not for a handful of plays that didn’t go its way, starting with quarterback Russell Wilson’s four interceptions, a fumbled kickoff and eight penalties.

Still, the sheer volume of plays that could have cost the Packers points on Sunday is stunning. On Monday, left guard Josh Sitton estimated 10 missed plays had the power to put Green Bay in the Super Bowl. Watch the game again, and there were more.

In chronological order, here are 16 plays that had the potential to have an impact on the scoreboard:

Situation 1: Third-and-10, GB ball on SEA 29, 11 minutes, 23 seconds left in first quarter.

Play: Seattle’s Richard Sherman intercepts Rodgers’ pass intended for Davante Adams in the end zone. It was a curious decision from Rodgers, throwing a jump ball across the field against the NFL’s top cornerback. Rodgers later said he thought Seattle defensive end Michael Bennett was offsides, something the film confirms.

Potential impact: The Packers were in field goal range, so at least three points.

Situation 2: Second-and-goal, GB ball on SEA 1, 9:11 first quarter.

Play: John Kuhn gets the handoff on the dive. It’s initially ruled a touchdown, but replay reverses the decision. Kuhn is down 1 foot short of the goal line. It’s also interesting to note how relatively rare it is for there to be a clear angle spotting the ball on goal line plays. On the next play, Eddie Lacy is stuffed on third-and-goal.

Potential impact: Four points. Instead of a touchdown lead after the first 6 minutes, Green Bay’s lead is only 3-0.

Situation 3: Second-and-goal, GB ball on SEA 6, 5:53 first quarter.

Play: Jordy Nelson is open in the end zone, but Rodgers’ pass bounces off his right hand. It’s a routine play Rodgers and Nelson completed countless times over the season. Green Bay settles for another field goal after driving inside the 10-yard line.

Potential impact: Four points.

Situation 4: First-and-10, SEA ball on SEA 20, 9:37 second quarter.

Play: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix intercepts his second pass of the game and returns it to the Packers’ 34-yard line, on the edge of field goal range. Clay Matthews is called for a blindside block against Wilson, bringing the ball back to the Seahawks’ 44. This sequence, along with the next play, is perhaps Sunday’s most underrated sequence.

Potential impact: Three points.

Situation 5: First-and-10, GB ball on SEA 33, 8:29 second quarter.

Play: Rodgers throws his second interception of the game, this one to Byron Maxwell. The pass was intended for an open Nelson, but there was a miscommunication.

Potential impact: Three points.

Situation 6: Third-and-19, SEA ball on GB 48, 6:51 third quarter.

Play: Not quite fourth-and-26, but this conversion was costly. Seattle had nothing going midway through the third quarter until a 29-yard completion from Wilson to Doug Baldwin. On the previous play, it was second-and-31, making this conversion even more improbable.

Potential impact: Seven points, because of the play below.

Situation 7: Fourth-and-10, SEA ball on GB 19, 4:50 third quarter.

Play: Four plays after third-and-19, Seahawks holder/punter Jon Ryan throws a touchdown to Garry Gilliam, an undrafted rookie offensive lineman. It’s Seattle’s first touchdown of the game. Davon House takes a sloppy angle and loses contain, allowing Ryan to scramble outside. A.J. Hawk pursues Ryan, leaving Gilliam wide open for an easy completion.

Potential impact: Seven points.

Situation 8: Second-and-14, SEA ball at midfield, 7:11 fourth quarter.

Play: Clinton-Dix, already with two interceptions, jumps a route and has a third slip through his hands. With a full head of steam and open field in front of him, the he had a chance to score.

Potential impact: Seven points.

Situation 9: Third-and-5, GB ball on GB 19, 5:26 fourth quarter.

Play: At this point, Rodgers said, the Packers were merely “a couple first downs” from sealing a trip to the Super Bowl. One costly failed conversion came here. Rodgers’ pass to Andrew Quarless was on target, hitting him in the stomach. Quarless was past the first down marker, but the football bounced off his body. With Seattle’s K.J. Wright hitting his back, it wasn’t an easy catch. Still, it’s a play Quarless must make.

Potential impact: Another set of downs.

Situation 10: First-and-10, SEA ball on SEA 46, 5:13 fourth quarter.

Play: Morgan Burnett heeds teammate Julius Peppers’ stop sign, sliding after catching Wilson’s fourth interception. It is the safe play, to be sure. Burnett’s slide ensured the offense would regain possession with a 12-point lead and 5:04 left. Still, there are no potential tacklers within 10 yards of Burnett when he slides, and even they appear in position to be blocked. With open field down the left sideline, it could have been a scoring play.

Potential impact: Seven points.

Situation 11: Third-and-goal, SEA ball on GB 1, 2:13 fourth quarter.

Play: If Seattle failed to convert this play, it would have gone for it on fourth-and-goal. Fourth down could have been more challenging than third. Clinton-Dix and Mike Neal crash hard from the right side. They are unblocked, but both go for the play fake to Marshawn Lynch. Instead, Wilson pulls the ball and keeps it, trotting into the end zone untouched.

Potential impact: Seven points.

Situation 12: Onside kick, 2:09 fourth quarter.

Play: Seattle’s Steven Hauschka bounces an onside attempt high off the turf. Brandon Bostick is supposed to block on the play, but he tries to catch the ball instead. Jordy Nelson is behind Bostick, in position to catch the ball. The ball slips through Bostick’s hands, off his helmet and into the hands of Seattle’s Chris Matthews.

Potential impact: Possession. At this point, Green Bay is one first down from the Super Bowl.

Situation 13: First-and-10, SEA ball on GB 24, 1:33 fourth quarter.

Play: Lynch slips through Nick Perry’s tackle attempt at the line of scrimmage and runs 24 yards for a go-ahead touchdown. It’s Seattle’s first lead of the game, and their second touchdown within 44 seconds.

Potential impact: Seven points.

Situation 14: 2-point conversion attempt, 1:25 fourth quarter.

Play: Wilson has Peppers and Sam Barrington in his face as he scrambles all the way back to the 17-yard line. Barrington hits Wilson as he throws an arching, no-look pass across the field to Luke Willson, who is left open when Perry leaves him to pursue the quarterback from across the field. It looks like Clinton-Dix has an opportunity to make a play on the ball, but he doesn’t and Willson converts the two-point attempt.

Potential impact: Two points. It also prevents Mason Crosby’s 48-yard field goal a minute later from being a game-winning kick.

Situation 15: Third-and-6, SEA ball on SEA 30, 12:36 overtime.

Play: After everything that’s happened, the Packers have a chance if they can stop the Seahawks from converting a third-and-6. Instead, Wilson completes a 35-yard pass to Baldwin. It’s a tie for the longest play of the game for either team. Tied with Seattle’s next snap.

Potential impact: Seven points. Possession in overtime.

Situation 16: First-and-10, SEA ball on GB 35, 11:48 overtime.

Play: Wilson checks to a deep pass with both Packers safeties in the box. He completes a 35-yard touchdown to Jermaine Kearse, who is defended one-on-one by Tramon Williams. Kearse completes the process of the catch. Game over.

Potential impact: At least four points, if not seven.

— rwood@gannett.com and follow him on Twitter @ByRyanWood

Comments

2 Responses to “16 painful plays that cost Packers in NFC title game”
  1. kevin says:

    what if peppers didn’t put the stop sign up?
    could burnett have pulled a nick collins in the super bowl and scored a pick-six?

    THAT would have clinched the game and ticket to the super bowl. dammit.

  2. Michael says:

    Why does Rodgers play poorly again?
    His two interceptions were both of the BAD variety. Stupid too.

    And he missed Nelson for an easy TD that turned into the FG from the one yard line.

Help Us! Comment about this Packer Article

This is a community of fanatical Packer fans. Please tell us what you think about this post....