Breaking down tape of the Green Bay Packers' win over the Seattle Seahawks
Friday, January 1, 2010
Green Bay Press Gazette

Here’s the tale of the tape from Sunday's game between the Green Bay Packers and the Seattle Seahawks at Lambeau Field. The Packers won 48-10.

Memories of a beatdown

What more is there to say? The Packers did exactly what they should have done to the thoroughly overmatched Seahawks on both sides of the ball.

Not even QB Matt Hasselbeck can make much of Seattle’s pop-gun offense, which leaned heavily on screens and check-downs because it lacks the personnel to protect and compete downfield. Through the first three quarters, the Packers stuck with their base defense on 20 of 52 snaps (37.8 percent), not even bothering to consistently match up when the Seahawks went three-wide.

Everyone from ROLB Clay Matthews to undrafted rookie OLB Cyril Obiozor humiliated LT Sean Locklear, who was responsible for five QB hits, 1˝ tackles for loss and a holding penalty. SS Atari Bigby (two) and CB Jarrett Bush made terrific catches for interceptions and Hasselbeck gifted another to ILB A.J. Hawk.

Seattle’s best offense was trying to exploit the extra-man rushes the Packers sent more often than usual on first and second down (eight in 23 dropbacks, 34.8 percent) by running inside. RBs Julius Jones and Justin Forsett broke five tackles, but that didn’t offset eight plays blown up in the backfield by eight different Packers, with DE Johnny Jolly and NT B.J. Raji wreaking lots of havoc inside.

On defense, the Seahawks hit QB Aaron Rodgers four times in his first seven dropbacks — two were erased by penalties — but only touched him once the rest of the day before backup QB Matt Flynn took over late in the third quarter.

Three missed tackles on RB Ahman Green’s third-and-1 run that went for 16 says everything about how Seattle tackled (and something about how Green was running, too). CB Marcus Trufant and SS Deon Grant couldn’t have looked worse trying to stop excellent cuts by WR Greg Jennings (on a 24-yard option slant) and RB Ryan Grant (on his perfectly blocked 56-yard TD run), respectively.

Targeted eight times, Trufant gave up eight receptions for 87 yards and took a 36-yard pass interference penalty. His best move all day was falling down to draw a bogus push-off flag on TE Spencer Havner’s would-be 1-yard TD catch before halftime.

None of that takes away from the Packers’ domination. They knew where the mismatches were and attacked them. Against playoff teams, there just won’t be so many to choose from.

Rookie watch

The blowout meant all seven remaining members of the 2009 draft class saw action on offense or defense for the first time.

♦ The more he plays nose tackle, the more Raji shows he can be a standout there for years to come. In 34 snaps — including 20 as the middleman in base — he was credited with one tackle for loss but also factored in four other run plays that went for loss or no gain. The Packers extensively played their version of an “under” front, meaning Raji less often was head-up over stout C Max Unger and had chances against LG Rob Sims and RG Chris Spencer. Raji got penetration several times against Sims to force runs off course and also beat Spencer once.

♦ Matthews (58 snaps) had just another big day — four pressures, two QB hits, a batted pass and a tackle for loss when he torched Locklear. Sunrise, sunset.

♦ OL T.J. Lang played the last three series (plus kneeldowns) and held his own, allowing one hit late on Flynn.

♦ FB Quinn Johnson (37 snaps) got the bulk of work over Korey Hall (18), and while he’s up and down, there’s no question Johnson packs a punch — just ask OLB Will Herring, who might still be getting up after Grant’s long TD. Still no sign Johnson can catch, though.

♦ DE Jarius Wynn (19 snaps) is doing his job — the next step is making plays. He had a good block on Hawk’s interception return.

♦ CB Brandon Underwood played the last two series and made a couple of fine plays, making an ankle tackle on WR Deion Branch for a 1-yard loss and blanketing WR Deon Butler on the final incompletion. Underwood's not ready for extensive action, but at least he's showing he has some tools.

♦ LOLB Brad Jones (36 snaps) has improved since a challenging day at Chicago on Dec. 13 and had another clean-up sack when Hasselbeck held the ball too long off a three-step drop. But the Packers like the attitude of Brady Poppinga (37 snaps) and are working him in more and more.


♦ Continuity seems to be making all the difference on the offensive line. LT Chad Clifton mostly kept RE Darryl Tapp at bay, RT Mark Tauscher just keeps fighting and even the one sack allowed — against a three-man rush in the first quarter — was a play the ball should have come out.

♦ Bigby has his swagger back, and that’s big for a player who thrives on emotion. He laid wood on WR Deon Butler over the middle and made a good read to ignore double play action, pick up TE John Carlson and force Hasselbeck to try to pull back the errant pass Hawk picked. Bigby still needs to tackle better, though — no way he should miss while unblocked on Forsett’s 14-yard gain.

♦ Give Flynn credit for leading two scoring drives in three chances in his most extensive NFL action to date. Granted, the decision was long decided. But that doesn’t erase the bullet stop to WR Donald Driver, the running third-down strike to WR Jordy Nelson or the smart option slant Flynn hit to WR James Jones for 6. He looks like a totally different quarterback than a year ago.

♦ Bush’s interception — from perfect under coverage against WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh — is the type of play a young player can build on. But too many plays like the 31-yard pump-and-go Houshmandzadeh caught earlier will come back to bite him.

♦ K Mason Crosby probably got a boost from drilling a 52-yard field goal. Next step: repeating the feat in a game the Packers aren’t already winning by five touchdowns.

♦ Jolly is as instinctive as they come, and it’s showing with how he’s batting passes at the line. He almost intercepted one, but the other was more impressive — he wedged himself sideways against a double team and perfectly timed his jump, and Bigby snagged the deflection in the end zone. His shed-and-stuff on third-and-2 was huge, too.

♦ RB Brandon Jackson set up one of his three TDs with arguably his niftiest move of the day, catching a check-down pass a yard behind the scrimmage and breaking OLB Leroy Hill’s tackle to convert on third-and-2.

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