The Green Bay Packers might not have needed a statement game, but they provided one anyway.
Facing NFC West-leading Seattle at Lambeau Field, the Packers clicked on offense while harassing Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson all day.
The end result was a 38-10 throttling of the Seahawks, a clear signal Green Bay is to be reckoned with as the season winds down and playoff spots are being decided.
Here’s a recap of Sunday’s game:
— Aaron Rodgers was clearly hurting, anyone could see that with the way the quarterback was often seen limping. But yet Rodgers still was Rodgers. On his first touchdown pass to Jordy Nelson in the second quarter, he backpedaled out of the shotgun then hit the wide receiver in the end zone. In the third quarter on his second TD to Nelson, while he had good protection Rodgers moved around in the pocket before firing a bullet to Nelson. Rodgers completed 18 of 23 passes for 246 yards and three touchdowns. In the first half, with Green Bay building a 21-3 lead, he was 12 for 15 for 202 yards and two TDs.
— For whatever reason there seemed to be a lot of conjecture and worry when Brett Hundley entered the game with 11:46 to play. With Rodgers obviously nursing a bad hamstring, the team up by four scores and, at the time, having the ball in Seattle territory after a failed fourth-down play, putting Hundley in made perfect sense. The game was in hand; no reason to have Rodgers on the field.
— Afraid to throw on the Legion of Boom? Nope. On the opening series, Rodgers hit Davante Adams, who had gotten past cornerback Jeremy Lane, for a 66-yard scoring strike.
— T.J. Lang returned to the lineup and perhaps by no coincidence Green Bay’s offensive line gave Rodgers great protection all game (with the exception of one sack when the game was already in control).
— The Ty Montgomery in the backfield thing clearly is here to stay this season. While Montgomery did not lead the team in carries, he was the first to be lined up at running back and he was the one used down by the goal line. Montgomery finished with nine carries for a team-high 41 yards and a touchdown.
— Clay Matthews didn’t start — Julius Peppers and Datone Jones were the outside linebackers — and was used mainly on passing downs. He finished with two tackles, a tackle for loss and a QB hurry. The latter came on a fourth-down play in which he forced Wilson to throw the ball away.
— Wilson was off his game from the beginning. Twice in the first quarter he had a receiver open on a long pass (Doug Baldwin and Jimmy Graham) for a sure touchdown and both times he overthrew his target.
— Christine Michael surely wanted to do well against his old team and he did finish with a team-high 10 carries. Most of those (7) were in the second half, though. In the first quarter, Michael ran right when everyone else went left. That kind of miscommunication could be why Michael isn’t getting more playing time.
— Russell Wilson threw five interceptions and while some were not his fault — a couple went off receiver’s hands and into the hands of awaiting Green Bay players — he did try to force a couple of passes which ended up getting picked off. In the second quarter, he tried to fire one in a tight window for Jimmy Graham and, while Graham did slip, Morgan Burnett had good coverage the entire time and as a result got the pick. On a red-zone throw to Javon Kearse, Ladarius Gunter was right with Kearse. The throw bounced off the tandem to Quinten Rollins.
— This game was already out of hand, but kudos to the Green Bay coaching staff for forcing Seattle to use one of its three second-half timeouts early in the fourth quarter. The Packers were in a punting situation but, while punter Jacob Schum was on the field, so was the regular Green Bay offensive line. Montgomery then lined up under center and a confused Seahawks team — which also only had 10 men on the field — had to burn a TO.
— Nelson tied Donald Driver for the third-most receiving touchdowns in Packers history. He also became the fifth Packer to reach 7,000 receiving yards with the team.
— Rodgers now has 37 career games with 3-plus touchdown passes and no interceptions, passing Brett Favre for fourth place on the NFL’s all-time list. Peyton Manning had the most with 51 followed by Tom Brady (49) and Drew Brees (40).
— Rodgers and Nelson have hooked up for 57 touchdown receptions, tying Brett Favre and Antonio Freeman for most TD connections in Green Bay history.
— Green Bay scored the most points against Seattle since the Seahawks allowed 39 against Arizona on Nov. 15, 2015. The previous high the Seahawks allowed this season was 25.
— Wilson had never thrown more than three interceptions in a regular-season game. He did throw four against the Packers in a memorable playoff game on Jan. 18, 2015. In his one season at Wisconsin in 2011, Wilson threw four interceptions all season in 14 games.
— The Green Bay defense came up with six turnovers (five interceptions and a fumble). The Packers entered the game with just 12 turnovers on the season. It is the most turnovers for Green Bay since it had six against the Giants in a 9-6 home victory on Dec. 26, 2010.
— Seattle had just two plays of 20-plus yards: a 31-yard pass to Marcel Reece late in the first half and a 21-yard touchdown to Tanner McEvoy in garbage time in the fourth quarter.
WHAT IT MEANT
By beating a quality team, Green Bay assured the rest of the NFL the Pack is back and not a team you want to be facing. As far as the playoff race, Green Bay’s path remained status quo. The Packers still need the Lions to lose in the next two weeks to set up a winner-take-all regular-season finale NFC North division title meeting in Detroit. Meanwhile, all of the teams the Packers are fighting for a wild-card spot — Atlanta or Tampa Bay (both 8-5), Minnesota (7-6), New York (9-4) and Washington (7-5-1) — won Sunday as well.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Rodgers was simply sensational against one of the best defenses in the NFL. We already detailed his statistics above (basically done in three quarters). Not much more needs to be said other than right now the only thing that can apparently stop Rodgers will be his health.
DON’T FORGET ABOUT ME
All the defensive backs played well, but special attention should be given to safety Morgan Burnett, who had seven tackles, an interception and a pass defensed all while playing mostly in a linebacker spot to help out Green Bay’s depleted corps.
In a game which featured Green Bay coming up with six turnovers, you might think we’d mention one of the interceptions. But we’re going another direction. In the second quarter with the Packers leading 14-3, Seattle was facing a third-and-8 from its 28, Dean Lowry sacked Wilson for an 11-yard loss and Jon Ryan followed with a poor 31-yard punt. Those two plays gave Green Bay the ball at the Seahawks 48. It took only five plays for Rodgers to connect with Nelson to push the score to 21-3, keeping Seattle on its heels for the rest of the game.
150.8 — Aaron Rodgers’ passer rating, which is just shy of a perfect rating (158.3). It is just the sixth time a quarterback has had a QB rating of 150-plus against Seattle. The others were Buffalo’s Doug Flutie (158.3 in 2000), Kansas City’s Steve Bono (156.6 in 1995) and the Jets’ Ken O’Brien (158.3 in 1986).
THEY SAID IT
“That’s football. You deal with injuries, you know . I’d like to talk about the win, you’re talking about my injuries. I’m not missing games, so . . . we’ve won three in a row.” — Quarterback Aaron Rodgers
“Aaron’s a great player. Frankly, he spoils us all.” — Head coach Mike McCarthy
“All hands were on deck tonight. The offense was clicking, the defense was clicking, special teams was rolling. The crowd — I mean, that’s Lambeau at its best since I’ve been here. It was a lot of fun.” — Safety/linebacker Morgan Burnett
Green Bay finishes out its schedule with three straight division games, beginning at Chicago. After losing to Detroit on Sunday, the Bears are 3-10 and now have Matt Barkley at quarterback. The Packers beat Chicago at Lambeau Field on Oct. 20, 26-10.