5 moments that made Seahawks-Packers a must-see rivalry
#TBT: Seattle and Green Bay aren't natural rivals, but they've created some iconic memories
The Packers and Seahawks are not in the same division, but they have one of the NFL's best rivalries. Not only are they usually jockeying for the top spot in the NFC, they've shared three of the NFL's iconic moments in recent years and made a few other memories, too. As they prepare to meet Sunday with plenty of playoff implications on the line (4:25 p.m. ET, FOX), here's a look at the top five of those moments:
2006: Shaun Alexander goes for over 200
One year after setting an NFL record for most rushing touchdowns in a season, Alexander missed six games with a broken foot but returned to the Seahawks' backfield for a Monday night game against Green Bay. On a snowy night in November, the former Alabama star shredded the Packers single-handedly, carrying the ball 40 times for 201 yards as Seattle won 34-24. Alexander's big night couldn't break his own Seahawks single-game record, however. He ran for 266 yards against the Raiders in 2001.
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2008: Brett Favre gets underhanded
Favre’s last Lambeau Field win was a January 2008 playoff game against the Seahawks played in the snow, and even though it ended in a 42-20 rout, the outcome was in doubt in the second quarter when Favre kept a touchdown drive alive on third-and-8 with maybe the best-remembered of his trademark improvisational plays. In a driving snow, while slipping to the turf, he tossed an underhand pass to tight end Donald Lee that gave Green Bay a first-and-goal. “I’ll tell you, when those plays work, there’s nobody more excited on the field than me,” Favre told reporters after the game.
He’d just given Packers fans one last memory of the way he enjoyed to play on the frozen tundra.
2004: (In)famous last words
The teams' first-ever playoff meeting, a January 2004 wild-card matchup, included one of the most public -- and unfulfilled -- boasts ever issued on a football field. After winning the overtime coin flip, Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck famously -- infamously? -- said these words loud enough for the officials' mic to pick them up and broadcast them to Lambeau Field crowd: “We want the ball, and we’re going to score." Instead, Hasselbeck threw a pick-6 on Seattle's second overtime possesion that Packers cornerback Al Harris returned 52 yards for a 33-27 win.
Packers quarterback Brett Favre recalled Hasselbeck's words four years later. He was on the sideline when running back Ahman Green came to the bench and said: "Did you hear what Matt (Favre's former backup in Green Bay) just said?"
"I'm thinking, 'heads, tails,' " Favre said. "There's been talk he didn't know the microphone was on. I don't think it really mattered. I think he had hoped it was on. The worst that could happen is they lose. Yeah, they lost. I thought he played an outstanding game. That was just one play. Yeah, it was a big play, but he wasn't being cocky or anything. People can call it what they want, but I thought it was pretty neat."
2012: Fail Mary
Both teams entered a September 2012 Monday night game with 1-1 records on the way to matching 11-5 seasons, and the Packers appeared to have the Seahawks beaten, 12-7, with time for one last play. Russell Wilson launched a 24-yard mini-Mary to the end zone, and there was a gaggle of players around the ball. Packers defensive back M.D. Jennings appeared to come away with an interception, but officials somehow ruled that Golden Tate had the ball first and called the play a touchdown. Making the primetime ending more controversial was the fact the NFL was using replacement refs at the time. The hotly debated result provided impetus for a quick end to the league's labor battle with the officials, but the ref who signaled the TD -- Lance Easley -- ended up diagnosed with PTSD from the fallout. "I was completely under attack," he later told Yahoo! Sports. "... Nobody died. There were no laws broken. It wasn't scandalous. There was no sex tape. I didn't do anything wrong. It just happened to be a contentious call right when everything was spiraling out of control."
2015: An NFC Championship meltdown
The Packers led 16-0 at halftime and 19-7 with three minutes left but somehow ended up blowing the chance to upset the Seahawks in Seattle. The indelible memory from the stunning comeback was Steven Hauschka's onside kick bouncing off tight end Brandon Bostick's hands into the arms of Chris Matthews after Seattle made the score 19-14 with 2:07 left.The Seahawks went on to a 28-22 overtime victory and a spot in the Super Bowl. Bostick wasn't as fortunate. His gaffe -- he was supposed to be blocking and letting sure-handed Jordy Nelson catch the kick -- led to his release shortly after.