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Seahawks Game Reviews & NFC Title Game Previews

Discussion in 'Packer Fan Forum' started by TOPHAT, Jan 14, 2008.


    TOPHAT Cheesehead

    Mar 1, 2007
    Packers Rumble Past Seahawks To NFC Title Game: Reviews & Previews

    SUMMARY: Q Favre threw 3 touchdowns & RB Grant rushed for 201 yards & 3 touchdowns to lead the Packers over the Seahawks 42-10. The defense dominated the game allowing only 28 rushing yards & limiting the Seahawks to 200 total yards.

    HIGHLIGHTS: 1. Fox. 2. Espn. 3. Scout. 4. Packersnews. 5. JSOnline. 6. Msnbc. 7. NFL.


    Scout Inc: “The Seahawks got on the board quickly as the Packers gave them a short field in the first quarter. Green Bay drew a line in the snow and roared back with four touchdowns behind great zone blocking by the Packers' offensive line and pinpoint passing by a confident Brett Favre. The question about how well this explosive Green Bay offense would perform in poor weather conditions was answered with hard-nosed running by Grant and by the Packers' air attack. In the end, Green Bay was able to adapt better to the adverse weather conditions and won the battle in the trenches on both sides of the ball.”

    Coach McCarthy: "I thought Favre was extremely sharp. He did a great job of keeping us in favorable plays, particularly in the sub groups. He threw the ball very well. When we got behind 14-0, I was concerned that the weather was going to turn bad because there were some things in the passing game that we wanted to get to and we were able to accomplish that. The line of scrimmage, I felt like we controlled that on both sides throughout the contest and Ryan Grant had a big day after a tough start. I can't say enough about the performances. That's the performance you're looking for and our guys definitely stepped up."

    Q Favre: "Yeah that snow was awesome. I'd been hoping for that for 17 years. I'm watching the weather all day saying, 'Just give us one of those big snow games.' I wanted to play where you couldn't see the field, snow plow comes out."

    G Spitz: "Grant does a phenomenal job running hard. I mean it's not all on us. Its tight ends, receivers, blocking down the field. Usually when it's not working you point out the O-line and most of the time it is. But when it's really working, when you get those 200-yard rushing games, that's everyone."

    Q Hasselbeck: "Absolutely. It was tough to see people. That was crazy weather out there, but they were playing in the same conditions and they handled it pretty well."

    LB Poppinga: "I expect to go down there (Dallas) and win or win here. We're playing great. I mean, top to bottom. And we're only going to get better."

    TURNING POINT: The Packers had the ball at the Seahawks 14 yard line facing 3rd and eight. The Seahawks created a tremendous pass rush coming after Favre. In a classic Favre highlight, he spun away from DT Mebane, scrambled out-of-the pocket, stumbled to the outside & shoveled a wobbly underhanded pass to TE Lee. Lee rumbled 11 yards to the three yard line for a first down and goal-to-go. Then Grant's 3 yard run gave a solid 28-17 lead to the Packers.

    GAME BALLS: 1. RB Grant. 2. Q Favre. 3. WR Jennings. 4. S Bigby. 5. CB Williams.

    REPORT CARD—THE GOOD, BAD, & UGLY: [Packersnews.com Grades]

    Rushing Offense—A- [A]

    The Packers rushed 35 carries for an outstanding 235 yards averaging 6.7 ypc. While RB Grant committed two early fumbles, he got redemption giving a superman performance. He ran like a man possessed rushing 27 times for a playoff record 201 yards & 3 touchdowns averaging 7.4 ypc. While the Seahawks played eight-in-the box, the offensive line still dominated opening up zone blocking holes into the second level for Grant. Also, they effectively used their inverted wishbone formation with FB Hall & FB Kuhn, especially in 3 of 4 scoring touchdowns plays.

    Passing Offense—A [A]

    On a cold snowy day, Favre was his masterful self showing great poise & vision while he dissected a respected Seahawks defense. Starting down 14-0, Favre said: "I thought, 'Oh boy, this ain't too good. This is the exact game I didn't want to be in.’" Yet, Favre proceeded to lead six consecutive scoring drives completing 18 of 23 passes for 173 yards, three touchdowns & no interceptions with a 137.6 passer rating. The offensive line provided good protection against a stout Seahawks pass rush. The game plan employed effective quick & short passes against a fast Seahawks defense. WR Jennings had 6 receptions for 71 yards & 2 touchdowns. Rookie WR Jones had 3 crucial receptions for 42 yards. Rookie RB Jackson had a key reception for 13 yards & a touchdown.

    Rushing Defense—A [A+]

    While the Packers missed a lot of tackles, the rush defense was stout with the Seahawks rushing for only 28 yards & averaging a poor 1.6 ypc. DT Pickett had four tackles & DT Williams had 2 tackles in a field day dominating the inside line against the run.

    Passing Defense—B+ [B+]

    Q Hasselbeck had a long day getting sacked twice & had problems throwing in the snowy cold conditions. He completed only 19 of 33 passes for 194 yards & one touchdown with an 84.7 passer rating. The Packers got some pressure with the front line with DT Jenkins getting 1.5 sacks & DE KGB getting one-half sack. Playing in a growing snowstorm, Seahawks’ receivers dropped several crucial passes, especially by TE Pollard with two dropped passes & a fumble. S Bigby & CB Williams had 4 tackles each in a solid game. S Collins had 4 tackles.

    Special Teams—B+

    Beyond the opening muffed kickoff and a roughing-the-punter penalty, the special teams had a good day. The coverage team did okay limiting Seahawks KR Burleson to 6 kickoffs for 106 yards averaging 17.7 yards. The return team had an average game with KR Williams returning 5 kickoffs for 111 yards averaging 22.2 yards. K Crosby kickoffs were adequate.

    Coaching—A [A]

    Coach McCarthy executed a solid game plan balancing a strong running game & a strong passing game. In 3rd down efficiency, the Packers were 7 for 10. In red zone efficiency, the Packers were 6 for 6. In goal-to-go efficiency, the Packers were 4 for 4. His first quarter challenge got a pivotal spot reversal that led to a first down & to a tying score.

    Overall—A [A]

    With a dominating performance, the Packers move one to host the NFC championship game.

    CheesheadTV.com Good, Bad & Ugly: Good--Favre, McCarthy & Tauscher; Bad--Ryan Grant; Ugly--Kenny Albert.

    COMMENTARY: A dominating win in a divisional playoff game at the historic venue of Lambeau field frolicking in a winter wonderland. Awesome!

    PREVIEW: Sunday a healthy Packers team hosts the NFC title game against the battered Giants. As a reviewer said: “The Packers are a threat to make good on their promise and return to the Super Bowl. [Favre] has the weapons around him--on offense and defense--to make his first appearance in a Super Bowl since January 1998.


















    Early previews headlines:


    First Look: Giants-Packers NFC title game

    Just like the AFC Championship Game, next Sunday's title matchup in the senior conference features a couple of teams who played each other on Sept. 16, in the second weekend of the regular season. The Packers went to the Meadowlands that day and ambushed the Giants, 35-13, as quarterback Brett Favre threw for 286 yards and three touchdowns. Favre was just starting to warm up at that early juncture of the season. At the same time, the New York defense, reshaped by first-year coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, was ice-cold. It wasn't until after that loss, which got the Giants off to an 0-2 start, that the unit really began to grasp Spagnuolo's principles. The pass rush eventually would crank up to lead the NFL in sacks with 52. Four months later, the Giants are still attacking the pocket and Favre is still attacking secondaries, but there have been changes. Each team has discovered playmakers it didn't know existed on its roster.

    So here are five early questions about the NFC Championship Game:

    1. Unlike his older brother, Manning seems to be so up and down, and it's difficult to predict which Eli will show up. Has he finally reached a level of consistency? Never underestimate confidence. That's one notable component of Manning's recent success. He seems much more confident in himself and his receivers the past three or four games. Of course, as is the case with all quarterbacks, you look a whole lot better when your teammates are out there making plays for you. Wide receivers Burress and Amani Toomer (who continues to gut it out with a torn ligament in his left ankle) have been constants all year. And the Giants have gotten solid production from their three veteran tailbacks. But in the past month, rookie wide receiver Steve Smith, slowed by injuries most of the year, has started to come up big. In Sunday's upset victory at Dallas, Manning kept going back to Smith in clutch, third-down situations, and the former Southern California star displayed good maturity and playmaking skills. Another rookie, fifth-round tight end Kevin Boss, who replaced injured Jeremy Shockey, has made timely catches. More than any other player, though, Manning's ascent is up to, well, Manning himself. He has reduced his turnovers, managed games well and played within himself, rather than forcing the issue. With Manning, it's always been tough to say that he has arrived because he historically has followed strong performances with some slippage. But for every successful quarterback, there comes a time when the game actually seems to slow down, when overall vision and field presence add that nebulous peripheral element that sets apart the really good ones from the pretty good ones. There is certainly a mounting body of evidence that, in his fourth season, Manning has reached that critical nexus of his career.

    2. OK, even if we buy that, there's still no way Manning can top Favre at Lambeau Field, is there? Hey, having seen the Giants play toe-to-toe with New England in the regular-season finale, then win at Tampa Bay and Dallas, we're not going to underestimate this team. Sometimes a club just catches lightning in a bottle, rises to the occasion, and gets hot at the most opportune time of year. If happened with Pittsburgh two years ago, and the Steelers rode the wave all the way to a Super Bowl XL championship. But it seems this is more a question about Favre, and his re-emergence this season, than it is about Manning and the Giants and their chances for another unlikely upset. It might be hard to fathom how a guy in his 17th season could still get better, but Favre has. The hiring of Mike McCarthy last year was a boon for his career because the Green Bay coach is a "quarterback guy," accustomed to working with players who have a big dose of ego and might not want to be coached very much. McCarthy came in and didn't let Favre's résumé blind him. He coached some of the gunslinger mentality out of Favre, forced him to make better decisions, but also made a few minor concessions along the way. No matter their stature in the league, most guys want to be coached, and Favre certainly was receptive to a lot of McCarthy's ideas. The far more mystifying turnaround is in Favre's ability to throw the deep ball again, and with uncanny accuracy, to his wide receivers. It's as though Favre, at 38, has dipped his right arm in a fountain of youth. And, of course, he's still capable of making the crazy, improvisational play, like his underhand toss to tight end Donald Lee in Saturday's snowy victory.

    3. Yeah, well, all that stuff about Favre aside, he still can't throw the ball if he's on his backside, right? Well, the ability of the Packers' offensive line to protect Favre against the Giants' ferocious pass rush certainly will be one of the keys. Because the Packers aren't on national television that much, casual fans might not realize that Green Bay has one of the best tackle tandems in the league: Chad Clifton and Mark Tauscher. Neither is a prototype of what scouts normally are seeking at their respective positions. Tauscher is hardly the strongside mauler teams covet at right tackle, and Clifton doesn't look as though he possesses enough foot quickness to seal off the blind side. But the pair has been together for eight seasons, both coming to the team in the 2000 draft, and the two really are excellent. One of them, though, will have his hands full with Giants end Osi Umenyiora, who usually aligns on the right side but moved all over the place in Sunday's win at Dallas, and who absolutely took over the game in the last few Cowboys possessions. And here's a wild card to throw into the mix: the Giants' No. 3 end, Justin Tuck, who was not a starter this season but still had 10 sacks, one more than Michael Strahan. New York substitutes liberally on the defensive line, and Spagnuolo uses all three ends in his nickel package, so Tuck gets a lot of pass-rush opportunities. And many of them come against slower guards because he often moves inside to tackle on third down. That's where the New York pass rush might be a bigger challenge for the Packers' offensive line. The guard positions have been unsettled in Green Bay much of the season. This would be a good week to get that position straightened out.

    4. So I flipped on the TV on Saturday afternoon and saw this guy named Ryan Grant playing for the Packers and running through both the snow and the Seahawks' defense, and it struck me that I knew nothing about him. Where the heck did he come from? Coincidentally, he came from the Giants, who were so deep at tailback coming out of the preseason that they dealt him to the desperate Packers on Sept. 1 for an undisclosed draft choice, believed to be a low-round selection. Kind of an odd coincidence, huh? That the New York defense is going to have to contend with a player the Giants knew from training camp, one the team surrendered in what was pretty much a giveaway trade. A former Notre Dame standout, Grant originally signed with New York as an undrafted free agent in 2005. He spent most of that season on the Giants' practice squad and all of 2006 on the non-football injury list with a fractured hand. Because the Giants' depth chart already featured Brandon Jacobs, Derrick Ward and Reuben Droughns, there was no room for Grant on the roster, thus the deal. Hard to blame the New York brass for making the trade. Grant began the season on the Green Bay bench, but when rookies Brandon Jackson and DeShawn Wynn were injured, he basically landed the starting job by default. And despite starting just eight games, he ran for 956 yards and eight touchdowns. The Packers love his toughness and explosiveness and, after Saturday, they have to like his resilience, too. The kid bounced back from two early fumbles that handed Seattle a 14-0 lead to run for 201 yards. In the regular-season meeting between the two teams, Grant played sparingly. He didn't log a single carry, and his lone contribution to the Packers' offense was a 21-yard reception. Bet the mortgage he's going to have a significantly bigger role Sunday.

    5. A couple of key matchups, please.

    Given the battered condition of the Giants' secondary, it's going to be difficult for the unit to hold up if the Packers go to a lot of three-receiver sets. As noted earlier, Favre is throwing the heck out of the deep ball. And though veteran Green Bay wideout Donald Driver is more of a dependable receiver than a deep threat in his ninth season, a pair of young guys -- second-year pro Greg Jennings and rookie James Jones -- both exude big-play mind-sets. Jones is a burner, but it's Jennings who plays much quicker than his stopwatch speed, and he has become Favre's go-to guy when the quarterback decides to go down the field. He has averaged nearly 30 yards per touchdown catch. So the crippled New York secondary versus the Packers' spread looks is one matchup to watch. Another critical one is how well the New York offensive line handles the Green Bay front seven. The Packers have a lot of depth on the defensive line, and their linebackers are very active. Middle linebacker Nick Barnett will be a revelation for those who haven't seen him play before. And left end Aaron Kampman, a self-made player, is one of the best two-way defenders in the league. He figures to be a tall test for Giants right tackle Kareem McKenzie.


    10 pack: Dynasty brewing in Green Bay

    ProFootballTalk.com's Mike Florio weighs in on the biggest story lines of the first round of the playoffs: 1. Packers could dominate NFC for years

    Not long ago, the Packers were being widely criticized for refusing to embrace free agency and for stubbornly building through the draft. Now, coach Mike McCarthy is on the verge of a big-money extension, and G.M. Ted Thompson is being hailed as a genius by publications like the Wall Street Journal. More importantly, the roster features a nucleus of young, talented players who could very well place the Packers among the year-in, year-out elite in the NFC. Ryan Grant emerged from a hodgepodge of halfbacks to become a legitimate threat in the running game, and second-year receiver Greg Jennings is poised to become one of the best wideouts in the league. The offensive line has plenty of youngsters, and tight end Donald Lee is just entering his prime. Apart from the starting cornerbacks, Al Harris and Charles Woodson, the defensive players have plenty of good years left, especially if youngsters like Atari Bigby, A.J. Hawk and Nick Collins continue to improve. The most intriguing aspect of the Packers is that they're led by an aging quarterback who, less than two years ago, didn't think the team was on the right track. But Brett Favre now is a believer. And not long after it looked as if Favre might want out because the rest of the team didn't do justice to his abilities, his ultimate departure could occur under the same circumstances, in reverse. But before any of that happens, Favre might just add another Super Bowl ring. Or


    Five key story lines of NFC title game

    With that in mind, here are the five biggest keys to the NFC Championship game:

    1. Eli Manning

    Favre is going to get all the attention – and rightfully so. But for the Giants to have a shot at winning this game, Manning has to continue in his current groove. Manning has been flat-out great in his past three games and appears to be elevating his game right before our eyes. In his past three games (all against top-notch competition), Manning's lowest passer rating has been the 117.1 he put up against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last week. He's got eight touchdowns against only one interception in that span. If he plays that well against the Green Bay Packers, the Giants have a legitimate shot at the Super Bowl.

    2. Ryan Grant

    When Grant is at his best, the Packers are almost impossible to beat. He has become a perfect complement to Green Bay's deep game and makes the Packers exponentially harder to defend. And after his gut-check performance in the Packers' 42-20 win over the Seattle Seahawks on Saturday, it's time to stop questioning whether he's one of the NFC's elite running backs. The fact that Favre only threw 23 passes in that game suggests true balance. However, Grant will face one of his stiffer tests this season against a Giants team that ranked eighth against the run during the regular season. If the Packers are successfully able to pound the edges with Grant, they can wear down Osi Umenyiora and Michael Strahan and alleviate some of that nasty pass rush.

    3. New York blitz packages vs. Green Bay running backs

    The Giants did a good job of dialing up blitzes from the linebacker spots against the Dallas Cowboys, providing a generous wrinkle for which Green Bay has to prepare. While New York can get pressure without having to scheme for it (Strahan and Umenyiora are usually enough to do the job), throwing in some blitzes can create havoc against the Packers' spread looks. It will be absolutely imperative for the Green Bay running backs to identify where pressure is coming from and to keep Favre from having to move around. Tony Romo's lack of rhythm cost the Dallas passing game dearly, and the Packers should be looking at similar pressure.

    4. New York's wideouts vs. Al Harris and Charles Woodson

    The Giants wideouts are going to see a tougher matchup than they did against Dallas. Harris and Woodson are far more diverse in their games and seasoned in their approaches to let New York's receivers break tackles for long gains or settle into soft seams. Plaxico Burress and Amani Toomer are going to have to work harder and fight for the football more than they have all season long to create space. And it's very likely that a No. 3 is going to have to make big plays again, as Steve Smith did against Dallas.

    5. Lambeau Field

    This is the definition of home-field advantage as was proven against the Seahawks on Saturday. Lambeau in late January can be bitterly cold, windy, snowy and flat-out intimidating. Green Bay hasn't seen an NFC Championship game at home since after the 1996 season, when the Packers beat Carolina 30-13 in single-digit temperatures. And for those who don't remember, that was one of the wildest football environments imaginable. After some lean years, Lambeau has regained its mystique. Combined with the chilly environment and crazed fans, it is a locale that can change a game.

    :USA: :eek:mg: :eek:mg: :agree: :yeah: :eek:mg: :eek:mg: :eek:mg: :USA:
  2. Green_Bay_Packers

    Green_Bay_Packers Cheesehead

    Mar 30, 2007
    Seahawks Game Reviews & NFL Title Game Previews

    Thanks Tophat for such a great read

    TOPHAT Cheesehead

    Mar 1, 2007
    THANKS. A few more Monday headlines:


    NFC final looking good for Packers

    If anyone is automatically putting the Green Bay Packers in the Super Bowl because of the strange and allegedly lucky turn of events Sunday -- as if the New York Giants' 21-17 victory at Dallas was some kind of favorable omen that Brett Favre doesn't have to go back to the one place he hasn't won -- I'd wait until next Sunday night before booking passage. Of course, this looks good for the Packers, great, in fact, to host the Super Bowl play-in game at Lambeau Field, where they methodically disassembled the Seattle Seahawks in the kind of conditions that transcended Packers weather. Yet for those who believe the Packers are now officially destiny's children, why are the Giants any less fate's favorite to represent the lesser conference in the Big Game?

    I can't help thinking back to Sept. 16 in the Meadowlands, where the Packers crushed the Giants 35-13. It was an impressive display in the second game of the season by a team that was just beginning to get a running start as one of the NFL's heavyweights for 2007, but I recall qualifying the Packers' performance against the Giants' ineptitude. If memory serves, the word "dregs" was used to frame New York's place in the NFC. The Giants' defense was awful, as any defense should be that made a starter of R.W. McQuarters. Eli Manning was playing hurt, but the suspicion that he was a soft player with good bloodlines was hardly dispelled. After Willie Randolph, New Yorkers wanted Manning's head on a stick most.

    But put it this way: If you had to bet Sunday on which Manning would win a football game, you'd be eating Ramen noodles the rest of the week. Eli has become the genuine article, putting up Favre-like numbers lately. Peyton will probably be cutting another self-depreciating commercial while Eli is trying to figure out Charles Woodson this week. And the Giants' defense? It won that game against the Cowboys, who had been on an offensive slide, Jessica-influenced or not, ever since the Green Bay game. As strange as it sounds, I would've almost felt better about the Packers' chances in Dallas. But that doesn't mean the Packers shouldn't win. They should with the home game nobody expected them to have, which is completely in keeping with the surprising nature of their season. But to completely dismiss New York would be a Giant miscalculation.


    Preview: NY Giants at Green Bay

    I'll go into more detail throughout the week, but I wanted to debunk one myth that everyone will hear a lot this week. I'm just glad I don't have to spend the week explaining why QB Brett Favre's 0-9 record in games at Dallas is not a big deal. QB Eli Manning and the Giants play better on the road! They are 9-1 on the road this season so it must be true! Even DE Michael Strahan believes it. The difference is who they played on the road vs. at home. 5 of the 10 (including playoffs) teams they played on the road had losing records (Atlanta, Miami, Detroit, Chicago, Buffalo). They only played 2 teams with losing records at home (NY Jets (it's counted as a home game) and San Francisco). The combined records of the teams played on the road (I'm counting Dallas twice as if they were two separate teams) is 78-82 vs. 76-52 at home. Using Football Outsiders DVOA stats, the average opponent DVOA on the road was 0.17%, and at home it was 7.28%. They still beat two good teams on the road during the playoffs, but that 9-1 road record overall is overrated by all the bad teams they played on the road this season.


    Can you believe it?

    The Packers are home for the NFC championship and facing a team they pasted in September. That was a long time ago and both teams are vastly improved over the last four months....

    :USA: :eek:mg: :eek:mg: :USA:
  4. DarkaneRules

    DarkaneRules Cheesehead

    Sep 27, 2007
    Wow... it will take me a long time to get through all of that, but I read a lot of it and great post!! Wow

    I tell you what I will be high on this win all week. I have watched the highlight videos on NFL.com at least 10 times each. Man Atari Bigby was awesome too. Just flying around like a mad man!!!!

    I am going to give a lot of credit to the Giants too especially after reading some of this analysis. They were hanging with the freaking Patriots and beat the Bucs and Cowboys on the road. They are truly a force in the NFC right now, but so are we. Man what a huge freaking match up!
  5. Zombieslayer

    Zombieslayer Cheesehead

    Aug 12, 2006
    Thanks Tophat.

    I don't see why CheeseheadTV gave Grant a Bad. After the 2 fumbles, he wore out the Hawks D. 200+ yards on 27 carries? You have to forgive the early fumbles, even if they scored 14 points on them. He scored us 3 TDs and the Hawks scored 20 total points.

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