Thursday's NFL: Wilson caps Seattle’s rally past Green Bay
Seattle — After a shaky beginning, Russell Wilson got hot in the fourth quarter, Bobby Wagner and Seattle's defense stymied Aaron Rodgers and the Seahawks stayed in the middle of the NFC playoff race.
"We've been through so much throughout this season it was time to get over the hump," Wagner said. "We've been down, we've been up, we've lost close games, we've won close games. It was time."
Wilson threw for 225 yards and his 15-yard touchdown pass to Ed Dickson with 5:08 left was the difference in the Seahawks' 27-24 victory over the Green Bay Packers on Thursday night.
In a key matchup in the battle for the two NFC wild-card spots, Seattle (5-5) snapped a two-game losing streak by overcoming an early 14-3 deficit. Wilson was inconsistent at times early, but was outstanding in the fourth quarter, capping the winning drive by recognizing a blitz and hitting Dickson quickly for his second TD pass of the night.
"I thought that whole drive was pretty exceptional. ... When it came down to it, third-down, you've got to win in the red-zone and we were pretty clutch in the red-zone there at the end of the game," Wilson said.
Seattle still has not lost three straight games since the middle of the 2011 season and the Seahawks finally closed out a one-score victory after consecutive close losses to the Chargers and Rams. Seattle was 1-8 in its previous nine games decided by one score.
Rodgers had a huge first half and threw for 332 yards, but the Packers (4-5-1) had just one scoring drive in the second half, helped by a 57-yard strike from Rodgers to Davante Adams. Rodgers threw a pair of touchdown passes in the first half, but never got the ball back after Green Bay punted with 4:20 left. Seattle got first-down runs from Wilson and Mike Davis and finished the game kneeling three times.
"It was definitely consideration, but with the one time out and the clock stopped at two minutes, we played the numbers," Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy said.
Chris Carson rushed for 83 yards and a touchdown, overcoming the mistake of fumbling on the first play of the game and setting up Green Bay's opening score. Tyler Lockett had two key receptions late in the fourth quarter and Doug Baldwin had his first TD catch of the season for Seattle.
Rodgers was 21-of-30 passing with 10 of those going to Adams for 166 yards receiving. Backup tight end Robert Tonyan had the first catch of his career go for a 54-yard touchdown to give Green Bay an early 14-3 lead. The Packers led 21-17 at halftime after Aaron Jones caught a 24-yard TD pass from Rodgers in the final minute of the half, but Green Bay's offense was stymied in the second half.
"Of course there's hope. Of course we believe in each other," Rodgers said. "It's just going to take one galvanizing moment, whether that's a speech or a practice or something happens in the game, something's got to get this thing going."
Jones finished with 40 yards rushing after going for a career-high 145 a week ago. Rodgers was sacked five times, four of those in the second half. The Packers gained just 114 yards in the second half, half coming on the one throw from Rodgers to Adams. That pass set up Mason Crosby's 36-yard field goal with 8:23 left to give Green Bay a 24-20 lead.
Wilson had one more answer. Wilson hit Lockett on consecutive plays for 18 yards — to convert a third-down — and 34 yards to the Green Bay 16. Two plays later, facing another third-and-long, Wilson recognized the blitz and hit Dickson quickly over the middle to put Seattle in front.
That proved to be enough. On Green Bay's next drive, Rodgers short-hopped a pass on third-and-2.
"The ball just stuck to my hand and went in the dirt," Rodgers said. "Frustrating obviously, I can do that a hundred times and probably not do that again.
Rather than going for it on fourth-down, Green Bay punted and never got the ball back.
"I have faith in this team so I'm going to be an aggressive caller and go for it and say that we'll get it, but at the same time, you have to be realistic and I agree with coaches call 100 percent put it back on the defense," Adams said. "It was tough, they have a great running game, they made a play and that's how it unfolded."
Green Bay was down four starters with CB Kevin King, S Kentrell Brice, LB Nick Perry and WR Randall Cobb all out due to injuries. They lost two more in the first half when Bashaud Breeland — starting for King — aggravated a groin injury and Jimmy Graham injured his thumb. Graham had a 13-yard reception on Green Bay's first offensive play in his return to Seattle, but that was his only catch.
Mike Daniels suffered a foot injury early in the second half and backup safety Raven Greene suffered an ankle injury. Neither returned.