Russell Wilson helped the Seattle Seahawks edge the Green Bay Packers 27-24 in the NFL on Thursday.
The Packers and Seahawks have provided some of the most timeless NFL moments, which date back to the coin-flip guarantee in 2004 and more recently the 2014 NFC Championship Game and of course, the 2012 Fail Mary.
All but one of those games featured quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers and Wilson, two of the more accomplished play-callers in the NFL that have had mixed success against each other. Wilson has never won a game at Lambeau Field and similarly, Rodgers has not won a game in the Pacific Northwest since becoming a starter in 2008.
With the contest taking place at CenturyLink Field in Seattle, the Packers were facing a tough test – not to mention Green Bay have not won on the road at all this season. That certainly remained the case against the Seahawks, who used a late score in the fourth quarter to pull ahead.
Seattle are all too familiar with close games, as all five of their losses have come by one score. But, now the narrow margin favoured the Seahawks, who moved to 5-5 while the Packers slipped to 4-5-1.
Early efforts matter... but not on Thursday
Both Rodgers and Wilson are known for their fourth-quarter comebacks, and against one another, Wilson definitely has the edge.
But, there is another statistic that is just as impressive and yet had no barring in Thursday's contest. Since Wilson joined the league in 2012, the Seahawks have been a perfect 50-0 when leading by four or more points at the half.
However, against the Packers, the Seahawks make things a little more interesting.
Last time the Packers visited Seattle, during the 2014-15 season for the NFC Championship Game, Green Bay were up 16-0 at the half and ended up losing. This time around, Green Bay led Seattle 21-17 at the half and again, ended up losing.
The Seahawks made some big adjustments on both sides of the ball, and held the Packers to three second-half points while Seattle's offense put up 10. The defensive efforts complemented Wilson's, as the Packers had just three first downs in the second half compared to the nine the Seahawks had in the fourth quarter.
Wilson capped off comeback with a go-ahead score late in the game.
Three is always better than one
The Packers do not just have one star named Aaron, they have two. Running back Aaron Jones had a career-best performance last week – rushing for 145 yards and two touchdowns – but followed that up with 40 yards and one touchdown on 11 carries against a tough Seattle defense. He also had a receiving touchdown.
But, the Seahawks also had a weapon in the backfield.
It is a stark contrast to an offense that has struggled with the run since the departure of Marshawn Lynch in 2015. The once-dominant run game that powered Seattle to back-to-back Super Bowls had been stagnant the last two years with Wilson as the team's second-best rusher in 2016 and their leading rusher last season.
However, the Seahawks seemed to find a replacement for Beast Mode and it was not with just one running back – it was with three.
The trio of Chris Carson, Mike Davis and rookie Rashaad Penny has provided Wilson with much-needed support and put Seattle back at the top of the league standings. For the first time since 2014, the Seahawks boast the number one rushing offense in the NFL with 152.2 yards per game.
On Thursday against Green Bay, Seattle out-rushed the visiting Packers 173 yards to 48.
The Seahawks' efforts were led by Carson with 83 yards and one touchdown on 17 carries. Penny chipped in 46 yards on eight carries, and Davis had four touches for 26 yards.
It was a must win to keep playoff hopes alive
Both teams entered the season with high hopes, and now with more than half of their games played the Seahawks and Packers are not where they would have liked to be. But, their postseason hopes are not lost yet.
The Seahawks, if they can keep up their success, will have an easier route to the playoffs. Now at .500, Seattle will next face the 6-3 Panthers in Carolina for week 12 action and then host the Vikings two weeks later. Minnesota also have their sights on the playoffs and sit at 5-3-1 and in second place of the NFC North.
For Green Bay, however, things get a little more complicated.
Now below .500 with six games to go, the Packers will have a hard time trying to catch divisional opponents the Bears (6-3) and the Vikings. Chicago and Minnesota will face each other this week with the winner of that game becoming the favourite in the NFC North. Unfortunately for the Packers, the loser of that game would still be ahead of Green Bay for the final wild-card spot.
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