Posted on: February 24, 2010 2:07 pm
Edited on: March 1, 2010 2:26 pm
Week 16: Packers vs. Seahawks; W 48-10; 10-5
After a heart breaker in Pittsburgh the Pack just had to win one of their last two games to ensure a playoff spot. The Seahawks never proposed a threat as the Packers shot out to a 24-3 lead at the half and completely dominated the Hawks. The Pack air attack wasn't the dominating offensive presence for the first time this year as Rodgers only had 237 yards and 1 touchdown, and was only sacked once. However, the ground game was outstanding combining for 153 yards with Ryan Grant leading the way with 97 yards and two touchdowns, Ahman Green had 29 yards and 1 touchdown, and Brandon Jackson had 20 yards and two touchdowns. Greg Jennings led the receivers with 4 catches for 111 yards and Rodgers one TD throw went to Jackson giving him 3 total touchdowns. The defense was all the more impressive as the picked off Matt Hasselbeck 4 times. Atari Bigby led with 2 picks and Nick Barnett led with 6 tackles and 1 sack. The Pack were now in and with the close of week 16 it became aware that week 17 against the Cardinals didn't matter at all because win or lose the Pack were heading to Phoenix for the Wild Card game.
Week 17: Packers at Cardinals; W 33-7; 11-5
The question that arose for week 17 was how would these two teams play each other knowing there would be a rematch just a week later. It didn't take long to figure out what Mike McCarthy had planned. The Pack didn't change a thing and played the way they had for the past 7 weeks shooting out to a 26-0 half time lead which was more than enough when the game was over. Aaron Rodgers went 21 of 26 for 237 yards, one touchdown, and also rushed for a score, and was sacked only once. Grant went for 51 yards and one touchdown. Donald Driver led with 6 catches for 65 and Jermichael Finley grabbed Rodgers one TD throw. A.J. Hawk led with 6 tackles and the defense gathered in 3 picks one of which was returned for a TD by Charles Woodson. In a game that didn't mean much the Pack looked great but were playing against the second and third teams of the Cardinals most of the game. Still many were confident that the Pack could put together the first playoff win in the Aaron Rodgers era.
Wild Card Round: Packers at Cardinals; L 45-51
Rodgers started off his first playoff start on a bad note throwing a pick on the very first play from scrimmage which led to a Tim Hightower score. On their second possession Driver fumbled on the second play which led to a Kurt Warner touchdown pass. On their third possession the Pack gained a first down then were forced to punt which led to a Neil Rackers field goal. On their fourth possession Mason Crosby's struggles continued as he missed a 54 yard field goal wide right in the second quarter. On the Cardinals' third play of the drive Woodson forced Larry Fitzgerald to fumble which was recovered by Clay Matthews and led to an Rodgers score on the ground. However, the Cardinal marched right down the field and Warner passed to Early Doucet for each of their second touchdowns. Then the Packs ensuing possession led to a Mason Crosby field goal at the end of the half as they trailed 24-10.
To start the second half the Cardinal marched down the field again as Warner threw to Fitzgerald for the touchdown. On the Pack ensuing possession Rodger marched them down and threw a TD pass to Jennings. The Pack the successfully recovered an onside kick and Rodgers again threw a touchdown to Jordy Nelson. The Cardinals then went down the field in four plays ending with a Warner touchdown pass to Fitzgerald. At the end of the third quarter the Pack trailed 38-24.
The third play of the fourth quarter found Rodgers throwing his third touchdown pass to James Jones. The Cardinals were then forced to punt and in three plays the Pack marched down the field and capped off the drive with a John Khun 1 yard touchdown run. With the score now tied at 38 the Cardinals simply moved down the field in 11 plays capped off with a Warner pass to Steve Breaston. The Pack then answered with a Rodgers pass to Spence Havner for a touchdown for the final score of regulation. At 45-45 the Pack got the ball in overtime first. Already with some officiating calls in question Aaron Rodgers found himself being sacked on the fourth play of OT and the ball being knocked out of his hands as Karl Dansby grabbed the ball and took it in for the game winning touchdown.
I'm not here to argue whether or not there were missed calls or anything like that. The Packer offense played great and the defense was awful. With so much controversy around the close of the game we forget that the Pack lost this game on their own. All game long the Cardinals did what ever they wanted on offense and the Packer offense showed its greatest weakness when Rodgers was sacked.