Packers Take Care Of Business

By Troy A. Sparks, BASN Staff Reporter
Updated: December 27, 2009

GREEN BAY (BASN) — There wasn’t time for Green Bay to worry about the Carolina Panthers, who did the Packers a favor with their 41-9 win over the New York Giants Sunday.

When the Green and Gold had to take care of business, they did so in a 48-10 beatdown at Lambeau Field over the Seattle Seahawks to grab one of the two NFC Wild Card berths.

It was pretty much a do-or-die situation for Green Bay (10-5).

Their chances to make the postseason since 2007 were slim. The combination of their win and the Giants’ loss gave the Packers one of the two spots.

The other wild-card berth will be decided between Dallas and Philadelphia. One of those teams will win the division and the other will get the wild-card.

So what kind of gifts did Seattle quarterback Matt “We’ll take the ball and we’re gonna score” Hasselbeck give the Packers? How about four interceptions and three sacks?

For those who don’t remember that quote, Hasselbeck ran his mouth after Seattle won the coin flip to begin overtime in the 2003 wild-card playoff game at Lambeau, which was tied at 27-all.

He threw a game-winning interception to cornerback Al Harris, who ran 52 yards to the end zone in the 33-27 victory.

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers went over the 4,000 yard mark for the second straight year. Receiver Greg Jennings went over 1,000 yards again and running back Ryan Grant got 1,200-plus yards.

All three surpassed those marks last year.

“I can’t say enough about Aaron Rodgers in his two seasons,” Green Bay head coach Mike McCarthy said. “He’s gone out and done the job and I can’t say enough positive things about Aaron and his body of work the last two years.”

Other than a Seattle field goal in the second quarter, Green Bay dominated from the beginning. Two first half rushing touchdowns by Grant of 3 and 56 yards, one by running back Brandon Jackson on a 13-yard reception and a 29-yard field goal by Mason Crosby gave the Packers a 24-3 lead at the break.

In the second half, the Green Bay offense kept piling on the points. Jackson got two more rushing touchdowns.

Another Crosby field goal and a 6-yard score by running back Ahman Green was enough for the Seahawks to throw in the white towel – which were given to the Green Bay fans, who waved them. Seattle scored a touchdown late in the fourth quarter.

Crosby made all his extra point kicks.

His confidence was boosted when he made a 52-yard kick in the fourth quarter. Lately, he’s been criticized for missing close “bunnies” between the goalposts, including one that could’ve won the game last week at Pittsburgh.

“It feels good,” Crosby said of making the kick. “It’s my job, and that’s how I approached it (last) week. I’m ready to just keep going.”

For Green Bay, their second half turnaround from a 4-4 record and winning six of their last seven was incredible. It was the first time the Packers made the playoffs this decade with a different quarterback.

“It feels great,” McCarthy said. “Our focus all along was to get to the 10 wins, and fortunately with 10 wins, we’re in the playoffs.”

Added Rodgers: “The second half of the season we’ve been putting it together. Guys are excited in the locker room. But we realize it’s just the beginning for us.”

“To get in the playoffs, it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity,” said receiver Donald Driver. “Not too many people get this opportunity. It’s only 16 teams (actually 12) that get in. We’re glad to be one of them.”

Green Bay will finish their regular season next Sunday at Arizona. “I don’t care,” Driver said when asked if the Packers preferred the Cardinals or Philadelphia in the postseason. “We’re just happy to be in.”

Tight end Jermichael Finley appreciated the help from the Panthers. “I need to call (Carolina),” he said. “I don’t have any (connections) in Carolina, but if I did, I would call them and tell them thanks for that win.”

The sense of urgency fell on the shoulders of the Packers, according to safety Atari Bigby. “I think it was tremendously important, because the goal is to make it to the playoffs,” Bigby said. “We went out there and did that. We’re on a mission, and we’re halfway done.”

Seattle receiver Deion Branch thinks Green Bay could be a dangerous team in the playoffs. “I think they’ll be all right,” he said. “It’s all about matchups and who they’re playing. I think coach McCarthy knows what he’s doing, and they have a good solid offense and a pretty good defense, so they’ll be good.”

Grant finished with 97 yards on 16 carries and two touchdowns.

Green had a touchdown and Jackson’s one receiving and two rushing touchdowns came from Green Bay’s backfield. The Packers outgained the Seahawks (5-10) 417-291. Rodgers completed 12 of 23 passes for 237 yards with a sack, touchdown and no interceptions. Hasselbeck was 19 for 37 for 198 yards.

He was intercepted four times and sacked three times.