Luck happens when preparation meets opportunity. That’s exactly what happened in the NFC Championship Game between the Seattle Seahawks and Green Bay Packers Sunday afternoon. First name Russell…last name Wilson…That’s about the only two words that the Green Bay Packers will be uttering under their collective breaths while they’re watching the Super Bowl at home come Feb. 1.
Wilson did it again, this time stealing the thunder and the glory set up and reserved for Aaron Rodgers after the Green Bay Packers had raced out to a 16-0 halftime lead. Wilson and the Seahawks made the plays at the end of the game when it counted. Rodgers and the Packers did not. It’s that simple, although it looked for every reason in the world that the reign of the Seahawks as Super Bowl champions would come to a close with every ticking moment as the game entered its twilight stages.
The Super Bowl chariots awaited for Rodgers and the Packers with little more than four minutes left in the game as they still held a 19-7 advantage over the Seahawks, and was seeking to claim their first road playoff win since 2010, the last time they made it to the Big Dance.
But magic seemed to be in the air with Wilson at the quarterback position. Wilson and the Seahawks went out and snatched certain defeat to come away with another appointment date in the Super Bowl, the team’s second in consecutive years. It was beautiful to watch, unless you are a Green Bay Packers fan. But that’s why they play the game.
It’s not over until it’s over. That’s a life lesson, not just a football one.
And very much like life, in football, you don’t give up until the clock hits zero. It is why you play all the way through without giving up because you never know what can happen. Until the Fat Lady comes to microphone and starts wailing away, you still have to keep pushing through whatever adversity you’re going through.
The Packers had that lesson taught to them in a rude and abrupt way when Wilson got his groove back after he threw four interceptions and led the Seahawks back to the Super Bowl once he completed a 35-yard touchdown strike to Jermaine Kearse in overtime to win the game.
It was redemption time for Wilson, who was inept and simply ineffective for most of the contest. By all accounts, Wilson, up until the last four minutes of the game, probably had the worst outing of his career as an NFL player. But those tears Wilson shed at the end of the game showed the nation and the world that overcoming obstacles and perseverance are great attributes to master. Fortunately, for the Seahawks, Wilson has both.
By the way, Seattle wound up beating Green Bay by the score of 28-22. The thrilling ending of this game during the last four minutes offset the pedestrian flavor of the NFC title game in Seattle. On the road, the Packers had to play perfect to win. Up until the last four minutes they had a great game plan. That’s when things began to unravel.
The Packers went conservative and took the pedal off the metal, gave up two momentous touchdowns and a huge two-point attempt that allowed Seattle to take a quick 22-19 lead with 1: 25 left in the game. That’s not to mention the botched onside kick recovery that allowed the Seahawks a chance to score the go-ahead touchdown, punctuated by a thundering Marshawn Lynch run.
The Packers have only themselves to blame for this defeat. It was Rodgers and the Packers who blew a 16-0 halftime lead. They turned around and then squandered a 19-7 lead with little more than four minutes left in the game. Mr. Discount Double-Check man, for all of his glory as the best quarterback in the NFL, could only get his team into the endzone just one time against the Seahawks.
What will haunt Rodgers and the Packers for the rest of the offseason are the two point-blank scoring range chances they had against Seattle early in the game but was only able to muster two short field goals. The game was won and lost right then and there. It just took Wilson and the Seahawks a little bit more time to make the Packers pay for their missed opportunities.