GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers connected with Davante Adams eight times for 160 yards and two touchdowns, Green Bay’s spruced-up defense fended off a spirited Seattle rally, and the Packers held on for a 28-23 victory Sunday night to reach the NFC championship game for the third time in six years.
Aaron Jones rushed for 62 yards and two first-half scores for the Packers (14-3), who will travel next weekend to take on top-seeded San Francisco.
Russell Wilson carried the Seahawks (12-6) on yet another comeback, this time from a 21-3 halftime deficit, but the Packers forced a punt just before the two-minute warning on the second sack of the game by Preston Smith. That was Green Bay’s fifth of the game. Za’Darius Smith, the other big-money free agent added to the defense last spring, had two sacks himself.
The Seahawks never got the ball again.
Rodgers sealed the win with two third-down throws: first a 32-yard pass to Adams on third-and-8 with 2:19 left and then 9 yards to Jimmy Graham on third-and-9 right after the two-minute warning to take down a Seahawks team that was 8-1 on the road this season entering the game.
Rodgers exacted some payback for five years ago, when the Packers blew a 16-0 halftime lead in the NFC championship game at Seattle and lost 28-22 in overtime. The Seahawks haven’t been back to the conference title game since, let alone the Super Bowl. Rodgers is running out of time faster than Wilson, though, nine years after his only championship.
The Seahawks had just a plus-seven scoring margin during the regular season, making quite the habit of second-half rallies. Wilson did some of the finest work of his eight-year career in 2019, helping the Seahawks stay on track despite a steady stream of injuries, including the late setbacks in the backfield that prompted the emergency call for Marshawn Lynch.
Racking up 64 yards rushing on seven scrambles and completing 21 of 31 passes for 277 yards, Wilson directed touchdown drives of 69, 84, 79 right out of the gate after halftime. Lynch finished two of them with scores, and Wilson threw to Tyler Lockett for the other one.
Lynch’s second touchdown with 9:33 left cut the lead to 28-23, but Jaire Alexander blew up the 2-point conversion attempt with a sack on an unblocked blitz. The Packers gave the ball back to the Seahawks with a second consecutive punts, this time with 4:54 left at the Seattle 22, but Wilson ran out of tricks in his seemingly bottomless bag of them.
FORCEFUL FIRST HALF
The Seahawks brought their pass rush to life with seven sacks while grinding out a 17-9 win at Philadelphia last week in the wild card round, with Jadeveon Clowney making his presence felt including a hit that knocked Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz out of the game with a concussion. The Packers mostly kept Rodgers much better protected, though.
The Packers had three touchdown drives of 75 yards apiece over the first three quarters, plus a 60-yard march preceded by a missed 50-yard field goal try from Jason Myers.
Rodgers hasn’t had much help beyond Adams and Jones this season, but he and coach Matt LaFleur did a masterful job of getting them the ball with some Tyler Ervin and Jimmy Graham mixed in. On the opening possession, Adams and Geronimo Allison ran angled routes toward each other before faking the pick and zagging away. Seahawks cornerback Tre Flowers was caught in the confusion, allowing Adams to break free for the 20-yard score.
OH, NO, LAMBEAU
Seahawks fans have plenty of bad memories of their favorite team’s performances in Green Bay, with the losing streak at Lambeau Field now at nine straight games. The last such win for Seattle was on Nov. 1, 1999.
There was the hot mike that picked up Matt Hasselbeck’s ill-fated boast during the overtime coin toss that the Seahawks would win, preceding his pick-six in the 2003 playoffs. There was the blowout in the snow in the 2007 playoffs, which turned out to be Brett Favre’s final win for the Packers. There were also the regular season losses with Wilson in 2015, 2016 and 2017.
Seahawks: LG Mike Iupati was out with a neck injury, and Jamarco Jones left in the second quarter with a concussion. That forced rookie Phil Haynes into action. … Clowney, who has fought through a core muscle injury this season, was holding his midsection in the second quarter and briefly absent for the first TD run by Jones. … Backup DEs Ziggy Ansah (neck) and L.J. Collier were inactive, and DE Quinton Jefferson left with a foot injury in the third quarter.
Packers: RT Bryan Bulaga, one of six players the team reported this week as being limited by illness, was active for but did not play. Jared Veldheer replaced him. … FB Danny Vitale (ankle/illness) was inactive. … WR Allen Lazard hurt his ankle in the second quarter after Jones collided with the back of his right leg.
Seahawks: head into the offseason, needing replenish their depth on the offensive line and on defense while Wilson remains in his prime.
Packers: advance to their third NFC championship game in six years. They lost 37-8 on Nov. 24 to the 49ers, who beat Minnesota 27-10 on Saturday in their divisional round game.
GREEN BAY 28, SEATTLE 23
Seattle 3 0 14 6 — 23
Green Bay 7 14 7 0 — 28
GB_D.Adams 20 pass from Rodgers (Crosby kick), 10:37. Drive: 8 plays, 75 yards, 4:23. Key Plays: A.Jones 23 run; Rodgers 14 pass to D.Adams; Rodgers 13 pass to Graham on 3rd-and-8.Green Bay 7, Seattle 0.
Sea_FG Myers 45, :28. Drive: 6 plays, 32 yards, 1:38. Key Play: Wilson 28 pass to Lockett.Green Bay 7, Seattle 3.
GB_A.Jones 1 run (Crosby kick), 9:49. Drive: 9 plays, 75 yards, 5:39. Key Plays: Rodgers 11 pass to D.Adams; Rodgers 18 pass to D.Adams; Rodgers 15 pass to D.Adams; Shaqui.Griffin 18-yard defensive pass interference penalty.Green Bay 14, Seattle 3.
GB_A.Jones 1 run (Crosby kick), 1:30. Drive: 11 plays, 60 yards, 4:13. Key Plays: Ervin 18 run; Rodgers 10 pass to D.Adams; Clowney 14-yard face mask (15 yards) penalty; Rodgers 2 run on 3rd-and-1; Clowney 0-yard neutral zone infraction penalty on 3rd-and-1.Green Bay 21, Seattle 3.
Sea_Lynch 1 run (Myers kick), 9:44. Drive: 10 plays, 69 yards, 5:16. Key Plays: Homer kick return to Seattle 31; Wilson 22 run on 3rd-and-6; Wilson 24 pass to Metcalf; Wilson 3 pass to Hollister on 3rd-and-4; Wilson 4 pass to Lockett on 4th-and-1.Green Bay 21, Seattle 10.
GB_D.Adams 40 pass from Rodgers (Crosby kick), 7:09. Drive: 5 plays, 75 yards, 2:35. Key Play: Rodgers 27 pass to Graham on 3rd-and-6.Green Bay 28, Seattle 10.
Sea_Lockett 7 pass from Wilson (Myers kick), :39. Drive: 12 plays, 84 yards, 6:30. Key Plays: Homer kick return to Seattle 16; Wilson 13 pass to Lockett; Wilson 11 pass to Homer; Wilson 11 run; Wilson 9 run on 3rd-and-1.Green Bay 28, Seattle 17.
Sea_Lynch 1 run (pass failed), 9:33. Drive: 9 plays, 79 yards, 4:28. Key Plays: Wilson 19 pass to Lockett; Wilson 14 pass to Metcalf; Wilson 19 pass to Hollister; Wilson 16 pass to Homer.Green Bay 28, Seattle 23.
FIRST DOWNS 23 22
Rushing 8 7
Passing 15 12
Penalty 0 3
THIRD DOWN EFF 3-9 9-14
FOURTH DOWN EFF 1-1 0-0
TOTAL NET YARDS 375 344
Total Plays 60 59
Avg Gain 6.3 5.8
NET YARDS RUSHING 110 109
Rushes 24 30
Avg per rush 4.6 3.6
NET YARDS PASSING 265 235
Sacked-Yds lost 5-12 2-8
Gross-Yds passing 277 243
Completed-Att. 21-31 16-27
Had Intercepted 0 0
Yards-Pass Play 7.4 8.1
KICKOFFS-EndZone-TB 5-3-3 5-1-0
PUNTS-Avg. 3-53.7 4-43.3
Punts blocked 0 0
FGs-PATs blocked 0-0 0-0
TOTAL RETURN YARDAGE 107 28
Punt Returns 1-10 1-6
Kickoff Returns 5-97 2-22
Interceptions 0-0 0-0
PENALTIES-Yds 6-47 4-30
FUMBLES-Lost 0-0 0-0
TIME OF POSSESSION 30:31 29:29
RUSHING_Seattle, Wilson 7-64, Lynch 12-26, Homer 3-13, Moore 1-6, Willson 1-1. Green Bay, Jones 21-62, Ervin 2-25, Rodgers 5-14, Lazard 1-5, J.Williams 1-3.
PASSING_Seattle, Wilson 21-31-0-277. Green Bay, Rodgers 16-27-0-243.
RECEIVING_Seattle, Lockett 9-136, Hollister 5-47, Metcalf 4-59, Homer 2-27, Willson 1-8. Green Bay, D.Adams 8-160, Graham 3-49, Allison 1-11, J.Williams 1-9, Valdes-Scantling 1-8, Jones 1-4, Sternberger 1-2.
PUNT RETURNS_Seattle, Moore 1-10. Green Bay, Ervin 1-6.
KICKOFF RETURNS_Seattle, Homer 5-97. Green Bay, Ervin 1-12, Goodson 1-10.
TACKLES-ASSISTS-SACKS_Seattle, Flowers 5-2-0, Clowney 4-3-.5, Wright 4-3-.5, Wagner 4-1-0, McDougald 4-0-0, Diggs 3-1-0, Shaqui.Griffin 3-0-0, Reed 2-1-0, Shaque.Griffin 1-0-1, Amadi 1-0-0, Hill 1-0-0, Barton 0-3-0, Mone 0-2-0, Ford 0-1-0, Jackson 0-1-0. Green Bay, Martinez 7-3-0, Alexander 7-2-0, King 5-0-0, Savage 5-0-0, Amos 4-1-0, Clark 3-1-1, P.Smith 2-0-2, Z.Smith 2-0-2, Lancaster 1-1-0, Lowry 1-1-0, Campbell 1-0-0, Goodson 1-0-0, Sullivan 1-0-0, Burks 0-3-0, Gary 0-2-0.
INTERCEPTIONS_Seattle, None. Green Bay, None.
MISSED FIELD GOALS_Seattle, Myers 50.
OFFICIALS_Referee Clete Blakeman, Ump Ramon George, HL Dana McKenzie, LJ Jeff Bergman, FJ Aaron Santi, SJ Dale Shaw, BJ Perry Paganelli, Replay James Oldham.