by Jordan Huenink
Last time the Packers traveled to Seattle to take on the Seahawks it wasn’t a pretty outcome for the Pack. The Seahawks were coming off a convincing Super Bowl win against one of the most potent offenses of all time in the Denver Broncos, and it was also the night they got to raise their championship banner. It was the first game of the 2014 NFL season, and the Pack were went packing by the score of 36-16.
Both teams find themselves at the top of the NFC, but it’s not the first time that’s been the case for these organizations.
Back in the day when players like Brett Favre, Matt Hasselbeck, Shaun Alexander and Ahman Green took the field, these two teams faced off in two of the greatest playoff games of all time. Let me correct myself. They faced off in two of MY favorite playoff games of all time. Let’s take a look back at these two, fantastic games.
2003 Playoffs – Wild Card Round
The Packers finished the 2003 season NFC North champions with a record of 10-6 and the #3 seed in the playoffs. Brett Favre finished the season with 32 touchdowns and 21 interceptions. (An enormous number compared to what we’ve now grown accustomed to with Aaron Rodgers.) Ahman Green was in the prime of his career having rushed for over 1,800 yards and 15 touchdowns on the season. He was a beast.
The Seahawks also went 10-6 to earn their Wild Card spot (5-1 in the NFC West) – the #5 seed. Matt Hasselbeck tossed 26 touchdowns and 15 interceptions on the season, while Shaun Alexander posted 1,435 yards rushing to go along with 14 touchdowns of his own.
The two teams had played at Lambeau back in Week 5. A game in which the Packers dispensed of the Seahawks by the score of 35-13. Favre threw two touchdowns, and Green rushed for two. Alexander had the lone, Seattle touchdown in the contest.
Like most Lambeau, playoff games, it was chilly. Game time temperature was 20 degrees with a wind chill of 7 at kickoff. The Packers were looking to avenge a 2002 home, playoff loss to Michael Vick and the Falcons – the organization’s first ever playoff loss at home. Head coach Mike Holmgren was on the sidelines, but for the visiting team. You can see the kind of storylines that were probably being reported by the media leading up to this game.
With the score at 6-3 in favor of the Seahawks, Favre found tight end Bubba Franks for a 23-yard touchdown pass for the game’s first touchdown. A Ryan Longwell field goal made it 13-6 heading into halftime.
Seattle came out with a strong drive to start the second half, and tied the game as Alexander converted a 4th and goal from the one yard line for the touchdown. He would then give the Seahawks the lead later in the quarter with another goal line score.
Ahman Green answered with a goal line touchdown of his own to tie the game at 20-20. He then found the end zone in the fourth quarter to give the Packers a late lead. But Hasselbeck orchestrated a comeback drive to tie the game with Alexander’s third touchdown of the game. A last-second Longwell field goal came up short for the win. The game was heading to overtime.
Then this happened.
2007 Playoffs – Divisional Round
The teams met again four years later in the second round of the playoffs, once again at Lambeau. The Packers rolled into the playoffs at 13-3 and NFC North Champs (despite two losses to Chicago). Seattle went 10-6 and won the NFC West.
While the quarterbacks stayed the same since their last, playoff meeting, the Packers now had Ryan Grant in the backfield rather than Ahman Green. Shaun Alexander was still with the Seahawks, but was injured for part of the year and had only tallied four touchdowns on the season. Grant rushed for 958 yards on the season and eight touchdowns.
The first thing that comes to mind when I think of this game was the snow. Despite a green field at kickoff, the snow quickly came down, turning Lambeau Field into a real-life snow globe. If I remember correctly, people had to run out on the field with shovels during timeouts to uncover the lines on the field. I also remember Favre throwing snowballs at Donald Driver with that childish glee on his face.
As for the game, Ryan Grant managed to put the Packers in an early, 14-0 hole. Grant fumbled on the first play of the game as well as on the team’s second drive. Seattle quickly struck with two, early touchdowns.
But from that point on, it was all Green Bay. The offense rattled off six, straight touchdown drives despite the barrage of snow. Favre threw two touchdowns to Greg Jennings and one to running back Brandon Jackson, while Grant redeemed himself in a big way with 201 yards rushing and three scores.
This game is memorable to me because it really encapsulated a lot of what the Packers were about at that time. The snowfall was a testament to the conditions of Lambeau, the snowball fights were the epitome of Favre’s boyish love of the game, and the score mirrored the dominance of the 2000s.
Check out these highlights from the game. Sorry for the crappy quality.
Thanks for taking a walk down memory lane with me. We now turn our attention to Sunday’s game against a Seattle team that is quite different than the ones from 2003 or 2007. We’ll dive into this match-up more as the week goes on.