After the Seahawks took the lead late in the fourth quarter, Seattle’s defense took the field to try to protect it against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. And while the defense got ready to make what would be their final stop in an impressive second half performance, left tackle Duane Brown had a message for the offense.
“When we get the ball back, we’ve got to end it,” Brown told his teammates on the sideline as the defense was forcing a Packers three-and-out. “We can’t give that offense the ball again. Our running game is too good, we’re too physical; we’ve got to stay on the field.”
And after the Packers punted, the Seahawks took over with 4 minutes, 11 seconds on the clock hoping to do just what Brown was asking. With everyone in the stadium knowing the Seahawks were going to run the ball, Mike Davis took a handoff and ran for 5 yards on first down. On the next play, Russell Wilson kept the ball on a zone-read play, ran for 8 yards and a first down, then wisely slid to stay in bounds, forcing the Packers to use their final timeout. The next play was another Davis run that gained four yards, then on second-and-6, Davis ran for 7 yards to put the game on ice, allowing Wilson to take a knee three times to secure a 27-24 victory that was massive for Seattle’s playoff hopes.
In other words, with the Seahawks wanting to run the ball, and with the Packers knowing full well that the Seahawks were going to run the ball, Seattle didn’t even need all three downs to pick up a pair of game-clinching first downs.
For all the many things Pete Carroll loves to see his team do well, being able to run 4-plus minutes off the clock to win a game ranks very, very high on the list.
“We get the ball back with like 4:15 or whatever, and then we run the clock out,” Carroll said. “That’s as good as you can do. I love it.”
Of all the many reasons the Seahawks want to be balanced on offense, being able to finish games off like that is one of the biggest. While Seattle’s defense did well to stop the Packers once and protect the lead, it would have been a big ask to request yet another stop against one of the NFL’s best quarterbacks with the game on the line. But rather than give the ball back to Rodgers, Seattle’s offense punctuated yet another great night of running the ball with four game-clinching runs.
In the end, the Seahawks rushed for 173 yards, led by Chris Carson’s 83, their seventh straight game of rushing for more than 150 yards. Seattle’s faith in its running game is why everyone on the Seahawks sideline was happy to see the Packers decide to punt on fourth-and-2. It wasn’t that the Seahawks weren’t confident that their defense could come up with a play on fourth down if needed, it was that they had so much belief in their ability to close out the game with their offense.
“I really did like that they punted the ball to us right there, because we knew we had a shot to kill the game if we could, and kill the clock, and we did it,” Carroll said. “The thing about that that’s important is our belief in the running game, and we get the ball in that situation. It was like, ‘Oh here we go, this is our time, it’s four-minute time. Thrilled to see that happen. The mentality that’s coming around in those guys up front and the runners and all that, it’s really important, it’s obviously really valuable too, and it’s great to see that happen.”
Receiver Doug Baldwin said he “had no doubt” that the game was over when the Packers punted with just over four minutes on the clock and one timeout remaining.
“With the talent we have on offense, there was no doubt in my mind we were going to finish it,” Baldwin said.
Added center Justin Britt: “That’s what we strive for. That’s the exclamation point to what our day had been. We take a lot of pride in that. We understand at that moment, four-minute offense, the offensive line is putting the team on its back and saying, ‘Don’t worry, we’ve got it.’ The defense did a hell of a job in the second half, then to do that and not make them go back out there, we enjoy that.”
Game action photos from the Seahawks' 27-24 win against the Green Bay Packers in Week 11 of the 2018 NFL season.