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Instant Reaction: 710 ESPN Seattle on Seahawks’ playoff loss to Packers

Seahawks QB Russell Wilson led a furious Seattle comeback attempt in Green Bay. (Getty)

The Seahawks’ season came to an end Sunday night with a 28-23 loss to the Packers in chilly Green Bay.

Packers 28, Seahawks 23: Recap | Glaring need3 key moments | Stats

As we do after each game, we have collected the thoughts of 710 ESPN Seattle’s voices on the Hawks’ defeat to get an idea of what they’ll be talking about on the air Monday.

Jim Moore – Bob, Dave and Moore

Yeah, they fell short but what a comeback. Down 21-3 at halftime and looking like they had no hope at all, the Seahawks rallied and might have won were it not for Green Bay’s success on third down (9 for 13) and a drop by Malik Turner on Seattle’s last possession.

It was a great battle of future Hall of Fame quarterbacks with Russell Wilson producing key scrambles and throws, getting his team back in the game. Because he does it so often, it shouldn’t surprise anyone anymore. What is surprising is that Wilson is now 0-4 in his career at Green Bay.

We no doubt saw the last of Marshawn Lynch, but he finished his last Seahawks game with two short touchdown runs on what was otherwise a tough night for Beast Mode on the ground.

It was really a terrific effort bordering on heroic by Jadeveon Clowney, who was all over the place, disrupting the Packers’ offense in spite of playing at less than 100 percent with a sports hernia.

I never thought the Seahawks would go this far with all of their injuries and a below-average defense, but they made it to the division round anyway and didn’t leave without a fight.

Stacy Rost – Tom, Jake and Stacy

Russell Wilson and the Seahawks strung together a valiant second-half effort against the Green Bay Packers, but it wasn’t enough to overcome quarterback Aaron Rodgers and a huge day from wide receiver Davante Adams.

Of course, it was former Seahawks tight end Jimmy Graham who caught the game-clinching third-down pass from Rodgers. Graham looked short of the first-down marker, but officials opted to stick with their ruling on the field. It’s a far from satisfying way to end a game – much less a season – and, I think, the wrong call. But the Seahawks also left plenty of opportunities on the field. Adams, the only Packers receiver with over 500 yards this season, bested Seattle’s defensive backs and finished with eight receptions for 160 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

The result is also a heartbreaking finale to what was an inspiring second-half rally led by Wilson, who finished with 64 rushing yards in addition to his 277 passing yards and one touchdown, not to mention efforts by left tackle Duane Brown and defensive end Jadeveon Clowney as the pair of starters battled through injury.

There are plenty of decisions with Seattle’s offseason officially underway: Will the team re-sign defensive end Jadeveon Clowney? Will they move on from a number of free agents, including linebacker Mychal Kendricks, defensive linemen Quinton Jefferson and Jarran Reed, and offensive linemen Germain Ifedi and Joey Hunt? And which side of the line of scrimmage – both struggled with injuries this season – gets top priority in April’s draft?

Bob Stelton – Bob, Dave and Moore

That turned into a typical, classic Seahawks game. The end result is not what we’ve been accustomed to this season but I can’t help but be proud of what this team accomplished, and more importantly what they overcame to get within one score of the NFC title game.

The fact they were in this game after that disastrous first half is a minor miracle. In typical Hawks fashion they got out of the gates slowly on both sides of the ball, but the second half should silence any remaining Russell Wilson doubters out there. In fact, this entire season should have silenced any Wilson doubters. He is the biggest reason they were even in the postseason and the biggest reason this was a close game at the end.

Once again the offense had no running game to speak of, allowing the Packers’ defense to attack a one-dimensional offense. Wilson had to make play after play to with his legs and his arm to keep this team competitive.

Aside from Wilson, Jadeveon Clowney showed just how tough he is by playing through that core injury. Duane Brown impressively played just a couple of weeks after his knee surgery. Bradley McDougald made some big plays throughout the game as well as Shaquill Griffin, Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf.

As for the defense overall – not good! Packers wide receiver Davante Adams destroyed this secondary and more specifically Tre Flowers for eight catches, 160 yards and two TDs. The Packers were 9 for 14 on third down and 3 for 3 in the red zone. You don’t need to look any further than that.

We’ll spend this next week talking about the plays they didn’t make and the next couple of months talking about where this team needs to improve, and there are quite a few spots. But that’s what made this season so special. There were third- and fourth-stringers (guys off of the street) all over the field in this game and all season long, along with a lot of youth, and they still were one score away from playing for a Super Bowl berth. That’s pretty impressive!

The Groz – Every day at 11:45 a.m. with John Clayton

All year it seemed the Seahawks were coming from behind and winning in thrilling fashion. In the end, an 18-point halftime deficit was too much for even Russell Wilson to overcome as the Seahawks season ended on the frozen tundra and the long offseason begins.

As for this game, the bottom line is it was for the Seahawks’ taking with a shade under five minutes to play – despite not being able to run the ball, despite not stopping the Packers on third down all game long, despite not forcing a turnover. A three-and-out with a key drop by Malik Turner and you found yourself asking your defense to do something they had not done with any consistency.

Is anyone besides me surprised they didn’t go for it on fourth down? I’d rather win it or lose it with my best player then trust a unit that had struggled all game.

That having been said, this was a successful season. It felt like it could be something really special at 10-2 but ultimately losing your rushing game for all intents and purposes was too much to overcome. Should be a very interesting offseason that starts with a decision on whether or not to bring back Clowney with a hefty contract. You will likely have to redo your offensive line to some extent as well. Either in the draft or through free agency you need another corner. There are some very good pieces in place and the Seahawks are going to remain a contender, but what could have been…

Lydia Cruz – The Blitz at 6

After a decade of listening to Pete Carroll, we know the importance of playing a full 60 minutes of football. You’ve heard the quote a thousand times. Can you win a game in the first quarter? No. Second? No. Third? STILL NO. Can you win a game in the fourth quarter? Well, heck yeah. But the danger lurking in that sentiment is that it puts more weight on the conclusion of a game than it does on the beginning. The first 30 minutes are just as integral to a team’s success. On Sunday, the Seahawks spent two quarters digging themselves an insurmountable Wisconsin snow trench.

Seattle had no answer for Davante Adams, who racked up 88 yards on six receptions and a TD by halftime. Green Bay went 5 for 7 on third downs in the first half after struggling repeatedly in that category this year. And while the Hawks kept the Eagles out of the end zone entirely last week, the Packers went 3-3 in the red zone before heading to the locker room.

By the second half, Seattle made adjustments. The defense limited Aaron Rodgers. Russell Wilson put the offense on his back. We got feisty Tyler Lockett on the field, and the Griffin twins’ blitz sack was one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen.

But coming back from an 18-point deficit proved too big an ask, even with an MVP quarterback. You can’t win a game in the first quarter, but it feels sometimes you can lose it.

Despite the loss, and the long plane ride home, this team outperformed expectations. Not their own of course, being the competitors they are. But this is a team that was cursed with a cavalcade of injuries. The Hawks were down to their fourth-string running back, two tight ends who didn’t start the year on their active roster, and a wounded and weathered offensive line. This group showed tremendous heart down the stretch and an ability to play for one another. This team was just plain fun.

Tom Wassell – Tom, Jake and Stacy

Any playoff loss is gonna be tough. Whether it’s a blowout, a close finish, a dropped ball, an officiating mistake or whatever else, they’re always difficult to swallow. Despair typically sets in moments after the game is over, followed by anger the next day when you listen to your favorite sports-talk radio show (uh-oh). It is helpful, however, to dissect what happened as a form of grieving so that we can move on to more important matters like… the combine?

It looked like the Packers were going to run away with this thing early. Aaron Rodgers and Aaron Jones were madmen out there. Jones is shifty and must be accounted for on every play, and Rodgers was Rodgers. Well, maybe not the 2011 MVP-caliber Rodgers, but when he’s determined, he’s still as dangerous as anyone in the league on a given day.

Oh, and let’s not forget Davante Adams, who to my eyes was the most destructive wide receiver the Seahawks faced all year long. The Seahawks just didn’t have an answer for him. He was open all night, especially early. The issue of talent in the secondary will be one that we discuss through the offseason, especially in the lead up to the draft. If this is going to ever be a Super Bowl-caliber defense, we need at least 1-2 guys who can handle a player that’s capable of that kind of performance.

Onto the comeback. Once the ball was put in Russell’s hands, everything changed. It begs the question, should they have done that sooner? We get into this conversation a lot. Normally, I’d say no because we have a running back in Chris Carson that needs to be fed the ball in order to make the offense work. Without him, though, it’s Russell’s show. Let him do what he needs to do. In Green Bay he used his legs to be elusive, to scramble, and to straight up sprint. He used his arm to make play after play. DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett did their usual chain-advancing routine and for a while in the third and fourth quarter made it look easy. Second and third downs became first downs, and when they entered the red zone, they executed. Marshawn barreled into the end zone twice and Lockett made a nice TD grab as well.

I understand that folks get frustrated with Malik Turner and Jacob Hollister when they drop passes, but let’s not get mad at Russell for throwing to those guys. If they’re open in critical situations, he has to go them. The alternative is to throw to Lockett or Metcalf, who are likely covered. If they’re open and Russ goes to less talented guys, get as mad as you want. Until I see the All-22 film, I’m not gonna start pointing fingers. That aside, I want to be clear: Malik Turner has to catch that pass. It hit him right in the chest. There’s no getting around it.

As for the decision to punt instead of going for it on fourth-and-11 with 3:11 left in the game, I think Pete did the right thing. He had all three timeouts and the two-minute warning. If they got the ball back and scored, there probably wouldn’t have been enough time for Rodgers to score again himself. If they go for it and fail, the Packers have a much easier chance to put the ball in the end zone themselves. They’d have started at the Seahawks’ 36 yard line. That’s just too close, but feel free to argue.

A couple of guys on defense had standout games. How about Bradley McDougald? Not just this game but last week as well. He was menacing in the backfield and made key tackles all over the place. Jadaveon Clowney was a warrior out there. He’s been dealing with this core injury but still gave it everything he had and came up with big plays throughout the game. K.J. Wright and Bobby Wagner were as steady as ever and Quinton Jefferson had a nice playoff run, concluding it with an unfortunate foot injury. And what a great moment for the Griffin brothers as they essentially combined for a huge sack of Rodgers on third-and-9, leading to the Seahawks’ final possession. Shaquem was credited with the sack, although Shaquill was there to finish it off.

Rough ending, but it’s been a pleasure watching this group of players all year long. Talk to you on the air Monday!

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