Aaron Rodgers makes two clutch passes to keep Russell Wilson on sideline, Packers survive Seahawks

Imagine if the Seattle Seahawks would allow Russell Wilson to be Russell Wilson before they dig a big hole.

The Seahawks like to establish the run, and plenty of their games follow the same script. They fall behind, have to turn things over to their future Hall of Fame quarterback, and Wilson plays out of his mind to drag the Seahawks back in the game.

Sometimes, he doesn’t have the time to dig Seattle out of its hole. Seattle fell behind 21-3, rallied to put a scare into the Green Bay Packers, but eventually came up just short in a 28-23 loss. The Packers move on to face the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC championship game next Sunday, with a spot in the Super Bowl on the line.

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Seattle was terrible early in the game, and the Packers looked like they’d have an easy win. It was anything but easy in the fourth quarter. The Packers’ future Hall of Fame quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, made the two clutch throws he needed to make to keep Wilson on the sideline in the end.

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Aaron Rodgers through his career
Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers during a game between the Green Bay Packers and Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, New York on November 5, 2006. Buffalo won 24-10. (Photo by Mark Konezny/Getty Images)
19 October 2008: Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) with center Scott Wells (63) blocking prepares to throw a touchdown pass against the Indianapolis Colts in the second quarter. The Packers defeated the Colts 34-14. (Photo by Allen Fredrickson /Icon SMI/Icon Sport Media via Getty Images)
13 December 2009: Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers looks for a receiver during the Green Bay Packers 21-14 win over the Chicago Bears at the Soldier Field, in Chicago, Illinois, USA. (Photo by Christophe Elise/Icon SMI/Icon Sport Media via Getty Images)
GREEN BAY, WI - CIRCA 2011: In this handout image provided by the NFL, Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers poses for his NFL headshot circa 2011 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by NFL via Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - FEBRUARY 06: Jordy Nelson #87 and Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers celebrate after a 29 yard touchdown pass against the Pittsburgh Steelers during Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium on February 6, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers celebrates at the end of Super Bowl XLV where the Green Bay Packers beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, February 6, 2011. (Ron T. Ennis/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/MCT via Getty Images)
GREEN BAY, WI - FEBRUARY 08: Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers addresses the fans at Lambeau Field during the Packers victory ceremony on February 8, 2011 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Matt Ludtke/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 13: NFL player Aaron Rodgers and actor Justin Timberlake present the ESPY for Best Male College Athlete during The 2011 ESPY Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on July 13, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) throws the ball downfield in second half action. The Colts defeated the Green Bay Packers 30-27 on Sunday, October 7, 2012, in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Sam Riche/MCT via Getty Images)
GREEN BAY, WI - DECEMBER 22: Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers poses with a fan before a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Lambeau Field on December 22, 2013 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Steelers defeated the Packers 38-31. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
ST LOUIS, MO - AUGUST 16: Quarterback Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers warms up prior to the preseason game against the St. Louis Rams at Edward Jones Dome on August 16, 2014 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 14: Quarterback Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers drops back to pass during the NFL game against the New York Jets at Lambeau Field on September 14, 2014 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers defeated the Jets 31-24. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
MIAMI GARDENS, FL - OCTOBER 12: Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers walks up the field against the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium on October 12, 2014 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
GREEN BAY, WI - NOVEMBER 16: Quarterback Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers reacts while looking to pass against the Philadelphia Eagles during the third quarter of the game at Lambeau Field on November 16, 2014 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)
GREEN BAY, WI - NOVEMBER 30: Quarterback Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots walks away from Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers after shaking hands following the NFL game at Lambeau Field on November 30, 2014 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers defeated the Patriots 26-21. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA - JANUARY 18: Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers waits to run out to the field before taking on the Seattle Seahawks in the 2015 NFC Championship game at CenturyLink Field on January 18, 2015 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 22: NFL player Aaron Rodgers (L) and actress Olivia Munn attend the 2015 Vanity Fair Oscar Party hosted by Graydon Carter at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on February 22, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Larry Busacca/VF15/Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CA - OCTOBER 04: Quarterback Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers looks on from the sidelines during their NFL game against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium on October 4, 2015 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
GREEN BAY, WI - OCTOBER 18: Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers looks to the sideline during a game against the San Diego Chargers at Lambeau Field on October 18, 2015 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Green Bay defeated San Diego 27-20. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - NOVEMBER 8: Quarterback Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers passes during a NFL game against the Carolina Panthers at Bank Of America Stadium on November 8, 2015 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Ronald C. Modra/Sports Imagery/Getty Images)
LANDOVER, MD - JANUARY 10: Quarterback Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers signals against the Washington Redskins in the first quarter during the NFC Wild Card Playoff game at FedExField on January 10, 2016 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 13: Actress Olivia Munn and NFL player Aaron Rodgers arrive at The 2016 ESPYS at Microsoft Theater on July 13, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Gregg DeGuire/WireImage)
JACKSONVILLE, FL - SEPTEMBER 11: Quarterback Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers passes during a NFL game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field on September 11, 2016 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by John Capella/Sports Imagery/ Getty Images)
GREEN BAY, WI - DECEMBER 04: Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers stands on the field in the third quarter against the Houston Texans at Lambeau Field on December 4, 2016 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - JANUARY 15: Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers throws a pass in the first half during the NFC Divisional Playoff Game against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium on January 15, 2017 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - JANUARY 15: Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers reacts after a touchdown during the NFC Divisional Playoff game against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium on January 15, 2017 in Arlington, Texas. The Packers defeated the Cowboys 34-31. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 12: NFL player Aaron Rodgers attends The 2017 ESPYS at Microsoft Theater on July 12, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images)
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) breaks the tackle by Dallas Cowboys defensive end Damontre Moore (58) during the second half at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on Sunday, Oct. 8, 2017. The Packers won, 35-31. (Jim Cowsert/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/TNS via Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 17: Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers warms up before their game against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on December 17, 2017 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
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Packers started hot

Early on, it looked like a Packers rout.

Green Bay took an early 7-0 lead on a 20-yard pass from Aaron Rodgers to Davante Adams. Then it was 14-3 on a 1-yard Aaron Jones touchdown run, and 21-3 after another 1-yard touchdown by Jones. The Seahawks scored to start the second half but when Adams answered with a 40-yard touchdown catch it seemed everything had calmed down for the Packers. They led 28-10.

But Wilson, when allowed to carry the Seahawks offense by the coaches, can do special things. Wilson kept making plays and slowly got the Seahawks back in the game. When Marshawn Lynch scored his second touchdown, Seattle had cut the Packers’ lead to 28-23.

Green Bay got a bit of a drive going after that, but a third-down Shaquem Griffin sack on a blitz brought out the punt team for the Packers. Wilson was getting the ball back with about five minutes left, and that’s more than enough time for him.

Russell Wilson almost leads Seahawks back

There had to be some flashbacks to the NFC championship game from five seasons ago. The Packers led the Seahawks 19-7 in the final few minutes, and somehow lost. A lot has changed since then, and that game was in Seattle and not Green Bay, but it was hard to not draw some parallels.

Preston Smith’s sack of Wilson with a little more than three minutes left shut down that drive. The Seahawks punted instead of going for it on fourth-and-11, hoping the defense could get the ball back and give Wilson one more shot at the win.

It almost happened. The Packers had a third-and-8 just before the two-minute warning. And Rodgers made a vintage Rodgers throw, lofting one to Adams with two Seahawks defenders chasing him for a 32-yard gain. Adams had 160 receiving yards, a Packers postseason record. Then on another third down, Rodgers delivered a pass under pressure to Jimmy Graham for the first down — he got a favorable spot that the Seahawks didn’t agree with — and the Packers could run out the clock.

The Packers aren’t relying on Rodgers as much as they have in the past, but he’s still capable of making great plays. Had he not dropped that pass to Adams, or hit Graham over the middle, it seemed inevitable Wilson would drive the Seahawks right downfield with the game on the line.

Rodgers made sure that didn’t happen. Perhaps if the Seahawks would lean on Wilson before they’re in desperation mode, they wouldn’t have had to worry about Rodgers slamming the door on them.

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