Seahawks 28, Packers 22 (OT)
The Packers looked well on their way to shocking the world and beating down the Seahawks in their own house, but ultimately settling for a pair of field goals after driving to the goal line left them vulnerable. A non-existent Seattle offense showed up after halftime, generating 15 points in the final four minutes and another six in overtime to erase a 16-0 halftime deficit and return to defend their Super Bowl title.
Extra points: The first 56 minutes of the game couldn’t have gone much worse for Russell Wilson (14-29-209-1-4), who did virtually none of the things that make him either the league’s best game manager or an elite difference-making quarterback, depending on your preferred spin. Marshawn Lynch (25-157-1, 1-26 receiving) put the offense on his back and kept the Seahawks hanging around; it’s impossible to imagine this team having anywhere close to the success they’ve enjoyed if they let Beast Mode walk in the offseason. The need for elite receivers—or at least receivers that strike fear into the hearts of opposing DBs—remained obvious, though eventually Doug Baldwin (6-106) stood out and Jermaine Kearse (1-35-1) rewarded Wilson for the four previous throws directed his way that were intercepted by cradling a picture-perfect game-winning strike down the middle of the field.
Plenty of places to point fingers, but you can start with two early Green Bay drives that resulted in two very short field goals instead of touchdowns. And perhaps most frustrating was that Eddie Lacy (21-73) handled the ball on just half of the snaps inside the 10—though that’s kind of been the Packers’ MO all season, a definite point of contention for Lacy’s fantasy owners. Whether or not Aaron Rodgers (19-34-178-1-2, 1-12 rushing) was hurt, he was once again reduced to ordinary on the road. Jody Nelson (5-71) and Randall Cobb (7-62-1) handled the bulk of the receiving duties, though as per usual their stats suffer alongside Rodgers’ away from Lambeau. Perhaps we finally have a winner in the tight end battle, however, as Richard Rodgers (4-35) outshone everyone but Nelson and Cobb in this tilt.
Patriots 45, Colts 7
Regardless of whether or not the Patriots took the air out of the footballs Sunday, they took the life out of the Colts in just about every facet of the game as they raced to a 14-0 lead and then really stepped on the gas after halftime. Indy couldn’t come up with an answer on either side of the ball as they fell in New England, with the outcome of the game barely in doubt over the final 45 minutes of game play.
Extra points: The last time New England routed Indy it was all about Jonas Gray (4-4); this time around it was LeGarrette Blount (30-148-3) doing the heavy lifting, running over, around, and through an overmatched Colts defense. Of course, Tom Brady (23-35-226-3-1, 3-13 rushing) got in on the action as well, spreading the ball around to not just his usual underwhelming cast of receivers but adding tackle-eligible Nate Solder (1-16-1) and lightly-used fullback James Develin (1-1-1) to the proceedings. Among those who usually catch the ball, Rob Gronkowski (3-28-1) was mostly quiet while Julian Edelman (9-98) saw the bulk of the catches.
Though the Patriots didn’t record a sack it was still a rough day all around for Andrew Luck (12-33-126-0-2, 4-18 rushing). Playing from behind from the outset the Colts had no opportunity to get the ground game going, even though Dan Herron (10-51, 2-11 receiving) averaged better than five yards every time he touched the ball and something called Zurlon Tipton (5-14-1, 1-4 receiving) scored the team’s lone touchdown. TY Hilton (1-36) was shut down again as the Colts completed only two passes to wideouts for the game (Hakeem Nicks (1-15) recorded the other), with neither Donte Moncrief nor Reggie Wayne anywhere to be found (three fruitless targets between them). Tight ends Dwayne Allen (4-30) and Coby Fleener (3-30) picked up the slack, but it was far too little, far too late.