This is the most painful loss in the history of the Green Bay Packers, at least in my 45 years as a fan.
But we've had MORE than our share of terrible heartbreaks.
There was last year, at home, against the 49ers. A game that was close all the way through, tied with a few minutes to go, and Micah Hyde in position to possibly win the game with an Al Harris-type Pick-6 on the same sideline.
We laid an egg in the January 2012 home playoff loss to the Giants, coming off an almost-undefeated season where we were 13-0, ending 15-1.
There was the January 2010 overtime playoff loss in Arizona, where the Packers scored 45 points, but lost 51-45 in overtime as A) the defense was pathetic and made Kurt Warner have fewer incomplete passes in the game than touchdowns he threw, but a game that we still should have won had Rodgers not missed a wide-open Greg Jennings deep in overtime, and then later fumbled the game/season away in heartbreak, sudden-death fashion.
Of course, there was the game two years before that when the Super Bowl in Glendale, AZ again was a play away. This time it was Brett Favre who played a terrible game at home vs the Giants, and who threw it all away in overtime with his terrible interception. He had everyone open but Donald Driver, but that' who he planned on throwing it to when the play was called, and by golly he wasn't going to change his mind. He only does that on retirement.
We also have scars on our hearts from Favre's collapses in the Eagles, 4th & 26 game. After that lead was blown, that game too went to overtime, but that time we had the ball first. And we had a rushing game that had easily grounded out over 200 yards on the overmatched, smaller Eagles defense. It was Ahman Green, spelled by Najeh Davenport.
Of course, the ole Gunslinger decided to just chuck one up to start overtime, a basic lob pass deep to nobody, except Eagles safety Brian Dawkins.
There was also the loss at San Francisco, in what Niner Nation refers to as "The Catch II", where last play of the game (season for us), Steve Young found Terrell Owens somehow in the middle of 7 defenders.
So as well Packer fans know (all of us over the age of 20 or 30), is that losing playoff games painfully is nothing new.
But this is the worst of them all. For many reasons.
First of all, the Packers were in control of this game from start to finish. A 3-0 lead. Then a 6-0 lead. Then a 13-0 lead. Then a 16-0 lead.
Seattle was desperate. They could not score.
So desperate they tried the fake field goal. Those usually fail like going up in flames. Not this time. Why did Slocum not have his team preparedf or a fake? Coaches should be paranoid always for these things.
Imagine if they WERE prepared for it, and the guy was covered, and Davon House crushed Jon Ryan instead of blindly trying to go after the kicker.
Seattle fan would have booed, and the Hawk would have hung their heads in desperation. Pathetic.
But nope, it not only worked for a first down, it worked for a touchdown and 16-7 score now instead of 16-0 still.
Despite that, it was still 19-7 with 5:04 left when Morgan Burnett pick-6'd Russell Wilson to seal the game at 26-7 and punch the Packers Super Bowl ticket. Oh wait, Peppers put the "No Mas" Stop Sign up and Burnett slid down to the ground to make sure he didn't fumble. Now that is a brilliant, smart move - IF there is just a minute to go. But not over five minutes.
I suppose Peppers figured that with the MVP, Aaron Rodgers, that the Packers offense might actually get a first down or two and Ice the game. Sadly, Coach McCarthy didn’t want to risk a possible interception so he just kept calling conservative runs against 8, 9, 10-man fronts. McCarthy blames “execution” for the failed runs apparently, thinking that three guys should be able to open up a hole against five guys.
You know how the Packers loaded up the box in overtime to stop Marshawn Lynch, and it allowed the two inferior Seahawk WR’s to beat both Casey Hayward and then Tramon Williams for back-to-back 35 yard passes? The Packers chose to keep running on those situations, even with the MVP QB and better WRs than Seattle has.
Perhaps McCarthy didn’t trust Rodgers, who already had missed an easy touchdown pass to Nelson earlier, and who had thrown two awful interceptions, both in field goal range. Rodgers played no better than we saw from Matt Flynn many times last year.
I do not blame Tramon at all. That coverage was good, he had no help, and the pass was perfect. It goes to show you that if given a chance, a guy can make up for a lot of ills by coming up with a good play late in the game.
This is true for Russell Wilson.
And it would have been true for the Packers too had Brandon Bostick not made both a mental error and a physical error.
Number one, his assignment (his job) was to crush/block a Seahawk. In this case, it was Matthews for Seattle. All the other guys did their jobs there. Not Bostick. He wanted to make the catch, be the hero. Heck, my son could have caught that ball and he’s only 11. I would expect my son to catch that.
Bostick is a paid NFL player, supposed to have good hands. And he dropped it.
Had he just A) caught it, or B) let Jordy catch it, the Packers would have been able to run the clock down to about 45 seconds and punt. That would have been the worst case scenario. It’d doubtful the Packers would have gained a first down with McCarthy’s playcalling.
Still, with only 40 or so seconds and no timeouts left, Seattle would have really really needed a special miracle to score. But they could have, knowing what the Packers playoff history is like, and what already happened in this game. Still, they would have had to go 80-95 yards, depending on how Masthay’s punt was.