There is a lot to say about the outcome of the “Monday Night Football” game. Most of it has to do with the refs. People have been asking my opinion all day, and it can be summed up like this: This whole thing kinda sucks. That’s … kinda all I got.
With the refs and their union talking for the fourth straight day, maybe something will work itself out. Hopefully. Would be tough to go through another week like this. So, plenty more to say, but with the NFL’s statement, one thing is clear: The game is over.
We’ll still talk about it — on NFL.com we now have more than 25 (and growing) headlines, videos or links directly or indirectly related to Seahawks 14(ish), Packers 12 — but nothing is changing about the result. So, let’s start the process of turning the page and begin to think about what else we learned in a pretty stunning game.
Want a rundown of other stuff on a non-refereeing tip? Let’s go …
— The Seahawks’ defense can get after it. I don’t know what it is about those NFC West teams, but they can play defense. The way Seattle does it is interesting. As one personnel man in the league pointed out to me last night, it’s like a college defense. Light, fast and disruptive. The NFL is about passing now, and the best defenses can cover and pressure (as opposed to stop the run). Just like Pete Carroll’s groups at USC. As it turned out, Seattle stopped the run, too, but that’s not the overall goal. Guys like DE Chris Clemons (four sacks) and rookie DE Bruce Irvin (two sacks) introduced themselves to America.
— Packers coach Mike McCarthy is right that he was slow to change his offensive philosophy by having QB Aaron Rodgers just fire away in the first half. The last 30 minutes were different. Running back Cedric Benson had 15 carries in the second half after carrying twice in the first half. Nice balance, and it stopped the Seahawks’ propensity to sack. The problem? The Packers really aren’t a balanced team. They are a passing team. Sure, they were committed to the run in the final 30 minutes. But they didn’t even run it that well. If the Packers can’t protect better when they are throwing, they will see a lot more like the first half yesterday.
— On the other hand, lots of class and savvy shown by the Packers in the locker room after the game. McCarthy announced that he wasn’t taking any officiating questions, declining to walk the line. Aaron Rodgers kept his cool, going short on his presser with pursed lips. Even WR Greg Jennings, who seemed primed to say anything, stuck with saying, “The refs did a great job.” Then, of course, there were those on Twitter who didn’t quite use discretion. But that’s a whole different story.
— Is there a better hardcore runner than Marshawn Lynch? If I was one of those corny dudes, I’d call him Marshawn Lynchpail. See what I did there? Anyway, I’d have a hard time imagining someone who runs harder with less care for the hits he takes. That fourth-and-2 carry, where he kept his legs moving and essentially carried B.J. Raji on his back was just unreal. If he was anywhere else, the respect for his unbelievable grit would be a non-stop topic, because this happens a lot. But, alas, he’s in Seattle — and he did have 98 yards rushing last night. Also, when scouting, I don’t know how you’d measure this. There’s not category at the combine for ability to gain three key yards while carrying a 360-pounder on your back.
— I don’t know what Seahawks WR Golden Tate is supposed to say. But among the things not to say: I didn’t push off and I obviously caught it. Sigh. At least smile when you say it. Even Tom Brady does that for the Tuck Rule. Same goes for the Seahawks. It was a win, officially, but it’s just strange to see them celebrate it as if there was no controversy.
— As Seahawks CB Kam Chancellor points out, the game never really should’ve gotten to that point it did on the final play. On a critical third down, he was called for a pass-interference penalty that was, well, not PI. It just wasn’t. And yet, it continued a Packers drive that led to their go-ahead TD. It wasn’t the only bad call, and who knows what would’ve happened after that. Just saying, it’s not all on that last play. Just most of the blame.
— For the second time in three games, Seattle QB Russell Wilson kinda struggled. Sure, he’s helped by that late TD pass, and yes, he did lead his team to a win. But there were definitely issues moving the ball, and they didn’t have a first down in the third quarter. Wilson is a great story, but he did eke out that QB race. Right now, Wilson is No. 23 in completion percentage among QBs. He’s propped up by that defense, but he’s still a rookie. I can’t help but wonder what Matt Flynn would do. Easy to forget he’s still there.