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  Wednesday January 28th, 2015    

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On to Philly (01/07/2004)
By Dave DeLano

Dave Delano
It took sixty-three minutes of hard-hitting football to determine a winner, but the Packers eventually prevailed Sunday in overtime, pulling off a 33 - 27 thriller over the Seahawks. It was a great win, but even a better football game to watch" perhaps the best game of the season for cheeseheads and anyone who enjoys competitive professional football.

The game was played under tough conditions with the temperature at 20 degrees and winds swirling. Given these conditions and the fact that the Packers and the Seahawks both have stud running backs and powerful offensive lines, one would have expected grind-it-out offensive game plans from both squads. For whatever reasons, that was not to be, as this game turned into an aerial battle between Brett Favre and former Packer Matt Hasselbeck. Both quarterbacks played outstanding football games but it was Hasselbeck who committed the only turnover of the day on the last play of the game when Al Harris picked off his errant throw and ran it back for a 52-yard game-winning touchdown.

The game started slowly as both teams attempted to get their running games established. Both defenses were keyed against that happening. In the third quarter Seattle opened up a passing assault and took a 20 -13 lead with two long drives that ended in touchdowns. They did so utilizing quick set-up pass plays and running an assortment of quasi-legal pick routes which caught the Packers off guard. Kudos to the coaching genius of Mike Holmgren, who called some great plays. But Holmgren had something like eight balls dropped by his receivers, who obviously didn't prepare well for the confines of Lambeau in January. Their butterfingers may have been the difference in this game.

Favre played brilliant football Sunday and committed no turnovers. Favre threw the football for over 300 yards in his usual manner of finding multiple receivers. Javon Walker is quietly emerging as Green Bay's stud receiver. He was somewhat banged up for this game but nonetheless caught 5 balls for 111 yards. He has tremendous talent and it appears that Favre has confidence in him to throw the pigskin in his vicinity and let him use his athleticism to go up and make a play.

So with the game tied at the end of regulation it came down to sudden death. After a couple exchanges in possession, Hasselbeck threw a ball cross-field. Packer cornerback Al Harris read the break perfectly, stepped in front of the intended receiver, made the interception and ran it back for the game-winning touchdown. Game over.

So the Pack advance in the playoffs to Philadelphia where they will play the number one seeded Eagles in the late game next Sunday. The Eagles can be beaten, but to do so the Pack need to play a near perfect game in Philadelphia. The Packers need to get after the quarterback better than they did against the Seahawks. Look for more blitzes than this week. Conservative game plans don't work on the road this late in the season against good teams like the Eagles, so hopefully the Packers won't go that route.

Also look for Nick Barnett to "spy" on Philly QB Donavan McNabb who can single-handedly win football games if not accounted for when the Eagles have the ball. Josh Bidwell is going to have to punt the ball much better than he did against the Seahawks too. If those things happen and Favre and Ahman Green continue to perform as they are capable, the Pack just might upset the Eagles next week. Don't bet against it. Anything could happen this weird year. 


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