The Seattle Seahawks entered Thursday night as the fourth most efficient red zone offense in the NFL, scoring touchdowns 73.08% of the time when they get inside their opponent’s 20-yard line. In a massive game against the Green Bay Packers, they faced a team allowing the most red zone possessions per game on the road, at 4.5.
For a Seahawks team that’s struggled to move the ball at times in 2018, finishing drives when they do get near the goal line has been crucial to staying in, or getting back into games. That trend had to continue in Seattle’s biggest game of the year, and it did, as the Seahawks won 27-24—despite seeing just three possessions in the red zone.
The first came on Seattle’s fifth drive of the game, facing a 14-3 deficit. Doug Baldwin and Chris Carson did most of the work moving the Seahawks down a long field, a facemask penalty gave Seattle 1st and goal from the Packers’ 2-yard line (a false start would move them back), and two targets to Baldwin later, the Seahawks closed Green Bay’s lead to 14-10.
Seattle’s second trip to the red zone was helped by a 48-yard pass interference penalty, which got them to the Packers’ 22-yard line. Three plays later, Carson had punched it in from the one-yard line. Two-for-two in the red zone, and a 17-10 lead.
The Seahawks’ final red zone trip came on their penultimate drive, down 24-20 and in need of a score. Tyler Lockett picked up 52 yards on back-to-back plays to get Seattle inside Green Bay’s 20, before Wilson found Ed Dickson galloping over the middle. Another lead, and this time they wouldn’t give it up.
(Shoutout to my former colleague, Sam Gold. Can always depend on Sam for in-game clips.)
In what was essentially a loser-goes-home game (or as much as one can be in mid-November), the Seahawks took advantage of the opportunities they got. In a three point victory, even one red zone possession ending in a field goal could have made all the difference. Instead, Seattle and Russell Wilson punched all three trips into the end zone, and boosted their wildcard hopes in a huge way.