For the third year in a row, the Seattle Seahawks will go on the road to play the Green Bay Packers, who’ve essentially become Seattle’s number one rival in the NFC in the Russell Wilson era (sorry Carolina, the rivalry is over).
Lambeau Field has been a bad place for the Seahawks for a long time. You have to go back to November 1st, 1999 for Seattle’s last (and only) successful trip to Green Bay. This was Mike Holmgren’s debut season as Seahawks head coach, and on Monday Night Football, his new team routed his old team 27-7 and improved to 5-2 on the year. Brett Favre committed six of Green Bay’s seven turnovers and was replaced in garbage time by some guy named Matt Hasselbeck. There used to be video of this game floating around on Youtube, but I guess it’s been removed. Seattle’s other two road wins over the Packers (in 1984 and 1990) were at the Milwaukee County Stadium and not Lambeau.
The Seahawks have yet to beat the Packers on the road in the 21st century, of which all but two seasons have occurred in the NFC. For perspective, the Seahawks have road wins over every other NFC team since 2002 except for Green Bay. Here’s a brief history of Seattle’s futility in Wisconsin.
October 5th, 2003: Packers 35 Seahawks 13
I always remember watching the old ESPN NFL Primetime highlights program, and every time the Seahawks were brought up, Chris Berman and Tom Jackson would often say, “C’mon Seattle!” as if to note that the Seahawks were on the cusp of being a contender, but never actually had meaningful wins to justify it.
The 2003 Seahawks came storming out of the gates with a 3-0 record, including a dramatic 24-23 comeback against what was essentially the most recent good Rams team. Coming off an early bye week, Seattle looked for its first 4-0 start in franchise history, and proceeded to get mowed down by the Packers offense. Green Bay punted on its opening drive, and by the time they had to punt again, they’d scored touchdowns on five straight possessions. The most exciting thing to happen for the Seahawks was Josh Brown converting on a 58-yard field goal just before halftime. An early fumble by Shaun Alexander put Seattle in a hole that they wouldn’t climb out of.
January 4th, 2004: Packers 33 Seahawks 27 (OT)
I don’t really need to remind you of what happened. Personally, I consider this play to be the moment “we want the ball and we’re gonna score!” went full circle. Probably also worth pointing out that after getting over 100 yards on the ground in their first meeting, Shaun Alexander rushed for three touchdowns but barely averaged over 2 yards per carry in the rematch, and in fact this was a game mostly defined by the success of both Hasselbeck and Favre. This was a classic Lambeau Field cold weather game and the Seahawks went toe-to-toe with the #5 team by DVOA.
January 1st, 2006: Packers 23 Seahawks 17
Truth be told, had the Seahawks played their first-team lineup from start to finish, they would’ve likely beaten the 4-12 Packers. They didn’t have to do so because they’d clinched the #1 seed, so the backups played virtually the entire 2nd half. Shaun Alexander broke the single-season touchdown record (which would last all of a year) in the 2nd quarter, and that is genuinely all I can remember from watching this game.
January 12th, 2008: Packers 42 Seahawks 20
It was going so well! The Seahawks forced a fumble on the opening play from scrimmage! Shaun Alexander plunged in for his final touchdown on the ensuing snap! Then Ryan Grant fumbled again! Bobby Engram put Seattle up 14-0! Could it get any better than this?
Nope. It got substantially worse.
Green Bay’s next six drives were as follows: Touchdown, Touchdown, Touchdown, Touchdown, Touchdown, and Touchdown.
Ryan Grant went from goat to hero, rushing for more than 200 yards and three touchdowns. Brian Russell and Jordan Babineaux collectively had the single worst performance I’ve ever seen from a Seahawks safety tandem. I knew the game was up when Favre was pulling off this typical Brett Favre bullsh-t.
Naturally, had they beaten the Packers, the Seahawks would’ve hosted the NFC Championship Game against the Giants. Grrrr.
December 27th, 2009: Packers 48 Seahawks 10
By this point, the Seahawks had looked like a team that had quit on its coach. Jim Mora was out of his depth and a dead man walking. Literally 100% of Seattle’s touchdowns in the team’s final four games were scored by John Carlson.
A young Aaron Rodgers was in his second season as Green Bay’s starter, and somehow he only went 12-of-23 against a horrendous Seahawks secondary. Of course, Seattle’s secondary still gave up 237 yards on those 12 completions, so Aaron had that going for him.
Matt Hasselbeck looked every bit like a quarterback who was past his sell-by date, and this interception (one of four he threw on the afternoon) was just comical. I don’t even know what’s going on here.
September 20th, 2015: Packers 27 Seahawks 17
The quick 10-0 start for Green Bay had the makings of a blowout. Seattle not only fought back, they took the lead 17-13 after Russell Wilson led touchdown drive on consecutive third quarter possessions. Unfortunately, the Seahawks were finished scoring for the day, and the defense got surgically picked apart. Aaron Rodgers completed 12 of his last 13 passes, including the go-ahead touchdown to Richard Rodgers in the 4th quarter. Any faint hope of a Seattle comeback died when Wilson got picked off on a screen pass by Jayrone Elliott.
Seattle’s overall offensive performance was mostly inefficient, and the defense just could not contain Randall Cobb (8 catches for 116 yards) whatsoever. The good news is that Kam Chancellor returned after the Seahawks went 0-2 without him.
December 11th, 2016: Packers 38 Seahawks 10
The 2017 edition of Seahawks-Packers figures to be the most intriguing regular season matchup to date, even more so now that Seattle has acquired Sheldon Richardson. They didn’t have Chancellor in 2015, then they were without Earl Thomas in 2016. Both men are healthy and ready to go, as are the top names on offense. Russell Wilson has thrown more interceptions (10) than touchdowns (8) in his five career starts against Green Bay, and he’ll be looking to atone for last year’s disastrous performance.
I’m looking forward to Seattle ending the Lambeau Field drought. It can be done and I think it will be done.