Seahawks' Jermaine Kearse catches the game winning touchdown
pass against Green Bay Packers' Tramon Williams during overtime
of the NFL football NFC Championship game, Sunday, Jan. 18,
2015, in Seattle. The Seahawks won 28-22 to advance to Super
GREEN BAY — Safety
Micah Hyde stayed away from watching TV.
Receiver Randall Cobb
felt as if he was having nightmares.
Josh Sitton wished his team hadn't even made the playoffs.
Before the Green Bay
Packers can move on to their offseason routines, they must first get
over a stunning collapse to the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC title
This loss will sting
for a while after coming agonizingly close to advancing to the Super
"It's going to
be tough," Sitton said Monday as players cleared out lockers at
Lambeau Field. "And when it's the last one it's very difficult to
get over, you feel like it's a waste of seven, eight months.
Bay Packers' Randall Cobb (18) is tackled by Seattle Seahawks'
Earl Thomas (29) during the first half of the NFL football NFC
Championship game Sunday, Jan. 18, 2015, in Seattle.
point of getting this far?" the Pro Bowl guard added. "I'd
have rather not even made the playoffs."
The 2014 season was
highlighted by an MVP-caliber year for quarterback Aaron Rodgers and a
fourth straight NFC North title. Strong starts on offense led to
blowout wins in October and November; tweaks at midseason made the
defense stronger against the run.
In the end, the
Packers (13-5) just couldn't finish in a 28-22 loss to the Seahawks.
Green Bay led 16-0 at
halftime, and 19-7 with 10:53 left in the game. They still led by five
with 2:09 left even after quarterback Russell Wilson's 1-yard
An onside kick
slipped through the hands of Green Bay's Brandon Bostick and Seattle
But there were plenty
of other plays that contributed to the meltdown.
Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy talks to quarterback Aaron
Rodgers (12) during the first half of the NFL football NFC
Championship game against the Seattle Seahawks Sunday, Jan. 18,
2015, in Seattle.
The Packers twice had
to settle for short field goals after getting stopped in the first
quarter near the goal line following Seattle turnovers. Special teams
allowed a touchdown pass on a fake field goal in the third quarter.
The offense went
three-and-out on two straight drives with less than 7 minutes left in
of 10 plays you can pick that if we get it, we win the game,"
Sitton said. "It's frustrating when you should have won the game
and you're the better team and I thought we were the better team all
day except for 3 minutes."
Bay Packers' Micah Hyde, left, returns a punt during the first
half of the NFL football NFC Championship game against the
Seattle Seahawks Sunday, Jan. 18, 2015, in Seattle.
Here are some
takeaways as the Packers head into the offseason:
COBB: Among potential
free agents, Cobb by far had the biggest season. The fourth-year
receiver finished with career bests of 91 catches in the regular
season for 1,287 yards and 12 touchdowns.
The 5-foot-10 Cobb
turned into an elusive threat in the red zone and consistently made
tough catches over the middle. He finished with 15 receptions for 178
yards and a score in the postseason.
"I didn't really
get much sleep last night. It felt like a nightmare whenever I did
fall asleep. ... For us to be done with the season," Cobb said
Monday before pausing a couple of seconds to collect his thoughts,
"it's kind of blindsiding."
Cobb wants to stay.
Besides Jordy Nelson, the Packers don't have any other veterans at
receiver for Rodgers going into 2015.
secondary could see some changes if the Packers don't re-sign veteran
cornerback Tramon Williams. The contracts of Davon House, who played
well against taller receivers, and special teams ace Jarrett Bush are
also expiring. Sam Shields and Casey Hayward are veteran cornerbacks
under contract through next year or beyond.
quarterback, who turned 31 in December, is in his prime. He has talked
often about how legacies are shaped in the postseason.
Slowed by a left calf
injury late in the season, Rodgers seems as if he'll go into the
offseason as motivated as ever.
"Think about it
and stay with it and move on and start getting ready for the offseason
program," Rodgers said on Sunday. "This one's going to hurt
for a while because of the close proximity of feeling that feeling
when the clock hits zero and you're ahead. We gave it away."
OFFENSIVE LINE: The
play of the front five was one of the biggest success stories in Green
Bay. The group, which included rookie center Corey Linsley, improved
as the season went on in spite of lingering injuries to guards Sitton
and T.J. Lang.
Linsley and left
tackle David Bakhtiari are emerging anchors to go with the veteran
guards. Right tackle Bryan Bulaga is due to become a free agent.
LINEBACKER: A move
giving Clay Matthews more snaps at inside linebacker at midseason
helped improve what had been a league-worst run defense and sparked
the unit's second-half resurgence. It is unclear if coach Mike
McCarthy views Matthews as a permanent fix at inside linebacker, or if
he wants to return the long-haired veteran to his more customary role
rushing from the outside.