GREEN BAY, Wisconsin – Linebackers Preston Smith and Za’Darius Smith knew that dealing with Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson in Sunday's NFC Divisional playoff game at Lambeau Field would be an arduous task. But it was more exhausting than expected.
"It was like chasing a chicken in a field without a fence," said Preston Smith, adding, "This quarterback is a great quarterback. He knows how to crawl. It was definitely a cardio and endurance test tonight. We answered the test and passed it. ”
Barely. It was Preston Smith who released Wilson 3:22 minutes behind a critical third. It forced the Seahawks to trip who had touchdowns on their three previous properties.
Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay offense did the rest and ensured that the Packers could face off against the 49ers in Santa Clara, California, next Sunday for the NFC championship game.
The exhalation you heard from Lambeau Field came from a nervous crowd where Wilson could dodge throughout the game and dodge the Packers defenders. Sometimes it looked like a one-man show while keeping Seattle in play. Wilson would fit for 277 yards and a touchdown and was the Seahawks leading rusher with 64 yards on seven stretches, mostly desperate scrambles.
At halftime, he had the Seahawks 21: 3 behind by getting his team to drive 69, 84 and 79 meters to reduce the Green Bay lead to five points after Marshawn Lynch was 9 Minutes 33 seconds out of a meter had remained. The Seahawks attempted a two-point attempt, but failed.
When the Packers punted for their next ball, it felt like Wilson was ready to take a game-winning ride, especially after Tyler Lockett caught a 14-meter Wilson pass to start the ride. But Seattle hit a third and fifth goal at 42. This time when Wilson fell back to pass, he didn't escape when Preston Smith knocked him down for Packers fifth bag of the game.
On the sidelines he kept saying: 'I have to do a piece. I have to do a piece, "said Za & Darius Smith." It was the last game that mattered and it was a big game for the team. "
Preston Smith said he felt "electrified" after stopping after the Seahawks owned the Packers defense in the second half.
"I got it and brought it down," he said. "At that moment it was a big piece for our defense. It helped us get out of the field and put the ball back on our offensive so they could move the ball across the field and put us in a winning situation. "
That is exactly what happened. Rodgers transformed two third-down situations to reach 2:32. In third and eighth place at Packers 22, Rodgers threw a perfect pass for a 32-yard win and, above all, a first down on wide receiver Davante Adams.
Then, when Rodgers was in third and ninth place after the two-minute warning, he found Jimmy Graham in the middle and scored a perfect goal. After reviewing the spot, the packers were given a first down that ensured they ran out of time.
The Packers were impressed with Wilson.
"He's a guy who crawls and moves in his pocket. He had a couple of them," said Za'Darius Smith, who like Preston was a free agent signer and had two sacks involved. "But we have them Keep your nerve and move on to the next game and have won. "
Now the Packers, who have played their first playoff game in three years, are meeting the 49ers to take a trip to the Super Bowl.
"When we first signed here, I said we had the opportunity to do something great here," said Za & Darius. "To have a legendary quarterback [Rodgers] and with the players we have, it's good to see that all of the offensive and defense come together. "
Exhausting and intoxicating.