Give credit to Seattle, but Green Bay choked

By Steve Sell
January 19, 2015

Monday’s musings...

• PACKERS CHOKED — Green Bay’s defense had been magnificent all game against Seattle on Sunday, throttling beast incarnate Marshawn Lynch and harassing normally mistake-free quarterback Russell Wilson into four interceptions.

Up 19-7 deep into the fourth quarter, it appeared the Packers were on their way to the Super Bowl in two weeks in Arizona.

Then they went prevent. And that prevented them from winning the game.

I just don’t understand teams when they abandon what got them the lead and try to play safe. The Packers played not to lose instead of playing to win. I give Seattle credit for the comeback, but this was a flat-out choke job. Good thing golf analyst Johnny Miller, who brings up the word “choke” as often as he does the word “shank,” wasn’t on the mic for this game.

A lot of people will say Green Bay lost this game when it didn’t score touchdowns on two possessions in the first half, settling for chippie field goals. 

No. This game was lost when the Packers whiffed on recovering an onside kick.

I knew at that point they were toast. Terror was etched on the faces of the Packers and the Seahawks turned into sharks. They smelled blood and went for the kill.

You have to hand it to Wilson. As miserable as he was for three-plus quarters, he played like a Hall of Famer when it mattered. He may not put up the numbers of a Rodgers, Brady or Manning, but the guy’s a winner. He’s a cool customer who has great belief in his teammates. His level head is a major reason the Seahawks are on the verge of repeating.

New England will be their opponent. We’ll be beaten over the head the next couple of weeks what a genius Bill Belichick is and that Tom Brady is Superman.

But Seattle is playing with such passion on defense that they’re going to make life difficult for the Patriots. Seattle is going to repeat because it doesn’t believe it can lose.

• LOOK WHO’S IN FIRST – A couple of weeks ago the Kansas State Wildcats were being lowered into the grave.

Marcus Foster was acting like petulant child, the Wildcats couldn’t score and the wolves were howling for Bruce Weber’s job.

After the smoke cleared Saturday, the Wildcats were alone in first place, though tied in the loss column with Kansas and Iowa State.

The KSU win over Baylor was huge. Kansas State rallied from 14 points down and scored its second victory over a top conference contender, having won at Oklahoma earlier.

K-State plays four ranked teams in a row, starting with a road game at Iowa State, which is practically unbeatable at Hilton. That’s followed by games against Oklahoma State, West Virginia and Kansas. 

If the Wildcats can go 3-1 or even 2-2 in this four-game gauntlet, they should be there until the end.

• KCAC MEN’S RACE ALSO CLOSE — If the season continues at its current pace, Friends’ Dale Faber will be a unanimous pick for KCAC Coach of the Year.

After being bankrupted of his talent due to graduation off a national tourney team, all Faber has done is guide the Falcons to a 6-2 record, good for a first-place tie with Tabor. Southwestern, Saint Mary and Bethany are a game back as it’s a five-team cluster.

Friends is probably middle of the pack in terms of talent, as it clearly pales in comparison to the other four contenders. But Faber’s team plays at a methodical pace and its defense is difficult to penetrate. 

I’m not sure if the Falcons have the staying power. But at least for the first time through the KCAC — the halfway point occurs on Wednesday — they’re clearly the surprise team so far.