Packers vs. Seahawks final score, takeaways: Wilson rescues Seattle, McCarthy dooms Green Bay

Two former frontrunners, both of whom have produced a Lombardi Trophy in the past decade with their current coach and quarterback, have been reduced to nothing more than fringe playoff teams simply fighting to keep their postseason aspirations alive. On Thursday night, when the Packers and Seahawks met in Seattle for what could only be considered a must-win game between two teams projected to only just barely miss the playoffs, seasons were on the line.

The Seahawks came out slow, fell into a 14-3 hole, but fought back to take a 17-14 lead before the game turned into a seesaw, enthralling affair between two teams pushed to the edge of the playoff cliff. It was the Seahawks who emerged with a crucial 27-24 win that pushed their record to 5-5 and dropped the Packers to 4-5-1 thanks to a dominant second half against a coach who sabotaged his own team's chances to pull out a win.

The Packers jumped out all over the Seahawks. After the first quarter, the Packers led 14-3 and were out-gaining the Seahawks 157-74. But the Seahawks struck back, taking a 17-14 lead in the second quarter before surrendering a late touchdown just before halftime, which gave the Packers a 21-17 lead at the break. 

The defenses owned the third quarter. A deadlock ensued. The two teams exchanged field goals in the fourth quarter before Russell Wilson put the Seahawks up three with just over five minutes remaining. On the Packers' ensuring drive, they faced a fourth-and-2 from their own 33-yard line. Even though only four-ish minutes remained and he had only one timeout remaining, Packers coach Mike McCarthy opted to punt the ball away, denying his all-time great quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, a chance to go win the game. The Packers never got the ball back, as the Seahawks ran out the clock on the game and quite possibly the Packers' season.

As a result, the Seahawks took an important step toward the sixth and final playoff spot in the NFC. They continue to play like a playoff-caliber team, even if their record doesn't demonstrate it. All five of their losses have been by one score. Finally, on Thursday night, a close game went in their favor. 

As it stands, both teams are chasing the 5-3-1 Vikings for the second wild card slot. But the Seahawks put themselves in a position to chase down the Vikings. They gained minimal, but important separation from the Packers. 

For that, the Seahawks shouldn't just thank Wilson, who was marvelous down the stretch after submitting an otherwise uneven performance, and their defense, which shut down the Packers' offense in the second half. 

They should also thank McCarthy, whose decision-making late in the fourth quarter cost the Packers. First, McCarthy failed to recognize that a challenge likely would've wiped away a 34-yard completion on the Seahawks' go-ahead drive. Then, he decided to punt on fourth-and-2 instead of giving his quarterback a chance to go win the game. It was symbolic of the way the past couple years of the McCarthy-Rodgers era has unfolded in Green Bay: the conservative coach letting down his out-of-this-world quarterback. 

What happened on Thursday night won't help McCarthy get off the hot seat. Instead, it should only be used as more ammunition to support his dismissal. 

On the Friday edition of the Pick Six Podcast, Will Brinson is joined by Bryant McFadden to break down their thoughts on the Seahawks' Thursday night win before he, Pete Prisco and R.J. White make their picks against the spread for every other Week 11 game:

Aaron Rodgers is still amazing

There's simply no way to put into words how much more talented Rodgers is than the other 31 starting quarterbacks around the league. He makes throws that should be impossible look ordinary. He does it so often that it'd be easy to simply applaud him and move on, but we shouldn't move on so quickly. He's not human.

Rodgers finished 21 of 30 for 332 yards (11.1 yards per attempt), two touchdowns, no picks, and a 128.8 passer rating. Don't blame Rodgers for the loss. If only he could've gotten one more chance to lead the Packers to a come-from-behind win.

In the first quarter, with the Packers holding a 7-3 lead, Rodgers unleashed a 54-yard bomb on the run to [checks Packers roster] someone named Robert Tonyan, who came down with the touchdown. According to NFL Research, Rodgers leads the league in 50-yard plays this season.

In the fourth quarter, when the Packers needed a play to hold off the Seahawks, who had just trimmed the deficit to one point, Rodgers dropped in this beauty 50-plus yards downfield to convert a monumental third down. According to ESPN Stats & Info, only Rodgers, Ben Roethlisberger, and Nick Foles (lol) have completed two passes that traveled 50-plus yards in the air in one game since 2006.

Look at that ball placement. The ball hits the hand of the defender, which was in Davante Adams' lap.

But Rodgers never got the chance he deserved to pull off another comeback. After the Seahawks took the lead, McCarthy took the ball out of Rodgers' hands on a fourth-and-2. Rodgers never touched the ball again. 

Wilson starts slow, finishes strong

Wilson looked erratic for much of the proceedings, but he finished with his best stuff. He completed 21 of 31 passes for 225 yards (7.3 YPA), two touchdowns, no picks, and a 110.3 passer rating. 

He missed Doug Baldwin for an easy score in the first quarter, sailing his throw to the wide-open receiver.

At the end of the first half, as the Seahawks tried to mount a last-ditch scoring drive, he made a bizarre decision to scramble even though they didn't have any timeouts remaining. To make matters worse, he then tried to lateral the ball at the end of play, but the ball predictably traveled forward and out of bounds, resulting in a penalty and a 10-second runoff.

It's not that Wilson was awful in the early going. Even at his worst, he's still capable of making game-changing plays. But he's not usually this erratic.

He made up for it in the fourth quarter, making back-to-back huge throws to Tyler Lockett when the Seahawks trailed by four points and desperately needed a touchdown. A couple plays later, Wilson produced that touchdown, hitting Ed Dickson up the seam for the game-winning score with 5:08 to go.

About one of those completions to Lockett, though: It probably shouldn't have counted.

Fox / NFL Network

But the Packers didn't challenge the call on the field.

Between his refusal to challenge that play and his conservativeness on the Packers' next offensive series, it's becoming increasingly clear that McCarthy is holding back the Packers. Missing the playoffs -- a path the Packers appear to be on -- won't help McCarthy get off the hot seat. Neither will the two decisions he made in the fourth quarter of the Packers' latest disappointing loss.

Aaron Jones continues his ascent

Why it took the Packers this long to feature Jones is unknown, but now that they finally appear to be willing to let him operate as their primary running back, they're being rewarded. During his first four games of the season, Jones totaled 188 rushing yards on 32 carries (5.9 yards per carry). Over the past four games, Jones has totaled 346 rushing yards on 52 carries (6.6 YPC).

Jones experienced another successful outing on Thursday night, registering two touchdowns and 103 yards from scrimmage.

He got the scoring started with a touchdown run. Give the offensive line credit for clearing the way.

Late in the first half, he got on the board again with this touchdown catch. Running a vertical route coming out of the backfield, Jones caught a linebacker flat-footed in coverage and just ran straight past him.

Keep Jones plugged into your fantasy lineups down the stretch. He's in the midst of a breakout. 

Seahawks stick with the run

The Seahawks entered the week with the best rushing attack in football, averaging an NFL-high 152.2 rushing yards per game. Sure enough, they kept with their run-heavy approach for much of Thursday night's game.

On the Seahawks' third series, after the Packers missed a field goal, rookie running back Rashaad Penny submitted one of the best runs of the season, picking up 30 yards on a run that required him to traverse the entire field. According to NFL Next Gen Stats (via ESPN's Brady Henderson), Penny covered 82.3 yards on that run.

You won't see many runs more exciting than this one:

Penny left the game with an ankle injury that he picked up on that run, but he returned later in the first half. He finished with 46 yards on eight carries. After a slow start to his career, Penny's beginning to show signs of life. In his first eight games, he accumulated 146 yards on 42 carries (3.5 yards per carry). Last week, he racked up 108 yards on 12 carries (9.0 YPC). On Thursday night, he averaged 5.8 yards per carry.

Chris Carson should remain the Seahawks' starter, but Penny is starting to look like an important contributor as the Seahawks prepare for the final stretch of the season. With the Seahawks running the ball as often as they are, having two starting-caliber running backs matters tremendously.  

Carson put the Seahawks ahead 17-14 with this touchdown run.

In all, Carson ran for 83 yards on 17 carries. As a team, the Seahawks put up 173 rushing yards on 35 attempts (4.9 YPC). 

It can be frustrating at times to watch the Seahawks run the ball on first down over and over again. But their running backs continue to produce. Then again, there's a very fair argument to be made that Carson's production made the drafting of Penny in the first round completely unnecessary, but that's an argument for another day.

Doug Baldwin might be healthy

Baldwin's spent the season fighting through knee issues, so it was notable when he said during the week that he's finally pain free for the first time this season. What he did on Thursday night was especially notable.

Baldwin caught seven passes for 52 yards. There was a slick one-handed catch.

And there was a smooth touchdown.

Through his first seven games, Baldwin caught only 23 passes for 275 yards and zero touchdowns. So, it goes without saying that a healthy Baldwin could be exactly what the Seahawks need as they try to make a late postseason push.

Fackrell continues impressive season

The Packers have a budding star on defense who continues to fly under the radar. If he keeps playing like this in primetime, he won't remain anonymous.

Kyler Fackrell destroyed the Seahawks' defensive front with three sacks and four tackles for a loss. On the season, he now has eight sacks. He had five total sacks during the first two years of his career.

He's developed into a force on the defensive front.

Packers lose three to injury

Tough night for the Packers on the injury front. They lost cornerback Bashaud Breeland (groin), tight end Jimmy Graham (thumb), and defensive end Mike Daniels (foot) to game-ending injuries. All three are important players. All three would be huge losses if their absences extend beyond Thursday night.

What's next?

In their biggest game of their season, the Packers face the Vikings in Minnesota next week. When the two teams met earlier this year, the game ended in a tie after a controversial penalty gifted the Vikings a chance to come back on the Packers. It's worth noting that the Packers also face the Bears later this season. So, they get to play the two teams they're trailing in the division.

As for the Seahawks, they face a difficult test when they travel to Carolina to take on the Panthers. After an easier game against the 49ers, the Seahawks will get their own taste of the Vikings in Week 14.

Relive the game with our live blog below.

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