Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson made their anticipated return to the football field on Sunday afternoon -- Rodgers from COVID-19 and Wilson from injury. But the clash of All-Pro quarterbacks at Lambeau Field was anything but an offensive showcase, unless "offensive" is being used to mean "repulsive." In all seriousness, things weren't that bad between the Packers and the Seahawks, but they were pretty close. Wilson never got into a rhythm nor looked very comfortable coming off his finger injury, and while Rodgers wasn't a whole lot better, he at least had the support of a bruising AJ Dillon, the always-reliable Davante Adams and an opportunistic secondary; gutting it out to claim a 17-0 win over Seattle to improve to 8-2.
Here are some instant takeaways from Sunday's unusually sloppy affair between NFC contenders:
Why the Packers won
They were less bad than Seattle. OK, so that's maybe a little harsh, but they certainly didn't bring their "A" game for the Lambeau crowd in what might've once been considered a surefire playoff preview. And yet: Rodgers, for all his errant shots against a vulnerable Seahawks secondary, still kept Adams involved from start to finish. More importantly, he took a back seat to AJ Dillon, who stepped up for a slow-starting and then injured Aaron Jones to contribute both on the ground and through the air, using physicality to wear down Seattle's "D." The real reason Green Bay won, though? Their own defense, which capitalized on Russell Wilson's rustiness and absolutely swallowed up the Seahawks' attack, forcing Gerald Everett (!) to become Wilson's No. 1 target, rendering both DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett non-factors, and downing Wilson almost every time he lingered in the pocket.
Why the Seahawks lost
Russ was not himself. There's just no way other to put it. Wilson was supposed to come back in and basically save the Seahawks' season, but in a way, he might've blown it. Chalk it up to missed time, lingering injury effects or whatever, but Wilson was off the mark all day. The Packers weren't constantly in his face, but he played as if they were, under- and over-throwing targets on almost every drive. His two picks came at bad times, and both lingering injuries (Chris Carson, inactive) and new ones (DK Metcalf) didn't help. Neither did an absent wide receiver corps. Defensively, Seattle actually got big plays from guys like Jamal Adams and D.J. Reed, who fooled Rodgers in coverage, but on a day in which Wilson and Co. completely failed to build or sustain offensive momentum, the "D" needed to be perfect.
Third down, with 7:53 left in the third quarter, and the Seahawks were still without any points or, frankly, any signs of true offensive life. But they sat at the Green Bay 12-yard line thanks to Wilson's one deep pass to Metcalf to start the series. And then Wilson fired another ball Metcalf's way to try to extend the drive, and Kevin King picked it off, killing Seattle's chance at points. Rodgers would proceed to throw his own pick on the Packers' ensuing drive, but the Seahawks' turnover ended their last real shot to get back in the game.
Play of the game
This was an ugly one, so there wasn't much in the way of traditional big-play highlights. But Adrian Amos deserves props for basically playing wide receiver and snagging this one right out of Tyler Lockett's hands on the deep-ball pick of Russell Wilson:
The Packers (8-2) will hit the road for a divisional showdown with the Vikings (4-5) in Week 10, their first matchup with the rival this year. The Seahawks (3-6), meanwhile, will return home for another potential playoff preview with the Cardinals (8-2), who just lost to the Panthers without a healthy Kyler Murray.