THE CHEAP SEATS with STEVE CAMERON: Rodgers too much for Danger Russ to overcome

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All those rumors about Aaron Rodgers’ fading skills can be put to bed.

Along with the Seahawks’ Super Bowl dreams.

In an NFC playoff game that wound up almost dead even statistically Sunday night, Rodgers came out firing like a heat-seeking missile — then finished things up a few hours later with the icy calm of an executioner.

Rodgers’ performance lifted Green Bay to a 28-23 victory over the Seahawks on a sub-freezing night at Lambeau Field, and snatched away what might have been a historic comeback triumph for Russell Wilson and the Hawks.

Rodgers was sizzling from the start.

He threw a TD pass to Davante Adams and set up two more scores to send the Packers to the half with a comfy 21-3 lead.

Unable to run the ball or properly protect Wilson (who was sacked five times), the Seahawks looked utterly done at the beginning of the third quarter.

No doubt a lot of Seattle fans couldn’t bear to watch how bad it might get by the bitter end.

AH, BUT they should have known better.

Wilson was never, ever going to let the season end that way.

The first hint was Seattle taking the second-half kickoff and promptly marching 69 yards to a touchdown.

Despite being chased like a fox pursued by hounds, Wilson found receivers in all sorts of places — until he’d dragged the Seahawks to the Packers 1-yard line, where he let Marshawn Lynch take over.

Beast Mode’s TD seemed to wake up the Seahawks on both sides of the ball.

Despite even more injuries (safety Quandre Diggs, and end Jadaveon Clowney for part of the third quarter), Seattle hung tough defensively — for almost long enough.

The Hawks rarely stopped Rodgers on the critical downs, though, as Green Bay converted 9-of-13 third-down situations.

Ultimately, that would decide the game.

Not immediately, however.

Even though Rodgers fired another touchdown to Adams to regain the 18-point advantage for the Pack, Wilson was keeping pace and then some.

Dodging all over Wisconsin, Danger Russ rushed for 64 yards when Tyler Lockett, DK Metcalf or various other targets weren’t available.

The Seahawks cut the deficit to 28-17 on a TD pass from Wilson to Lockett, and then 28-23 on another bruising scoring run by Lynch — Seattle couldn’t punch in the two-point conversion.

BUT THEN came the moment of truth…

With plenty of time left in the fourth quarter, the Hawks finally teed off on Rodgers as twin brothers Shaquem and Shaquill Griffin combined on a third-down sack.

At that point, Seattle had scored touchdowns on all three second-half drives, so you could feel the momentum all the way from Lake Michigan to Puget Sound.

Sure enough, Wilson scrambled and threw to Lockett for a first down at the Seahawks 37.

The Packers were exhausted and on the ropes, but…

On the next play, Malik Turner dropped a pass right in his hands — giving up a gain of at least 15 yards.

An incompletion and a sack later, Seattle had to punt.

Rodgers, the man with the guillotine, took over from there.

A-Rod dropped a perfect ball over the top to Adams for 32 yards on third-and-nine, then managed to squeeze 9 yards out of a quick shot to Jimmy Graham on a third-and-nine from the Hawks 45 (if you believed the spot, then the replay).

And that was it.

Out of timeouts, the Seahawks could only listen to the roars — and watch their former teammate Graham standing on a bench while waving to the world.

Hey, though…

We got to see another Russell Wilson miracle Sunday night.

The Seahawks just didn’t win this one.


Steve Cameron’s “Cheap Seats” columns for The Press appear on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. He also contributes the “Zags Tracker” package on Gonzaga basketball each Tuesday.

Steve’s various tales from several decades in sports — “Moments, Memories and Madness” — run on Sundays.

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