As far as the weather was concerned, it was a lovely day for football in Green Bay as two NFC Super Bowl contenders squared-off in Lambeau Field. Unfortunately, it wasn’t such a fine day during the game as Seattle earned an opening season ‘L’ in their 17-9 road loss to the Packers.
But fear not Seahawks’ faithful, Seattle played well enough to win. Outside of the offensive line production that is. The defense came to play sacking Packers QB Aaron Rodgers 4 times in the first half and added an interception return for a TD…until a penalty negated said TD.
Seattle intercepted a pass and rookie defensive tackle Nazair Jones returned an Aaron Rodgers toss 64 yards for a TD.
On the play, the refs called Cliff Avril for an illegal block above the waist as the defensive end chased down and, slightly, pushed Rodgers as he was chasing down Jones. On the play, Jeremy Lane was disqualified from the game for a phantom punch as he wrestled with a Packer as the two fell to the ground.
The ejection of Lane put the Seahawks at a defensive disadvantage the remainder of the contest.
Both teams played a sound, tight opening half and scoring opportunities were limited.
Just when it looked like the half would end with a scoreless tie (the last time being 2004 when Green Bay faced the Giants) Seattle put together a scoring drive that started on their own 11-yard line with only :53 seconds on the clock.
After a few C.J. Procise runs earned Seattle a first down, Russell Wilson then found Doug Baldwin for a 34-yard pass completion down the right side. Then, on the next play, Wilson scrambled 29 yards down to the Packers 15 before the drive stalled and Blair Walsh was called in to kick the 33-yard boot.
With that, the half ended 3-0 as the teams exited the field to the locker room at the break.
The Packers aggressive defense put pressure on an overmatched Seattle offensive line and the Seahawks managed only 90 yards on the ground. 40 of those came on the legs of the QB Russell Wilson. The long bright spot was the rookie Chris Carson who churned out 39 yards on 6 carries and displayed some shiftiness and speed when running the ball. He looks ready to carry more of the load.
Offseason acquisition and former Packer, running back Eddie Lacy was ineffective rushing 6 times for 3 yards.
Doug Baldwin was the leading receiver on the day for Seattle grabbing 4 passes for 63 yards.
Tight end Jimmy Graham caught 3 passes for 8 yards but was involved in a potential game impacting non-call of pass interference late in the contest when he was mugged by two Packers in the corner of the end zone.
Subsequently, the Russell Wilson pass landed in the white stripe of the back end zone and the refs called the pass uncatchable. But, the 6’7″ Graham wasn’t given the opportunity to elevate for an attempt and the lack of flag was disappointing.
The Seahawks’ opening drive of the second half proved costly for Seattle as the Packers’ defensive pressure turned the tide in Green Bay’s favor.
With a 3rd-and-18 on Seattle’s 13 yard-line, Wilson fumbled the ball when attempting to escape the Green Bay rush. The Packers recovered and set-up shop on the Seattle 6-yard line.
On the following play Packers running back Ty Montgomery took a handoff over left tackle and churned his way into the end zone for six. Mason Crosby kicked the PAT and the Packers took their first lead of the game at 7-3.
Seattle answered with a nice drive that went 71 yards in 11 plays but stalled on the Green Bay 3. Blair Walsh was once again called upon to kick a field goal, of which he did and Seattle closed the deficit to 7-6
But as good as the Seahawks’ defense was throughout the game, Seattle needed to contain Rodgers and Green Bay one more time, but could not.
Green Bay extended their lead beyond reach when Rodgers led the Packers on a 9-play, 75-yard drive that ended with a Jordy Nelson 32-yard pass reception and score. With the PAT, Green Bay extended their lead to 14-6.
The teams then traded field goals down the stretch with Seattle cutting the lead to 17-9 with 1:44 to go on a Walsh 41-yard boot.
In the End
Things got chippy in the closing moments as the Packers were driving to run out the clock and seal the win.
On a 2nd-and-8, Rodgers scrambled to pick-up the first down but dove head first to gain the yards. Green Bay’s Martelius Bennett took exception to the Seahawks KJ Wright tackle and pushed Wright to the ground after the play.
Green Bay earned the first down they needed to keep the drive going but was assessed penalty yardage.
The game-ender came on a Rodgers roll-out to the right and completion to Martellus Bennett up the right side for a 26-yard gain. Three kneel-downs later, the Packers had the win and Seattle was left with questioning what could have been.
Starting running back Thomas Rawls was listed as a game-time decision, but ultimately was held-out as of the contest.
The last time Packers QB Aaron Rodgers was sacked 4 times in the opening half of a game was 9/24/12, when Green Bay visited Seattle.
Seattle returns home to face the NFC West division rival San Fransisco 49ers (0-1) for a Sunday afternoon game in CentruyLink Field.