Defense can’t do it all as Seahawks lose opener to Packers, 17-9
Seattle’s defense did what it could, but for the sixth straight time in the Seahawks-Packers rivalry, the home team won.
Green Bay took advantage of a costly fumble by Russell Wilson to find the end zone for the first time, and Aaron Rodgers and company remained a step ahead the rest of the way to win the season opener for both teams, 17-9.
The Seahawks failed to score a single touchdown in the game as their offensive line struggled out of the gate. And while the defensive line looked very impressive in its first game with Sheldon Richardson, Seattle’s defenders eventually wore out spending too much time on the grass at Lambeau Field.
Here’s a breakdown of each quarter.
Seahawks 0, Packers 0
The gist: The Seahawks and Packers finished the first 15 minutes of the season scoreless, which is probably more of a positive for Seattle than Green Bay considering how many things didn’t go the Seahawks’ way. The good news: Rookie defensive tackle Nazair Jones picked off Aaron Rodgers to end Green Bay’s first offensive series. The bad news: Not only was Jones’ return to the end zone called back for a pair of penalties, but cornerback Jeremy Lane was ejected for throwing a punch on the return in retaliation for being pulled down by his facemask by Packers receiver Davante Adams. That’s far from the only negative. Seattle’s offensive line didn’t do much to assuage fears that it will again be the team’s biggest issue this season, as left tackle Rees Odhiambo twice allowed Russell Wilson to be pressured by Green Bay linebacker Nick Perry on the opening drive, including a sack on third down. And when the quarter came to an end, the Seahawks had all of 3 total yards of offense.
Notable: Tyler Lockett showed he’s doing just fine. The first time he touched a ball in a game since last year’s season-ending broken leg, he took the opening kickoff out of the end zone and returned it 43 yards … Surprisingly it was rookie Chris Carson who got the start at running back instead of veteran Eddie Lacy. It was Lacy who received the first carry, however, taking two on the second series of the game for Seattle.
Seahawks 3, Packers 0
The gist: Russell Wilson woke up the Seahawks’ offense in the final minute, completing a huge 34-yard pass to Doug Baldwin then running 29 yards himself to get Seattle into range for a field goal. Kicker Blair Walsh knocked down the 33-yard attempt to give the Seahawks a 3-0 lead as the clock ran out on the second quarter. The Seahawks’ defense was on brand, so to speak, sacking Aaron Rodgers four times and keeping the Packers off the board into the break. Unfortunately for Seattle, the same terminology could be used to describe its offensive line, which continued to have all sorts of trouble, mostly as it pertained to the running game. Not counting Wilson’s one run, the Seahawks managed just 18 rushing yards on 10 attempts. That has added up to a defensive battle, as nine of the 11 combined offensive series by the two teams in the half ended with punts, the other two being an interception and Walsh’s field goal.
Notable: The Seahawks’ defensive line has the potential to be the best in the league this season, but it twice nearly sustained big blows as defensive end Cliff Avril and debuting defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson each had to get looked at on the sideline for shoulder and hip injuries, respectively. Both were back in action by the end of the half … It took about 20 minutes of clock, but the Seahawks finally picked up their initial first down of the 2017 regular season, Russell Wilson rolling out to hit running back Chris Carson for 10 yards on third-and-1.
SEA – Blair Walsh FG 33, 0:00 (3-0 SEA)
Packers 14, Seahawks 6
The gist: In a game where the Seahawks were playing lights-out defense, it was their O-line issues that actually opened the doors for the Packers. Russell Wilson went down to a sack on Seattle’s first play of the third quarter, and then more pressure resulted in Wilson fumbling the ball to the Packers, who recovered at Seattle’s 6. Green Bay found the end zone on the very next play on a Ty Montgomery run, moving into a 7-3 advantage. The Seahawks responded with their longest sustained series, driving 71 yards over 11 plays thanks to some impressive plays by Chris Carson and Paul Richardson, but they stalled out at the Packers’ 3 and had to settle for another Blair Walsh field goal. Late in the frame, Aaron Rodgers caught Seattle off-guard, snapping the ball before the Seahawks had set up on defense and finding Jordy Nelson on a 32-yard pass in the end zone to give Green Bay an eight-point lead.
Notable: Chris Carson made some nifty moves, cutting back out to his right on a 30-yard run that showed why the Seahawks though enough of the seventh-round pick from Oklahoma State to make him the featured running back in the season opener … Three more members of Seattle’s suddenly vaunted defensive line came off the field due to seemingly minor injuries: Michael Bennett, Frank Clark and Jarran Reed.
GB – Ty Montgomery 6 run, 10:33 (Mason Crosby kick, GB 7-3)
SEA – Walsh FG 21, 6:13 (GB 7-6)
GB – Aaron Rodgers 32 pass to Jordy Nelson, 0:17 (Crosby kick, GB 14-6)
Packers 17, Seahawks 9
The gist: The Seahawks held Green Bay to a 40-yard Mason Crosby field goal at the end of a 12-play, 53-yard drive, but not only did it give the Packers a two-score lead, it also took 5:37 off the clock. That made Walsh’s 41-yarder just over a minute later not all that helpful, as Seattle still trailed by a touchdown and a two-point conversion. The Seahawks came up short on a key play as Green Bay converted on third-and-4 with 3:09, allowing the Packers to keep another long drive going and put the game away.
Notable: On a third-and-3 play early in the quarter, Jimmy Graham couldn’t hang on to a back-shoulder throw from Russell Wilson, and instead of keeping the drive alive the Seahawks were forced to punt once again.
GB – Crosby FG 40, 7:33 (GB 17-6)
SEA – Walsh FG 41, 6:21 (GB 17-9)