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Seahawks open title defense with 36-16 win over Packers

Ricardo Lockette scored the first of four Seahawks touchdowns in Seattle's 36-16 win over Green Bay. (AP)

The Seahawks unveiled a banner on Thursday night.

They also planted a flag when it comes to defending their championship.

Marshawn Lynch was relentless as ever with 110 yards rushing and two touchdowns, Russell Wilson was ruthlessly efficient and the defense remained unyielding. That formula produced a championship a year ago, and it resulted in a blowout of Green Bay to begin this year. If not for a pair of first-half miscues, the Packers might not have scored in the first three quarters.

Seattle won 36-16 at CenturyLink Field in front of 68,424 fans, who began the night on their feet in appreciation of last year’s title and ended the evening dreaming of another one.

But let’s not get too far ahead of things. This was just Game 1 and it was at home.

It was also against a Green Bay team that won its own Super Bowl four seasons ago with a quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, considered by many to be the best in the business. And it’s not that the Packers were bad on Thursday. Rodgers completed 14 of his 18 passes in the first half, and Eddie Lacy was reasonably effective running the ball.

It’s just that Seattle’s defense was better, not allowing a completion of more than 18 yards in the first half and only one run of more than 6 yards.

The Packers’ only pair of scores came courtesy of Seattle miscues as Earl Thomas muffed a first-quarter punt after he was struck by a Green Bay player before the ball arrived. Officials ruled Seattle’s Richard Sherman blocked the Packers’ Davon House into Thomas on the play, awarding possession to the Packers.

More coverage of the Seahawks’ Week-1 win over Green Bay

Stats | Photos | Interviews | Carroll Show
O’Neil: What We Learned
O’Neil: Lynch, Harvin spark Seahawks’ offense
Henderson: Avril, Bennett supply the pressure
Henderson: Packers steer clear of Sherman
Stecker: Packers’ running game stumbles
Moore: Seahawks looked unstoppable

Green Bay scored on John Kuhn’s 2-yard touchdown run six plays later to put the Packers up 7-3 with 1:25 left in the first quarter.

A penalty set up the Packers’ second score, Seattle’s Bobby Wagner flagged for pass interference in the second quarter. The penalty cost the Seahawks 44 yards and set up Mason Crosby’s 23-yard field goal, tying the game midway through the second quarter.

In each instance, the Seahawks had an answer. First, it was Ricardo Lockette’s 33-yard touchdown catch from Russell Wilson. Then, it was Lynch with the first of his two touchdown runs.

And in the third quarter, the Seahawks applied pressure, squeezing Rodgers with a pair of sacks. The first – by Cliff Avril – came on fourth down and gave the Seahawks possession. The second – by Michael Bennett – forced a fumble the Packers recovered in the end zone for a safety that made the score 22-10 entering the fourth quarter, the Seahawks having outgained Green Bay 328 yards to 156 at that point.

Lynch added a 3-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter, and Wilson completed a 15-yard touchdown pass to Derrick Coleman for Seattle’s final touchdown with 2:31 left in the game. Wilson was 19 for 28 passing for 191 yards.

Seattle is now 8-0 in home prime-time games under coach Pete Carroll, winning by double digits in seven of those eight games.