O’Neil: Seahawks get a chance at creating another landmark moment against Packers

Sep 8, 2017, 2:09 PM
The home team has won each of the past games between the Seahawks and Packers. (AP)...
The home team has won each of the past games between the Seahawks and Packers. (AP)

The Green Bay Packers are not a measuring stick for the Seahawks.

They’re more like a landmark.

The Packers are the one opponent that could be trusted to tell you exactly where the Seahawks have been over the course of the past five seasons, from Seattle’s rise to a bonafide contender in 2012 to its peak with consecutive Super Bowl appearances to the plateau of the past two seasons.

Clayton: Key matchups for Seahawks’ opener in Green Bay

The Seahawks and the Packers are the only two NFC teams to have reached the playoffs in each of the five past seasons, and they have played one another five times in that span with the home team winning every time.

That history is one part of what makes Sunday’s game at Lambeau Field so appetizing.

1. The rise

Seahawks 14, Packers 12, Sept. 24, 2012

The end of this game is what everyone remembers with Russell Wilson throwing what very well may have been the first game-winning interception by any NFL quarterback. But it was the first half of that Monday night game in which the Seahawks announced themselves to the world as one of the most devastating defenses in the Super Bowl era with what was a simply overwhelming two quarters of defense. Seattle shutout Green Bay in the first half, sacking Aaron Rodgers eight times and limiting the Packers to 87 yards of total offense.

While the world would remember Golden Tate’s “touchdown” deciding that game (and thereby ending the officials’ strike), the most significant thing to happen was that it was the first national glimpse of a defense that would allow the fewest points in the NFL in four successive seasons.

2. The peak

Seahawks 36, Packers 16, Sept. 4, 2014
Seahawks 28, Packers 22, Jan. 18, 2015

The two teams played twice in one season, first to open the regular season and then to decide the NFC championship. One game was a coronation for Seattle, the other simply one of the most incredible comebacks in playoff history as the Seahawks came back from trailing by 12 points with 3:52 left in the game. After being intercepted four times in regulation, Russell Wilson completed two 35-yard passes in the only overtime Seattle needed, the second going to Jermaine Kearse for the game-winning touchdown that made you think the Seahawks couldn’t lose, which only added to the sting of what might be the most heart-breaking defeat in Super Bowl history.

3. The plateau

Packers 27, Seahawks 17, Sept. 20, 2015
Packers 38, Seahawks 10, Dec. 11, 2016

The Seahawks have played 80 regular-season games in the five years Wilson has been quarterback. These are the only two they’ve lost by double digits. It’s pretty downright remarkable that Seattle has been so consistently competitive even in games they’ve lost. It also speaks to the fact that over the past two seasons, the Seahawks have been unable to find the momentum that carried them to the Super Bowl in back-to-back years.

Those two losses have something else in common, though. Seattle’s secondary, which has been the signature of this defense, wasn’t at full strength in either loss to the Packers. Kam Chancellor was in the midst of a contract holdout in 2015, reporting to the team three days after that defeat in Wisconsin. Last year’s rout occurred after Earl Thomas suffered a season-ending leg injury.

They’re back this year, paired together in a defense that will begin its season in a staredown with the quarterback who is regarded as the best in the league in Aaron Rodgers.

“We want to be whole,” said Kris Richard, Seahawks defensive coordinator. “We want to be at our best. We want to have all of our best guys out there competing against one of the best who’s ever done it.”

This isn’t a test for Seattle. It’s not a gut-check. It is an opportunity for Seattle to make what would be an incredibly convincing statement about their trajectory for this season. If the recent history tells us anything, it’s that Sunday’s game will be a landmark moment.

Danny and Gallant Show

Danny ONeil

Seahawks Quandre Diggs...
Danny O'Neil

O’Neil: Seahawks have uncertainty with a player ‘holding in,’ but it’s not Quandre Diggs

While Quandre Diggs appears to be the third Seahawks player to "hold-in" during training camp, Danny O'Neil writes that it's Duane Brown whose future is up in the air.
1 year ago
Follow @dannyoneil...
Danny O'Neil

AZ Good AZ it Gets

SPONSORED – Phoenix was the place where the rest of the country found out that Seattle fans took their enthusiasm on the road with them. That was 2013. It’s also the place where I discovered how restorative a desert vacation can be. That was 2015. Let’s start with the screaming. That’s what caught everyone’s attention […]
1 year ago
Mariners Jarred Kelenic...
Danny O'Neil

O’Neil: Mariners aren’t handing the spotlight over to Seahawks just yet

This is the time of year that Seattle tends to shift its focus to the gridiron, but the Mariners are still commanding attention.
1 year ago
Seahawks Duane Brown...
Danny O'Neil

O’Neil: When Seahawks decide not to extend players, they’re rarely wrong

If you think the Seahawks must sign Duane Brown to an extension, when's the last time they opted against re-signing someone and it came back to bite them?
1 year ago
Follow @dannyoneil...
Danny O'Neil

Oh, LA, LA!

Week 15, Dec. 19: Seattle at Los Angeles Rams, SoFi Stadium, 1:25 p.m. Pacific SPONSORED – Maybe it was fitting that the opening act for the first pro-football game I covered in Los Angeles was a rock band I loved as a teenager. There’s no place that makes me think of growing up more than […]
1 year ago
Follow @dannyoneil...
Danny O'Neil

Star in a Lone Star Adventure

Week 14, Dec. 12: Seattle at Houston Texans, NRG Stadium, 10 a.m. Pacific SPONSORED – Enchiladas and greatness. That’s what I think of in Texas. The enchiladas are pretty straightforward. They’re so delicious at El Tiempo Cantina that it’s hard to take a bite without closing my eyes. There are three locations though the one […]
1 year ago
O’Neil: Seahawks get a chance at creating another landmark moment against Packers