Seattle Proves They’re Defending Super Bowl Champs, Crush Green Bay, 36-16
Seattle proved last night that beating them won't be easy in 2014. The Seahawks pounded the Green Bay Packers, 36-16 on the same night they unveiled their Super Bowl banner.
Green Bay made it interesting in the first quarter, and led 7-3. However, Russell Wilson drove Seattle down the field in 3:23, and threw a 33-yard score to Ricardo Lockette. Then, Seatle's defense took over, only allowing a field goal to the Packers in the second and third quarters combined. Green Bay also lost Bryan Bulaga in the second. On Friday, the Packers found out Bulaga sprained his MCL.
Without Bulaga, Derek Sherrod came in, and he struggled to protect Aaron Rodgers. Seattle's defensive line was pushing the Packers offensive lineman up nearly play and Rodgers was looking uncomfortable in the pocket. Seattle went up 29-10 early in the fourth, and the Packers finally scored through the air when Rodgers found Randall Cobb for a three-yard score with 9:31 remaining in the game. Wilson got the ball back and he wasn't going to give it to the Packers again. He led a seven minute drive that resulted in a touchdown.
Wilson was 19-of-28 for 191 yards and two scores. Rodgers was 23-of-33 for 189 yards, a touchdown, and interception. Wilson managed the game extremely well for the Seahawks. Rodgers seemed uncomfortable and frustrated most of the game with poor offensive line play for the last three quarters. Seattle's defensive line brought a ton of pressure and it was suffocating. In the secondary, Richard Sherman was not even thrown to once, and Byron Maxwell was the star of the game (interception, five tackles, and two pass defenses).
On offense, Marshawn Lynch and Percy Harvin were the X-factors. Lynch rushed 20 times for 110 yards on 5.5 yards per carry for two scores. Harvin was even more impressive, and if he can stay healthy, the Seahawks will have a lethal weapon that can change games at any given time. Harvin rushed four times for 41 yards while gaining 10.3 yards per carry. In the passing game, he was Wilson's leading receiver, hauling in seven passes for 59 yards.
The Packers, meanwhile, need to have a short memory. Unlike most defending Super Bowl champions, Seattle returned most of their starters and might have been better. CenturyLink Field is a tough place for opponents. It was loud, and Rodgers was taking on constant pressure. On the defense, Green Bay's run defense couldn't stop Lynch and Harvin. Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers looked great off the edge, but didn't get much help from the inside linebackers and interior defensive line. It could be seen that B.J. Raji (out for season with torn bicep) was missed. The run defense needs to get better, and the Packers have to get healthy, something that has hurt them in the past. Bulaga suffered a sprained MCL, and running back Eddie Lacy got a concussion.
Next week, Green Bay hosts the New York Jets at 3:25 CDT at Lambeau Field. All Packers games are on ESPN 99.1
Sam Tastad will have pre-and-post game report for the Packers all season long. Follow him on Twitter @samtastad and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.