Green Bay Packers run over by Seahawks in season opener


The Green Bay Packers came into Thursday night’s season opener at CenturyLink Field knowing that stopping the run—a problem for them last season—would be the key to stopping the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks.

They were right. Seattle racked up 207 yards on the ground en route to a dominant 36-16 win over the Packers.

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  • The Packers (0-1) couldn’t stop Marshawn Lynch, who rumbled for 110 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries. They couldn’t stop Percy Harvin on the jet sweep, either, and backup Robert Turbin and quarterback Russell Wilson didn’t do so badly themselves.

    Green Bay hoped to get its high-octane offense into gear, but the Seahawks (1-0) created some pressure—getting three sacks—and their secondary kept everything underneath.

    Aaron Rodgers completed 23-of-33 passes, but for just 189 yards and one touchdown. He was also intercepted once.

    The first half was closely contested. After Seattle got a 35-yard field goal from Steven Hauschka with 6:03 left in the first quarter, the Packers got a break on special teams.

    After being held to a three-and-out, Earl Thomas mishandled the punt from Tim Masthay and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix recovered the muff at the Seattle 34.

    Six plays later, Green Bay had the first touchdown of the NFL season when fullback John Kuhn burst in from 2 yards out.

    Early in the second quarter, Seattle went back on top on a 33-yard scoring pass from Wilson to Ricardo Lockette. The Packers tied it on their next possession, going 79 yards in 12 plays, but settling for a 23-yard field goal by Mason Crosby.

    With 3:41 left in the half, Lynch got into the end zone from nine yards out to cap a six-play, 70-yard drive and the Seahawks led 17-10 at the half.

    Then disaster struck early in the third quarter. Deep in their own end after a Seattle punt, Rodgers tried to fit a ball into Jordy Nelson on an in route, but led Nelson a bit too far. The ball caromed off Nelson’s hands and into the arms of cornerback Byron Maxwell, who returned the pick to the Packers’ 8.

    The defense kept the Seahawks out of the end zone, but Seattle got three points on a 20-yard field goal by Hauschka.

    Late in the quarter, with the ball at their own 10-yard line, Rodgers was sacked by Michael Bennett on first down and the ball was knocked loose. Derek Sherrod—in at right tackle after Bryan Bulaga left with a knee injury—recovered the ball in the end zone for a safety.

    Compounding the problem was left tackle David Bakhtiari getting flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct, leaving the Packers to free kick from the 10-yard line.

    With great field position, Seattle moved in for the kill, scoring on the first play of the fourth quarter on a 3-yard run by Lynch.

    The Packers put their best drive of the night together on the next possession, going 82 yards in 10 plays capped by a 3-yard toss from Rodgers to Randall Cobb that cut the lead to 29-16 after the two-point conversion failed.

    Seattle answered, however, with drive that lasted exactly seven minutes, a 13-play, 80-yard Bataan death march into the end zone, capped by Derrick Coleman’s 15-yard touchdown catch from Wilson with 2:31 to go.

    Wilson was an efficient 19-for-28 for 191 yards and two scores as Seattle rolled up 398 yards of offense.

    Green Bay managed just 255 total yards. The running game was mostly stymied, as Eddie Lacy was held to 34 yards on 12 carries. James Starks did have 37 yards on seven attempts. Nelson had nine catches and Cobb had six for the Packers, but no Green Bay receiver averaged 10 yards a catch.

    Nelson had 83 yards on his nine catches, Cobb gained 58 on his six and Andrew Quarless had 26 yards on three grabs.

    One sure sign of problems for the Packer defense—safety Morgan Burnett was the leading tackler with eight (tied with linebacker A.J. Hawk). Clinton-Dix had the Pack’s only sack while Julius Peppers had the only hit on Wilson all night.

    The Packers will now have 10 days to get ready for the New York Jets, hopefully to devise a way to hold them to less than 5.6 yards per carry on the ground.

    Green Bay hosts the Jets on Sept. 14 at 3:25 p.m. at Lambeau Field.