Mike McCarthy repeated all week that the key to having a chance to beat Seattle would be to stop their running game. That turned out to be true. The Green Bay Packers didn’t even slow down the Seattle ground attack and the result was a 36-16 season opening loss to the Seahawks in Seattle.
Marshawn Lynch rushed for 110 yards on 20 carries and two touchdowns as the Seahawks dominated the line of scrimmage. All told, the Seahawks gained 207 yards on 37 carries, good for a 5.6 yard per carry average.
In fact, the Seahawks took it to the Packers on the flip side as well. The Packers, despite desperately trying to establish a ground attack, finished with 80 yards on 21 attempts.
Former Wisconsin Badger Russell Wilson won the quarterback battle against Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers as well. The numbers are fairly close with the exception coming in the TD passes vs. interceptions. Wilson threw for two scores and rushed for 29 yards. Rodgers had 1 touchdown, 1 interception and when he had a chance to run and pick up first downs, he decided to dump the ball off which led to a pair of incompletions and stalled drives.
Rodgers didn’t get any help when Bryan Bulaga went down with a left knee injury in the second quarter and the Packers had to go with Derek Sherrod at right tackle.
Sherrod got beat on the edge on a fourth and five play for a sack, which gave Seattle the ball. He later got beat by Michael Bennett, who forced an Aaron Rodgers fumble which Sherrod recovered in the end zone for a Seattle safety.
The Packers did put together a pass rush when they were able to get Seattle in a long down and distance situation. The problem was the Seahawks were good on first and second down most of the night, so the Packers chances with the rush were minimal.
We heard about this new look defense all offseason. But what we saw was a unit that got pushed around and couldn’t stop the run. What we also saw was a Packers team that apparently hasn’t closed the gap on one of the teams in front of them in the NFC. It’s only one game with fifteen more to go, but it would appear there’s a good chance that the road to the Super Bowl is going through Seattle again this season.
The Packers will get some extra time to recover from this loss. They’re off through the weekend and won’t return to work until Monday afternoon.