Packers XLV

Defense Steals the Show in Pack's Opener

Posted September 11th, 2017 @ 02:09pm

As Packer fans, there are few things more satisfying than a win over the Seahawks. Now, it is exponentially more gratifying if it comes in January, but the Pack's season opening 17-9 over Seattle guarantees that these teams finish with the same record, a potential rematch will take place at Lambeau. And we all know how important that would be.

From my perch high in the south end zone, I didn't have the benefit of TV replays, so I didn't get a look at what happened after Rogers' first half interception that looked like it might become just his second career pick six. Judging from my Twitter feed, the calls that moved the ball back to midfield were highly questionable. Oh, well. It's about time the Pack benefited from a big call against the Sea Chickens.

Bottom line, we all know the better this defense plays, the better chance this team plays deep into January, or dare we dream, February. This performance by Dom Capers' unit should give us plenty of hope. Led by Mike Daniels, the Pack controlled things from the start, allowing just 225 yards and 12 first downs--and most importantly, they kept the Seahawks out of the end zone.

It's always dangerous to read too much into season openers. Most teams' starters haven't played a snap in two weeks, they haven't done a lot of live tackling in training camp and preseason games, so a team's Week 1 performance should always be taken with a grain of salt: it's not always a harbinger of how the season will unfold. Defense tends to be ahead of offense to start the season, and that was certainly the case in this one.

That said, the Pack's defense showed more team speed than we've seen in the past and did a great job tackling--two things we didn't see much of last year. The Seahawks' offensive line continues to be its Achilles heel and the absence of running back Thomas Rawls hurt that unit's cause, but take nothing away from the Pack's defense. Daniels was a beast from the opening staff and filled the stat sheet all afternoon: seven tackles, 1.5 sacks, 4 QB hits, and the biggest play of the game, the forced fumble that led to the Pack's first points of the season. Nick Perry was also explosive and kept Russell Wilson on the run and uncomfortable all afternoon.

The offense got off to a decent start, as Mike McCarthy called seven pass plays to open the game. The Seahawks' defense is the best the Pack will face all season and they were up to the challenge, making big plays to snuff out drives. Bryan Bulaga's absence didn't seem to affect McCarthy's gameplan in the first half, as he seemed to leave replacement Kyle Murphy alone to fend for himself. The result was a couple of first half sacks.

In the second half, Murphy got a little help, and seemed more comfortable and overall, held his own against what has to be the most intimidating defense a player could face in his first career start.

Now, let's take a moment to discuss what happened at the end of the first half. I know I wasn't the only one who pulled my few remaining hairs out when McCarthy used his second timeout in the final minute, with the thought that stops on second and third down could give the offense one last chance to put some points on the board. The problem was, he had already wasted his first time out after Seattle's first play from scrimmage, screaming that Wilson should have been called for intentional grounding. With just two left, there was no mathematical chance for the Packers' offense to get the ball back. We all know what happened next. The Seahawks convert, grab momentum and wind up putting three points on the board heading into halftime.

Mike, your defense has dominated, Seattle was content to run out the clock, you're getting the ball to start the second half...r-e-l-a-x. It feels like this strategy backfires nine times out of ten.

Outside of that fiasco, the game went about as perfectly as we could have hoped. Ty Montgomery found a bit of a rhythm and ran hard in the second half. Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson made big catches all afternoon, and new tight end Martellus Bennett, despite a boneheaded penalty, had a big catch and run on the final series as the Pack ran the clock out to preserve their eight point win.

Just as important, on a day where a number of big offensive weapons were lost for the season, or a big chunk of the season, the Packers didn't appear to suffer any significant injuries as they prepare for their NFC title game rematch in Atlanta next Sunday night.

That will be the next big test for this defense. On this day, they showed they have taken one small step forward. Next Sunday we'll know if it's one giant leap.

 

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Comments (12):

Hey Dave, looking forward to a great season and starting Sunday Mornings with you again. Can you post a link somewhere on your page to the location of the packer REVIEW podcast? Ill go look on the FANsite but I couldnt find it when i searched on my phone this morning....maybe its not up yet. still early I guess. Spent yesterday at Park Tavern doing a Surprise Party for my wife and hardly got to watch the game. But it ended as it should have!! Highway 29 is the Road to Minneapolis!

on September 11th, 2017 at 09:53am

I know Seattle's o-line is much maligned, but I saw a Packer's defense playing with a fire, urgency and energy I rarely saw last year. The swarmed the ball, defenders were right there to meet ballcarriers and they tackled like they meant it. They looked hungry, and it was only Wilson's otherworldly ability to get rid of the ball with defenders draped all over him that prevented at least three more sacks on the stat line. If this D plays like this all year, the pack will be a tough team to beat.

on September 11th, 2017 at 11:20am

I'm just here trying to give a "like" to art4mad and midwest Urban's comments.

on September 11th, 2017 at 11:39am

More bone-headed decisions by McCarthy that Rodgers bails him out of. I was very happy with the play action on the 3rd down to seal the game. MANY times in this same situation, McCarthy has just run the ball up the middle and gain 1 yard giving the other team time. This time he trusted the QB that has bailed him out many times to get the job done. Hopefully this is a turning point in McCarthy's questionable judgment.

on September 11th, 2017 at 12:15pm

Lots of great things to like about this opener. On the growth side, why is it our offense continues to have issues with good front fours when they drop seven back in coverage and we're blocking with six plus Rodgers?! Sure, you aren't going to get someone breaking free down field, but the numbers should work out in Rodger's favor for a scramble.

on September 11th, 2017 at 12:51pm

Davey, Here is what you missed on the seahawk interception. The play happened 25 yards behind the play. ONLY IN LAMBEAU. The packer guy jumped the Seattle guy and hit him in the face mask only to be left in the game while the sea hawk guy was ejected. To top it off, Rodgers, who had given up on the play, was touched by the fingernail of a Seahawk from the side and they threw a flag for clipping. I promptly turned the game off and just said, "Good Luck Seattle" You deserved that call against them though. It's why I don't care for you. Seriously, you deserved it. LMAO

on September 12th, 2017 at 03:28am

The rumors of my impending demise have been greatly exaggerated. I've been around...just too busy to check in. In fact, I was unfortunately too busy to even watch the game, which naturally sucks. Not the case next week. And LARRY, COME BACK!!!

on September 12th, 2017 at 05:20pm

Even if the pick-6 had been allowed the Seahawks would still have been a point short of a win; all else being equal in that game. And if the Packers needed to score more they would have. They ended the game at the Seattle 24. A chip shot field goal at least for Mason Crosby. So whether by 17-9, 17-16 or 20-16 the Pack would still be 1-0. Green Bay left little doubt from the start that they had the initiative in this game. They outgained the Seahawks 370-225. They had 26 first downs to Seattle's 12. They ran 74 plays to Seattle's 48. They had over a 19 minute time of possession advantage. And both teams were penalized 8 times: Seattle for 50 yds., the Packers for 74. So much for "biased" officiating.

on September 12th, 2017 at 06:00am

Wow...Gunther and Francois cut. No fooling around this year...produce or your out. Has anyone heard the extent of Brook's injury? GO PACK GO !!

on September 12th, 2017 at 08:40pm

It is fair to say the ejection was unwarranted. It's fair to say the game might have went differently with that momentum shift, but that's a guess. I also thinks it fair to guess that number 20 was warned previously and told no bs would be allowed. Fair or not it's usually the one who retaliates that gets the worst of it. True in this case.

on September 12th, 2017 at 10:09am

Great game, was very nice to see the defense play that well against a quality opponent. I would say on the pick 6, the hand on the back of ARod was ticky tack. As far as the "punch" goes, we have the luxury of seeing it in slow motion, at game speed, when a ref is running down the field, it probably appeared like Lane took a forearm to Adams' face, and I am sure that Lane and Cobb were both warned on an earlier play about extra bs, also we didn't get to see any extended video, did a punch maybe happen after the players stood up??? It's always the one who retaliates that gets caught. And from what I saw, it was a weekend FULL of bad calls across the board, not like Seattle didn't have some karma owed to them either. No matter, it was a great team win, and I look forward to a great season. GO PACK GO...

on September 13th, 2017 at 11:17am

I'll have a link to my "Packer Review" podcast on the homepage soon. For now, you can find the link on my twitter feed. It should also be available at iHeart Radio, but there have been some issues getting them posted there--the KFAN team is working on it.

on September 14th, 2017 at 01:00pm

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