First off, I have to welcome back the NFL. It’s been forever. Seriously, don’t leave any time soon.
Moving on, this was as one sided as the Super Bowl last year. The combo of a dynamic offense and the Legion of Boom defense confirmed this, as the Seattle Seahawks destroyed the Green Bay Packers 36-16. They’ve lost only once at home in the past 3 seasons.
Let’s review both teams by offense and defense, obviously splitting them up into 2 sections.
The Winning Team: Seattle
The Seahawks played like it was still the Super Bowl, simple as that. The defense as expected was of top quality, but the offense was just as good. Marshawn Lynch put all doubts anyone had about him aside as he looked more dynamic, stronger, and elusive than ever before. The Packers defense failed to contain Lynch, as he broke tackles and found numerous holes in Green Bay’s front 7. He rushed for 110 yards, 2 TD, and 5.5 yards per carry. Welcome back, Beast Mode.
Not too far behind is Russell Wilson. For all the talk of being a game manager, Wilson certainly looked more like an actual QB. There were a few bad throws that weren’t picked off simply because of pure luck, but otherwise Wilson looked efficient, and put the Seahawks in terrific field position throughout most of the game. Wilson’s pocket presence continues to amaze. I believe he only took 1 sack, and looked very comfortable scrambling and moving around in the pocket. He completed 19 of 28 passes (67.8 completion percentage) for 191 yards, 2 TD, and a 110.9 passer rating. His 2nd TD pass put the game away late in the 4th quarter, and we could be looking at an elite quarterback in the makings.
WR Percy Harvin looked as much of a dual threat tonight as Jamaal Charles. He provided the extra weapon the Seahawks offense needed all along, and his athleticism was incredible when healthy. He caught 7 receptions for 59 yards, and rushed for 41 yards on 4 carries, putting Seattle in excellent field position.
Overall, Seattle’s receivers and rushers looked great (so did the QB), but the credit partially goes to the defense. They made Aaron Rodgers look like Carson Palmer (2011-2013 Carson Palmer that is), and put 3 sacks on him, as well as a fumble for a safety. The rush defense allowed only 80 yards for 3.8 yards per carry., and the pass defense allowed for few deep ball opportunities for Green Bay. The Legion of Boom rarely allowed any answers, no complaints here.
The Losing Team: Green Bay
I expected a 28-17 victory for the Seahawks, not a 36-16 blowout (see how 8 more points makes a big difference?). Not only were the Packers outperformed by Seattle, they were outcoached too.
The running game was barely used effectively, and often relied on the vertical passing game against perhaps the best secondary in the NFL. As expected, it didn’t work out as planned.
Dom Capers has been overrated as a defensive coordinator, and it appears that his hot seat is beginning to form. Rookie HaHa Clinton-Dix played about as silly as his name, but it seems like the whole Packers defense just wasn’t prepared tonight.
Hell, the entire Packers team didn’t look good at all tonight, and allowed 207 yards of rushing (and 5.6 yards per carry).
Aaron Rodgers played decent, but looked awkward to start the game, and although he had a higher completion percentage than Wilson (69.8), some of his throws looked off, and he rarely ran for it despite open lanes clearly available to him. So it’s obvious Rodgers made some mistakes tonight.
His lone interception is not on him. That was tipped by receiver Jordy Nelson, and into the hands of CB Byron Maxwell. Not exactly a LOB masterpiece. That said, I expected Rodgers to struggle tonight, and he did. Green Bay simply had no answers on offense, though Rodgers did pass for 189 yards.
The 1 TD was in garbage time, however, and Rodgers finished with an 81.5 passer rating.
While Rodgers and company played better against Seattle than the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl, does it honestly say much? Nope, not really.
MVP: Marshawn Lynch (20 carries, 110 yards, 2 TD, 5.5 yards per carry)
As good as Russell Wilson was on Thursday, Lynch was just unstoppable. His strength and athleticism were put to extremely good use, and fears of a decline have been put to rest for now. Best of all, he’s made fantasy owners happy.
Overall, this wasn’t a very fun game for teams expecting a shootout, but very fun for analysts/writers like me. Seattle has sent a message to every team in the NFL; getting past them will take the will over 100 men, and then some.
Pete Carroll and the Seahawks looked as excellent as ever.