Green Bay - Aficionados of defense will relish the Packers’ hard-fought 17-9 victory over the Seattle Seahawks at Lambeau Field Sunday afternoon.
In a season-opener between NFC contenders with Super Bowl aspirations, Green Bay registered a critical home victory with a road game in Atlanta looming next Sunday evening.
Green Bay is tied with the Detroit Lions atop the NFC North with a 1-0 record, while Chicago is 0-1 after a home loss to the Falcons. The Minnesota Vikings face the New Orleans Saints Monday night.
Head coach Mike McCarthy had high praise for his defense, which limited the ever-dangerous Russell Wilson and the Seahawks offense to just three field goals and 225 net yards, including 90 rushing.
After trailing 3-0 at halftime, Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense rose up and chipped away at one of the NFL’s elite defenses, eventually wearing them down with a 39:13-20:47 time of possession advantage.
“This (victory) really started with our defense,” McCarthy said. “You hold an offense to nine points in today’s NFL that speaks volumes. They were playing at a high level coming out of the preseason. It started at the line of scrimmage. We were in their backfield a bunch. We had the big plays.”
Defensive tackle Mike Daniels was a dominant force, harassing Wilson all afternoon in recording five total tackles, four quarterback hits, and 1.5 sacks for 12 yards.
He made the game-changing play early in the third quarter after Green Bay took the second-half kickoff and went three-and-out.
Daniel’s strip-sack of Wilson turned the tide of the game and ignited the stagnant Packers offense in the process. Trailing 3-0, Daniels teamed with Nick Perry on a 10-yard sack of Wilson back to the Seattle 11.
Two plays later, Daniels penetrated from the right and forced Wilson to lose the ball, which squirted directly to linebacker Kyler Fackrell at the 6. The offense capitalized one play later on Ty Montgomery’s touchdown run for a 7-3 lead.
After a Blair Walsh 21-yard field goal made it 7-6, Rodgers culminated a nine-play, 75 yard drive with a 32-yard touchdown strike to Jordy Nelson. Rodgers did what Rodgers does, catching Seattle with 12 men on the field and getting a free play that he turned into a score.
The teams traded field goals in the final quarter and Rodgers and the Packers offense ran out the final 6:17 of the game with a 17-9 cushion.
“Nothing was easy, especially when you have #12 at quarterback on the other side,” said Seahawks running back Eddie Lacy, who was held to just three yards in five rushes in his return to Lambeau Field.
“Being on the right side (visitor’s), it’s kind of weird watching him play, you know. But it’s football and we know what we have to do: put this game behind us, learn from it, and move forward.”
Rogers had a strong performance, spreading the ball to Randall Cobb (9 catches, 85 yards), Nelson (7 for 79 yards), Montgomery (4 for 39), Davante Adams (3 for 47), Martellus Bennett (3 for 43) and Lance Kendricks (2 for 18) to account for 311 passing yards.
Montgomery was a workhorse, slamming into the Seattle defense 19 times for 54 hard-earned yards. “Ty’s a tough guy,” Aaron Rodgers said. “He made some nice plays.”
Seattle could get little going on the ground. Rookie running back Chris Carson started the game and had six carries for 39 yards—with one carry accounting for 30 yards. Wilson was the team’s leading rusher with two scrambles up the middle for 11 and 29 yards.
“Green Bay has a great defense, but we have to execute better,” Carson said. “Eddie—he was talking about coming back to Green Bay and this game all week. It’s a rivalry game and we talked about being the attacker and not the one attacked.
“The Packers did a great job with their game plan. We made some mental mistakes. We had a few red-zone opportunities where we should have punched it in.”