The first game of the NFL season had all the makings of an old school Monday Night Football extravaganza, with the Green Bay Packers and quarterback Aaron Rodgers going up against the Super Bowl XLVIII champions Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field. The only thing that kept it from being a blockbuster Monday Night Football matchup were the facts that this much anticipated season opener actually took place on a Thursday and that it was supposed to be a lot more competitive than it actually was. Aaron Rodgers is the best at his position, according to a great number of people, and the Green Bay run defense was supposed to be much improved over last season. But with the loss of nose tackle BJ Raji during the preseason, Green Bay appeared disinterested in tackling as the game progressed. Conversely, Seattle frontline defenders like DE Michael Bennett and DE Cliff Avril largely had their way in the Green Bay backfield.
One factor that I was curious to see unfold was the pocket presence of Russell Wilson and the synergy that could be conveyed throughout the Seahawks offense. Marshawn Lynch ran for a hard fought 110 yards and two touchdowns while Russell Wilson played his position as star NFL quarterback, throwing for 191 yards and scrambling for 29-yards. Change of pace running back R. Turbin ran for 27 yards and WR Percy Harvin came with his own unique blend of shock and awe by accounting for almost 100 combined yards, baffling a hapless Green Bay Packers defense. It looks like the Green Bay Packers offense is going to have to put up a ton of points this season. Russell didn't look stellar, but was as steady and cool as ever in executing the Seattle offense, and he's only going to get better as the season goes on.
At this point there are any number of cheese related metaphors and puns one could use to describe a defense that gave up 391 yards, 207 of those yards on the ground. Meanwhile, while the Super Bowl-winning defense did not disappoint, it was blatantly obvious that Rodgers avoided throwing to the right side of the field, avoiding the blanket coverage of CB Richard Sherman. Aaron Rodgers' refusal to throw to that side of the field greatly limited the overall continuity of the Green Bay offense, resulting in a mediocre performance of 189 yards passing for the star QB. A critical interception before halftime didn't help these statistics, turning a somewhat manageable seven point deficit into a 10-point deficit, which was a problem against Seattle and their rabid 12th Man fan base.
Jordy Nelson had the most ineffective looking 9 catches for 83 yards you ever did see. Whenever he lined up opposite to Sherman, it was a run play. McCarthy deliberately threw to two-thirds of the field. Calling it a head scratcher would be something of a misnomer. Though the Super Bowl pedigree of Coach Mike McCarthy cannot ever be called into question, taking it easy on Sherman limited the Green Bay offense. Running back Eddie Lacey danced and spun his was to a largely ineffective 34 yards on 12 carries before leaving the game in the fourth quarter with what was later diagnosed as a concussion, the second of his pro career.
Marshawn Lynch averaged over five yards per carry and marched up and down the field with impunity while the Percy Harvin looks every bit the role of a dangerous and versatile offensive threat. The Seattle Seahawks looked every bit the dominant frontrunner many have anticipated they would be. Meanwhile, Green Bay fans are left wondering whether their elite defenders are afraid of tackling a player like Lynch when he has gone full Beastmode.
We’re looking at you Clay Matthews and AJ Hawk.