The first game of the season is in the books, and the Packers have tallied one in the win column, taking the game 17-9. The Seattle Seahawks were a difficult opening day opponent, but Green Bay has now won their last three games against their NFC rival.
“The Packers defense got off to an impressive start this weekend. The pass rush was a thorn in Russell Wilson’s side all game thanks to great play by Mike Daniels, Clay Matthews and Nick Perry. That is what they had to do against a fast pace offense like Seattle and a mobile quarterback like Wilson. The play of the Packers secondary was also impressive as guys like Demarious Randall, Quinton Rollins and Morgan Burnett looked more sharp than the NFC Championship Game in Atlanta. They limited Wilson to only 158 yards passing while Aaron Rodgers had his first 300-yard passing game against Seattle.
The Packers biggest problem was their offensive line. Much of the credit is due to the Seahawk’s pass rush as guys like Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril, Frank Clark, Sheldon Richardson, and Bobby Wagner were thorns in Aaron Rodgers side. Rodgers was sacked a total of four times but it seemed like he was on the ground after every pass attempt. It was well known that was going to be the biggest issue as well as trying to run the football because Seattle has such a great defense. Surprisingly enough Green Bay’s defense was more impressive than their offense and again Rodgers threw for over 300 yards against that tough Seattle defense.”
“Green Bay’s defensive line looked great, and not just the dominant Mike Daniels. Both Kenny Clark and Dean Lowry showed improvement from their rookie years, proving to understand the flow of the game at a higher level. They succeeded at holding their ground at the line of scrimmage, while sliding along with the direction of the run play, cutting off running lanes. Having three talented down lineman could make a huge difference for the outside linebackers. Clay Matthews and Nick Perry may receive less attention due to the growth.
I’m not sure what to make of the offense, obviously the offensive line struggled against the Seahawks front seven, but overall the offense looked sound. Aaron Rodgers was able to create four free play opportunities, one of which was cashed in for a 32 yard touchdown to Jordy Nelson.
One thing of significant note: Randall Cobb was a key contributor in the passing game, hauling in nine receptions for 85 yards. He was a key emotional leader for the team after falling to 4-6 last season. The grey eyed beast brings more to the team than just his stats. Mike McCarthy’s program will only strengthen if Cobb can produce at his highest level.”
“My take away from this game: The Packers defense may be better this year or the Packers just know how to stop the Seahawks. Last year our defense wasn’t elite but looked it against Seattle in 2016, forcing 6 turnovers. Mike Daniels came out playing like Make Daniels, Perry looked great and Clay looked OK. It was rewarding to see Lacy get stuffed every time he touched the ball. Especially with the trash talk that happened before the season. I expect a good run defense this year not sure about the pass defense. It’s tricky because it seems like the Packers are developing a history of shutting down Seattle. To me it’s reminiscent of Jay Cutler in Chicago. You just expect our defense to go out and perform. If the Packers Defense can perform the same against Atlanta next week, I’ll come around. Defenses just seem to have the advantage in the beginning of the season, later teams figure out how to beat them.”
“I enjoyed the performance by Randall Cobb. While he never reached the end zone, he put up nine receptions and 85 yards. Even when Cobb wasn’t involved in plays directly, he was able to cause enough defenders to keep an eye on him, which would in turn leave the likes of Jordy Nelson, Martellus Bennett, and Davante Adams in one-on-one situations. I knew the addition of Martellus Bennett would call for a great performance from Cobb. Now with an extra threat for Aaron Rodgers to throw to, that brings attention onto Nelson, Bennett, and Adams, which leaves Cobb almost forgotten in the Packers offense. We can expect more performances from Cobb like the one we saw today.
The offensive line did an overall average job against one of the best defensive lines in the league, but four sacks is never good no matter who your competition is. The protection should improve when Bryan Bulaga comes back from injury, as Kyle Murphy has not played right tackle before today’s game, but in order to be a Super Bowl contender, you need to protect your quarterback, and the offensive line did not do that today. There weren’t too many false starts or holding calls against the o-line, however, the pass protection needs an obvious improvement if this team wants to go deep into the playoffs this year.”
“Positives: The whistles…. I’m kidding, and I think the stripes were fine, aside from Jeremy Lane’s disqualification early on. One can say the biggest positive was the pass rush supplied by Green Bay, but, I must say, I liked seeing a healthy Randall Cobb out there. In his vintage element this past afternoon, as the Hawks were vitally concerned with taking care of Davante Adams over the top, and Jordy Nelson just about anywhere, Cobb snuck between the hashes, securing nine of his targets for 85 yards. Having Martellus Bennett’s mere presence posed problems for Seattle, opened a lot of the field, left Rodgers with a lot of options – sometimes to a fault.
Negatives: We all knew it was going to be tough-sledding without T.J. Lang and J.C. Tretter in the O-line rotation. What made matters worse against the Seahawks, who boast an over-qualified front seven (especially with confidence-disrupting newcomer Sheldon Richardson), was the fact the Pack were without tackle Bryan Bulaga, who was out nursing an ankle injury. Early on, Rodgers’ game got disrupted by Michael Bennett and his compadres. Whether the O-line collapsed or whether Rodgers held the ball a bit too much varied from pressure to pressure. Both are to blame. Eventually, Ty Montgomery became a godsend, as Rodgers could then, without getting walloped, dump it off to the all-purpose back. The number of packages implemented by Seattle became self-defeating, allowing A-Rod to catch Pete Carrol’s team sleeping for having 12 men on the field, which led to a few free plays. Bottom line: Rodgers needs to have Montgomery behind him, catching balls in the flat, if the line is to be this inconsistent. Not every team has the defensive talent of Seattle, but Rodgers can’t look this uncomfortable behind his new line.”
Hunter Van Asten:
“It’s just one week, but dang, that looked good. They only won by one possession and scored just 17 points, so no, it wasn’t perfect. What the Packers did do was control the game against one of the best defenses in the NFL, one of the best teams in the NFC. They possessed the ball nearly twice as long as Seattle and converted twice as many first downs. The defense held up all game, save for a few big, but not backbreaking plays allowed. The offense didn’t gash the Seahawks, but they sure came close, and they were able to generate motion when they needed to. Sure, it’s early, but if the Seahawks are the team they’ve been billed to be, and their defense, with it’s eight Pro Bowlers, is as dominant as it’s supposed to be, then the Packers are in another tier. After just one week, this particular Packer fan is feeling as good as can be.”