By Andrew Kahn
In a league with only 16 regular season games, by far the fewest of the major sports, we tend to overanalyze every game. It’s easy to pencil the Seahawks as back-to-back Super Bowl champs after their 36-16 beat-down of the Packers last night. Or to think Green Bay is a shadow of the franchise that won it all in 2011 and hasn’t reached the conference championship since. Either assumption would be a mistake. Seattle looked very, very good on Thursday, but was that a surprise? The Hawks have lost just one game at home the last two seasons. Green Bay’s revamped defense underperformed and the offensive line problems only got worse, but the Pack will regain their mojo as quickly as you can spell J-E-T-S (Green Bay’s Week 2 opponent).
“Lord have mercy, we got Percy.” Well said, Russell Wilson. Pete Carroll said the Seahawks just scratched the surface of how they will use wide receiver Percy Harvin. Last night, much like the Super Bowl, it was mostly jet sweeps. Green Bay, like Denver, couldn’t stop it—Harvin had four carries for 41 yards—and so Seattle didn’t have to adjust. Harvin was effective out of the backfield as well, catching seven passes in various spots of the field. Seattle was fourth in the league in rushing last season and tied for eighth in points per game, but with a healthy Harvin for a full season expect those rankings to improve.
CBS Local Sports’ preview for the game noted how thin Green Bay was on the offensive line after three preseason injuries to key players. It only got worse last night, as Bryan Bulaga hurt his knee in the second quarter and did not return. His replacement, Derek Sherrod, did not look up to the task. Bulaga missed all of last season with a torn ACL but Green Bay’s trainers said after the game they don’t fear a similar injury. Still, the Pack can’t afford for him to miss any time—the critical sacks they allowed last night are proof.
Seconds for Seattle?
Seattle looked like a juggernaut last night. There have only been eight repeat champs in NFL history and just one since the Broncos did it in 1999, but Seattle looks more dangerous than last season. It was only one game, and teams will adjust to Harvin, but the defense and run game figure to remain strengths all season.
Packing it in
The numbers were not pretty. The Packers rushed for 80 yards on 21 carries and Aaron Rodgers threw for just 189 yards. Only once has Rodgers thrown for fewer yards in a loss in which he played the entire game and that came in his rookie year. He was pressured for sure (and sacked three times), but even when he had time he couldn’t connect on a big play. The good news? It will only get easier for the Green Bay offense, as no defense can match Seattle’s intensity.
Not so special teams
Both teams looked a bit rusty in the first quarter of the first game of the season. Seattle punted on its first possession, but the drive was extended because of a clear running into the punter penalty. The Seahawks picked up one more first down and then knocked in a field goal for the first score of the game. When Green Bay punted on the ensuing possession, Richard Sherman bumped a Packers player into return man Earl Thomas, causing a fumble that the Packers recovered in Seattle territory and converted to a touchdown.
Andrew Kahn is a regular contributor to CBS Local who also writes for Newsday and The Wall Street Journal. He writes about the NFL and other sports at AndrewJKahn.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter at @AndrewKahn
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