It was just another game right? Yeah, sure. Everybody knew during the week that the talk coming from the Green Bay Packers locker room about their matchup against the Seattle Seahwks being just another early season game was folly. Their true colors showed on the field, and to say they wanted this one badly is an understatement. The Packers’ 27-17 over Seattle victory didn’t make up for the NFC Championship debacle, but it could be a huge driving force for this season.
When Lambeau Field is that loud and the Green Bay defense is playing with that kind of fire you know it’s not your normal Week 2 game. This was evident from the first series when Nick Perry and B.J. Raji made huge stops on Marshawn Lynch for minus five yards total. The defense didn’t always play that well, but that set the tone for what the rest of the game would be like.
Raji in particular was a beast, and this has been the second consecutive game he has looked at the top of his game. With Raji and Matthews in the middle opposing running backs have had a tough time finding running room up the “A” gap so far this year. Matt Forte did most of his work on the edges. It was very ironic that while Raji was dominating down in the middle Jimmy Graham was a no show. Maybe the Seahawks would like to have Max Unger back right now?
Lynch was held to 41 yards in 15 carries in the game. The tackling was excellent, and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix didn’t even miss one. Not even the most optimistic Packers fan could have predicted that. Russell Wilson was an issue when Seattle got smart that the Packers were selling out to stop Lynch, but fortunately the Packers got ahead again and it took Seattle out of the read option.
Green Bay’s emotion and determination got tested as the game went on and they responded in a huge way. Player after player went down and it seemed like the cart would run out of gas soon. The Packers at one point were playing without four of their top offensive players. However, good teams have players ready to step up, and the Packers got so many key contributions from so many different guys.
Of course, the biggest hero was Jayrone Elliot with his one-handed interception of a Russell Wilson screen and a forced fumble of Fred Jackson on Seattle’s final possession. Elliot has always been a preseason star, but he finally showed off his potential in a game that counts. Nick Perry also played much better game at outside linebacker too. When the Seahawks were moving the ball on offense I was wondering if it was time to get Clay Matthews some pass rushing chances, but if Elliot keeps making plays they can afford to keep Matthews in the middle.
James Starks was huge running for 95 yards on 20 carries with Eddie Lacy out of the game. Starks’s 35-yard run with the Packers down 17-13 really changed the momentum of the game. Green Bay only got a field goal on the drive, but they had zero going offensively for awhile before that. Starks made sure the Packers weren’t one-dimensional even without Lacy.
Ty Montgomery stepped in with Davante Adams not 100 percent and caught four passes for 37 yards in the second half. Aaron Rodgers trusted Montgomery enough to go to him on a big 3rd-and-6 play with the Packers ahead 24-17 on Seattle’s 21 and he delivered with a 13-yard catch. Don Barclay stepped in for Bryan Bulaga and did an admirable job. It wasn’t always pretty, but he battled the whole game and outplayed David Bakhtiari.
Obviously, none of this happens without Rodgers, who was at the top of his game yet again. Time and time again his flawless footwork in the pocket allowed him to escape the Seattle pass rush that was coming at him seemingly the whole game. He avoided a countless number of sacks and was once again a master with his cadence. Then, there are the physical throws that only Rodgers can make like the touchdown to James Jones.
However, even with Rodgers’s greatness this was a total team victory. Would you have believed anybody if they told you that Richard Rodgers, Starks, Montgomery, Barclay and Elliot would all play huge roles in the Packers beating the Seahawks? Probably not. It felt a little bit like 2010 again. This was a Week 2 win that certainly felt like more, even if it just means the Packers are 2-0.