The Green Bay Packers exorcised at least a few demons last night, finally topping the Seattle Seahawks at home.


The Best

Aaron Rodgers: I should just start exempting Rodgers from this category altogether, as its essentially a given that he’s going to show up here each week.  Finishing with a relatively low QB rating of 89.2, Rodgers was nonetheless the key in the Packers’ win.  After coming out and scoring on the first drive of the game, the offense stalled for much of the 2nd and 3rd quarters.  When the team went down 17 – 13 in the middle of the 3rd quarter, Packer fans were feeling the wheels coming off again, just as they did in the NFC Championship.  But Rodgers remained his calm, cool self, and responded with 3 unanswered scoring drives to close it out.

Run Defense: It wasn’t hyperbole when Chris Collingsworth said that Marshawn Lynch is perhaps the best running back in football, but the same defensive front that was gashed by Matt Forte last week allowed only 41 yards and a 2.7 yards per carry average to Lynch this week.  The defensive line looked stout all night, just completely outplaying a sub-par Seattle offensive line.  It won’t be their greatest test of the season, but it was a much needed improvement after the performance in Chicago.

B. J. Raji: As well as Mike Daniels, Datone Jones, and Mike Pennel played up front, there was no one playing last night on either side of the ball that was as consistent as B. J. Raji.  The Freeza was blowing up run (and a few pass) plays all night, looking downright dominant.  This is a Raji that we have not seen since at least 2011.  If Raji can keep stacking these types of performances, the Packers’ run defense is going to be much improved.

Young Guys Stepping Up: Jayrone Elliott personally ended the Seahawks’ last two drives, Ty Montgomery made some of the most important catches of the night, and Damarious Randall was batting down balls and looking great in coverage.  The Packers are considered a “been there, done that” team because of the veteran leadership of guys like Aaron Rodgers and Clay Matthews, but let’s not forget that this is the 3rd youngest team in the league.  A big part of making a push for a championship, especially for a team this young, is getting young players to improve their play as the year goes on.  We’ve seen a lot of growth from second year player Richard Rodgers already, and these other young guns appear to be heading in the same direction.

The Other 12th Man:  Everyone knows that Packer fans are some of the most devoted in the league, but Lambeau Field is not known as one of the louder places to play.  Part of that is due to the bowl shape of the stadium, but another big factor is that Packer fans at Lambeau, despite the obligatory drunk in each section (you guys know who you are), are not as raucous and rawdy as other crowds.  My theory is that Lambeau hosts more older folks than most other stadiums, and is generally packed with extremely kind and happy Wisconsinites (think the opposite of an Oakland or Philadelphia crowd).

That being said, Lambeau sounded louder than usual last night, and it was obvious that the Seahawks were having a hard time hearing the whistle, the snap count, etc.  Maybe the Packers’ Get Loud Lambeau campaign is working.  Maybe Packer fans need to have their hearts completely broken before they’re going to really make some noise.  Either way, the fans stepped up and made Lambeau just a little bit more formidable for the visiting team.  Oh, and there was also this.

And, last but not least…

The Start of the Revenge Tour:  That’s right.  You’re next, San Francisco.


the wurst 3

Injuries: Only two games into the season and the Packers are already down Jordy Nelson, Eddie Lacy, Bryan Bulaga, Sam Barrington, and Josh Boyd.  The good news is that the injuries last night do not appear to be season-ending.  Boyd looked like he was in a lot of pain, but apparently has only broken a small bone in his ankle, and is not expected to be out too long.  Initial reports on Lacy’s ankle were reportedly negative, but he could still be sidelined for awhile.  Davante Adams also left the game with an injury but was able to return.  There’s not much that the Packers can do about injuries this early in the season other than continue to promote the next man up philosophy, but it sure would be nice to see this trend end.

David Bakhtiari and Don Barclay: Bakhtiari is normally a key component to one of the better offensive lines in football, but he really struggled against the strength of Michael Bennett all game long.  Pro Football Talk reported that Bakhtiari allowed 9 QB pressures, with back-up Don Barclay racking up 10 while filling in for Bryan Bulaga.  If you read Twitter, the general narrative has been that Bakhtiari played poorly while Barclay was serviceable.  When it comes to football, sometimes perception is reality.  The truth is that the offensive tackle play was sub-par last night on both sides of the Packers’ line (that tends to happen when attempting to block Bennett and Cliff Avril).  After Barclay’s disaster of a preseason, however, fans seem much more forgiving with Barclay than Bakhtiari.  And, really, I can’t blame them.  Bakhtiari is the starter and thus is held to a higher standard.

Bakhtiari was clearly not on his game, making some crucial mistakes, but I wouldn’t expect it to be a trend.  This game was an outlier from an otherwise solid left tackle.  Barclay has made strides since his preseason disasters, but there is still a lot of room for improvement.

Pete Carroll:  Submitted without comment.





Taylor O\'Neill is a Packer fan born and raised in Oshkosh, WI. He currently lives in Florida and is pursuing his PhD. Taylor is a writer with You can follow him on Twitter at @TaylorONeill87 for more Packer news.