2013 was the last time Aaron Rodgers threw for at least 300 yards in a season opener. It resulted in a loss. Today, the Packers won a much needed game 17-9. Rodgers’ 311 yards were dimmed by a stout defensive performance. His foe, Russell Wilson, attained a whopping 158 yards through the air as the Packers out gained the Seahawks 370 to 225 in total offense.Ty Montgomery ran for a touchdown while Rodgers used a free play to toss the other to Jordy Nelson. It is difficult to fathom this much excitement coming from the defense like it did today as the season moves on. But for now, it is a nice smile to wear.
You would have to go back to 2015 to find the last time the Packers kept an opposing team out of the end zone for the entire game. Mike Daniels was the main reason for this. Daniels was second on the team with 7.5 tackles and 1.5 sacks. Also, his four hits on the quarterback were adequate in keeping Wilson flustered in the pocket. These stats are almost unheard of from a 6’0 defensive lineman.
Daniels continued his dominance with a strip sack early in the second half. A play that finally got the Packers offense going. Kyler Fackrell recovered the ball on the Seattle 6-yard line allowing Ty Montgomery to make short work of it for a touchdown run the next play.
The Packers have not seen a defensive lineman dominate a game like this since a certain number 92 from the nineties.
Right now Daniels is a way too early candidate for defensive player of the year, which is something no Packer fan would of thought. Yes, Daniels efforts stood out, however it was a collective effort by the defense to force five 3-and-outs. Any doubts aimed at Dom Capers and a young defense are fended off for another week.
It was an ugly first half for Rodgers and the offense. Zero first half points and a near pick six are not what Rodgers envisioned when he woke up today. Usually, the Packers defense leans on the offense and yet today it was other way around.
Slow developing plays allowed Rodgers to get sacked four times. All in the first half. This stat had not occurred since 2012, also against Seattle.
Number 12’s day was saved by one of his patented moves. A 12-men on field penalty gave Rodgers a free play at the end of the third quarter. He delivered a 32-yard laser to Jordy Nelson who beat a linebacker on a deep cross over the middle.
The Packers ended the game on a six minute 12-play drive that only went for 48 yards. A Rodgers scramble on 3rd and 4 essentially ended the game until some extracurriculars occurred.
Rodgers took a late him from K.J. Wright which Martellus Bennett took offense to. Bennett pushed Wright to the ground and earned a 15-yard penalty because of it. Bennett rebounded three plays later for a 26-yard catch to put the game out of reach.
After the game Rodgers spoke highly of Bennett for stepping in. “I support Marty 100 percent in just about anything he does, and he backed me up on that scramble. Marty and I have become fast friends, and I respect him a lot.”
Rodgers will certainly need Bennett’s support next week in Atlanta. Another possible NFC playoff matchup. For the second straight year the Packers will help a team unveil a new stadium. Hopefully this time it will be a different result.
___________________Brandon Carwile was a Cheesehead at birth. His dad grew up attending games at Lambeau and passed on the legacy. He has covered the Packers for over five years and currently works with packerstalk.com. Find him on twitter at @PackerScribe.