Green Bay’s defensive front simply dominated Seattle in holding the Seahawks to 225 yards — fewer than any game for the Seahawks last season — and a mere three field goals in its 17-9 victory Sunday.
GREEN BAY, Wis. — Handed a phone after the game to take a quick look at a replay of one of the biggest turning points in a 17-9 defeat against the Packers on Sunday — two penalties against Seattle on one play that helped to wipe out an apparent interception return for a touchdown in the first quarter — Seahawks coach Pete Carroll wasn’t sure he saw what he was supposed to.
“I didn’t see the punch at all,’’ he said, referring to a punch officials said cornerback Jeremy Lane threw at Green Bay’s Davante Adams, which got Lane ejected. “I’m disappointed that play would have such magnitude on the game. … It’s just such a drastic thing to do that I wish they would have had cooperation from more than one official to talk about it and figure it out because it’s such a big call. One guy saw it and that’s what they went with and I’m anxious to hear how the league tells us how that went, what should happen there.’’
The penalty for a block in the back by Cliff Avril for pushing Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers negated the apparent touchdown by Nazair Jones and instead gave Seattle the ball at the 50-yard line midway through the first quarter of what was then a scoreless game.
Carroll likewise wasn’t sure he saw Avril’s penalty, though he allowed that Avril should have refrained from even attempting a block at that moment with Jones already headed for a score.
“We didn’t need to make the block,’’ he said. “I know that.’’
But if the penalties were hard to see, the larger issue for Seattle was that its offense was basically invisible.
The Packers’ defensive front pushed Seattle’s offensive line all over the place as the Seahawks gained just 225 yards, fewest in almost three years, and Seattle was held to just three Blair Walsh field goals.
The Seahawks went three and out on their first three possessions and punted after each of their first five. For the 60-minute game, they held the ball for just 20 minutes, 47 seconds.
“As an opener, that wasn’t as good looking as we would like to show,’’ Carroll said.
Indeed, Seattle has boasted that its running game would be better this season than a year ago, when the Seahawks were 25th in the NFL at just 99.4 yards per game.
Instead, the Seahawks managed just 90 yards on 18 carries — 59 of which came on two runs (one by Chris Carson and another by Russell Wilson).
And while Seattle’s defense allowed just one touchdown drive of any note, the Seahawks’ offense basically gave Green Bay its first score when Wilson was sacked and fumbled at his own 6-yard line. The Packers scored on the next play on a Ty Montgomery run to take a 7-3 lead at the 10:33 mark of the third quarter and never trailed again.
Seattle’s offense seemed to come to life only when it went up-tempo a couple times, or when Wilson was running around making whatever plays he could.
“We have to do way better and are better than that,’’ Carroll said. “And we will be.’’
That’s certainly the hope.
And maybe it was just a bad day against a good team on the road — Seattle now has lost eight in a row at Lambeau Field dating to 1999 and has dropped games here each of the past three seasons by a combined 82-36 score.
“I classify it as a day to continue to keep growing,’’ said Avril. “On paper, we look amazing. But that means nothing. So for us it’s to continue to keep chopping away, continue to keep getting better as a team and as an individual and if we do that, the sky’s the limit for this squad.’’
Avril said he didn’t know the penalty was on him until teammate Richard Sherman approached him on the sideline in the third quarter and told him that was “a bull call.’’
Asked if maybe the fact that Rodgers is who he is played into the flag, Avril smiled and said, “Some guys get the Michael Jordan rule.’’
Lane wasn’t in the locker room later to talk about his penalty. Adams said he didn’t know if Lane threw a punch but said, “There was a lot going on and I didn’t know if they saw it or what actually happened. But I mean there was just a lot of hand fighting going on.’’
Another penalty later also led to the touchdown that allowed the Packers to put the game away.
Ahead just 7-6 late in the third quarter and facing third-and-two at the Seattle 32, Green Bay quickly snapped the ball as Rodgers noticed Seattle linebacker Terence Garvin running to the sideline. The ball snapped with Garvin still having a foot on the field, resulting in a flag against Seattle for too many men.
That gave Rodgers a free play with Jordy Nelson breaking his route and heading to the end zone. Nelson got behind the Seattle defense and caught a 32-yard touchdown pass to help put Green Bay ahead 14-6. And given the way the Seahawks’ offense was playing, that was basically an insurmountable lead.
Carroll said Seattle had practiced such situations all week and that, “We should have made it off the field. We didn’t get it done.’’
Said Garvin: “We were prepared for it. We worked on it. It’s just I’ve got to get off the field.’’
Monday, they’ll get back on the field at their practice facility in Renton, going back to work to fix more problems than they hoped they’d have.