The Green Bay Packers will return from Seattle with a 27-24 victory on Saturday night but plenty of the same issues to work on during a short week of practice.
Aaron Rodgers and the No. 1 offense was brilliant again, but there were three turnovers, the starting defense had its hands full against another one of last year’s most impotent offenses and the special teams’ good plays were overshadowed by major blunders.
There’s a lot on the team’s plate with only two practices leading up to Thursday night’s nationally televised game against Indianapolis.
“I thought there was a lot of positive film that we’ll get an opportunity to learn from,” coach Mike McCarthy said. “I thought the start of the offense was what we’re looking for. Defensively, we were able to play a number of new guys, particularly in the first half. Special teams, we wanted to play our whole depth charts of each particular area and we accomplished that. It’s a good win. Anytime you win a football game, it’s a positive for your football team. We’ll continue to work on the fundamental aspects of our blueprint for success.”
Getting 18 snaps, Rodgers finished 8-of-11 for 116 yards and two touchdowns, running his two-game total to 20-of-24 for 275 yards and three scores. That equates to a passer rating of 154.0, or not far off the “perfect” rating of 158.3.
“I think he’s been excellent,” McCarthy said. “He’s doing all the little things that are necessary to spread the ball around and keep our offense in good looks.”
Rodgers came out firing with one of McCarthy’s favorite big-play calls, a fake of a zone run to the left meant to get the defense flowing, with Rodgers rolling right and firing deep to Greg Jennings for 56 yards. A big third-down completion to tight end Jermichael Finley — who was split out wide — set up an easy 3-yard touchdown toss to fullback John Kuhn off play action.
But the special teams gave it right back by allowing a 54-yard kickoff return. Korey Hall and Brady Poppinga both were blocked at the hash marks, leaving a big lane between them and Jarrett Bush. Matt Hasselbeck took advantage of the Packers’ glaring lack of a pass rush by completing four straight passes to get the tying touchdown.
Green Bay recaptured the lead on the ensuing possession, with the second of Rodgers’ third-down completions to Finley resulting in a 12-yard touchdown.
Seattle answered again. Again, Hasselbeck had too much time to pick apart the Packers’ secondary — which compounded those problems by committing two penalties. Leon Washington’s 11-yard touchdown run through a gigantic hole tied the game at 14.
The Packers looked like they were about to fall to 0-2. A field goal boosted Seattle’s lead to 24-17 and rookie Sam Shields mishandled a short kickoff to give the Seahawks the ball at the Packers’ 9. But in the game-turning play, Charlie Whitehurst faced immediate pressure by undrafted rookie Anthony Levine’s safety blitz and Spencer Havner showed off his tight-end hands with an interception at the sideline.
Matt Flynn led that possession to a field goal, and Graham Harrell and the running game mounted an 80-yard drive to the winning touchdown. Harrell’s 23-yard pass to Chastin West moved the ball to Seattle’s 47, and Brandon Jackson — forced back into the game after No. 3 running back Quinn Porter exited with an ankle injury — scampered 26 yards on a great cutback and the final 12 for the touchdown.
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