Grading the game: Passing marks for Seahawks in season opener
Plenty of good grades to hand out Thursday after Seahawks opened the season with a 36-16 victory over the Packers at CenturyLink Field.
Seattle Times staff reporter
There were a few moments of angst and some minor points to quibble during the Seahawks’ season-opening 36-16 victory over Green Bay.
But ultimately it was an emphatic victory over a Packers team that many consider one of the few opponents capable of keeping Seattle away from a Super Bowl repeat this season.
So the grades are understandably good for this one.
It didn’t turn out to be a big statistical day for Russell Wilson. But the Seahawks coaches will look only at two key stats — turnovers (zero) and wins (one). He also ended up being typically efficient, going 19-28 for 191 yards and two TDs, lifting him to a 110.9 rating. Throw in 29 yards rushing and there’s little to complain about. Grade: A-
So much for those early story lines of Seattle having a tailback-by-committee, or that Marshawn Lynch might be on his last legs. Lynch, instead, looked like the player Seattle has seen every game since he was acquired in 2010, finishing with 110 yards on 20 carries and two touchdowns. Grade: A
Seattle really wanted to get the ball to Percy Harvin — two of the first four plays were bubble screens his way. Green Bay had Harvin pretty well monitored and he drew a crowd much of the time. But his impact on the offense was evident. His best play might have been a slant for a 10-yard completion to convert a third-and-10 in the third quarter to set up a Seattle score. Ricardo Lockette took advantage of his opportunities and tight end Zach Miller had a big night blocking and a highlight-reel over-the-shoulder catch. Grade: B+
Throughout the exhibition season the Seahawks coaches’ touted a line they say can be improved this season. And the early results were promising, especially guards J.R. Sweezy and James Carpenter, who took turns handing out lane-clearing blocks for Lynch and others. Justin Britt got beat a few times at right tackle, and the team often used tight end Miller to help him out. But it was an overall good day. Grade: B+
It took the Seahawks a little while to get the pass rush going, though credit the quickness with which Aaron Rodgers gets rid of the ball for some of that. Seattle also spent most of the game with a four-man rush out of a nickel defense, which aided the coverage. But Seattle got the pass rush going in the third quarter in a sequence that just about sewed up the game with a Cliff Avril sack when Green Bay went for it on fourth down, and then another by Michael Bennett that forced a fumble that turned into a safety. Each came against Green Bay backup right tackle Derek Sherrod. Kevin Williams started at tackle and played well throughout and O’Brien Schofield also continued his good play with some impressive rushes. Grade: A-
Only two linebackers really saw much action — middle linebacker Bobby Wagner and weakside linebacker K.J. Wright — as Seattle spent most of the game in a nickel defense. Wagner, who missed much of the preseason with a hamstring injury was all over the place, with a team-high 14 tackles. The only misstep was his pass-interference penalty when matched up against Green Bay slot receiver Randall Cobb, which resulted in a Packers field goal. Otherwise, stellar. Grade: A-
Green Bay knew where it wanted to go with the ball — which was everywhere but the left side, where Richard Sherman lined up. Sherman did not have a pass thrown his way in man coverage, with the Packers instead going after Byron Maxwell on the right side and Jeremy Lane, then Marcus Burley in the slot. Maxwell gave up a few completions but nothing big, and came up with a big play that mattered, an interception of a tipped pass that helped put the Seahawks ahead 20-10. Lane left with a groin injury in the third quarter, forcing in Burley, who was acquired on Saturday. And Kam Chancellor was a terror to Green Bay’s defense all night, making 11 tackles as Seattle held Rodgers to 189 yards passing. Grade: A
Earl Thomas’ fumble on a punt return, when he was hit as he caught the ball by a Green Bay defender, led to the Packers’ only touchdown of the first three quarters. Otherwise, it was a pretty spotless — if unspectacular — day for the special teams. Harvin had a 31-yard kickoff return that briefly looked like it might be a lot more. The coverage teams were again solid. Grade: B-