The Green Bay Packers have finally defeated the Seattle Seahawks. Behind the late-game precision passing of Aaron Rodgers and heroics by second-year linebacker Jayrone Elliott, Green Bay emerged victorious by the score of 27-17 in a hard-fought game.
The Packers moved to 2-0 on the season and now have the head-to-head win over the Seahawks on the books, giving them an effective three-game lead on Seattle, who is now 0-2.
For the Packers, Aaron Rodgers completed 25 of 33 passes for 249 yards and two touchdowns, while James Starks filled in for Eddie Lacy to the tune of 95 yards on 20 carries. Randall Cobb led the way with 8 receptions for 116 yards.
The Packers' won the toss and elected to receive, and their first drive was a penalty-filled affair. Aaron Rodgers was on his game early. He caught the Seahawks with 12 men on the field on a third-and-one, then on the next play forced the Seahawks' defensive ends to jump offsides before finding Randall Cobb for a big gain. Then Josh Sitton was called for a hands to the face penalty and the Packers took a delay of game penalty to back the Packers up a bit. On second and 15, Rodgers drew Michael Bennett offsides a second time and Rodgers found James Jones, who beat Richard Sherman over the middle, for a 29-yard touchdown. Here's that play:
Good evening Mr. Rodgers. pic.twitter.com/Y50VLucBgS— SB Nation GIF (@SBNationGIF) September 21, 2015
Starting at the 10-yard line on the ensuing drive, the Seahawks went nowhere. A quick three-and-out gave the Packers the ball back in great field position, at Seattle's 44. Thanks to a scramble by Rodgers on third-and-12, Mike McCarthy was able to send Mason Crosby out for a long 54-yard field goal, which he converted to give the Packers a 10-0 lead.
Seattle got poor field position again on the next drive, but a big throw to Doug Baldwin on third down helped them get into position for a 54-yard field goal attempt of his own, which he doinked in off the right upright to cut the lead to 10-3.
The Packers didn't get much going on the next drive, on which they were forced to play without Eddie Lacy after he was taken to the locker room with an ankle issue. A punt and a penalty on Jeff Janis allowed the Seahawks to start at their own 40-yard line, but a nice job by the defense at midfield (including a pass breakup by Damarious Randall on third down) helped the Packers hold Seattle to a punt.
The Packers committed the first turnover of the game on the ensuing drive, which saw them lose more than just the ball. One play after Davante Adams came down with an injury, James Starks caught a swing pass but had the ball stripped by linebacker K.J. Wright, who recovered the ball. The Packers got lucky with an unnecessary roughness penalty on J.R. Sweezy, though, which pushed the Seahawks back out of field goal range and helped to force a punt. Another Packer had an ankle injury on that drive, as Josh Boyd was rolled up on in a pile and was seriously hurt. The Packers didn't get anything going next, however, but got a nice punt from Tim Masthay after gaining just one first down.
The Packers then feasted on Richard Sherman on the ensuing drive with just over a minute left in the half. Aaron Rodgers drew Bennett offsides yet again, and lofted a bomb to Ty Montgomery, who was covered by Richard Sherman...covered too well, however, as Sherman took a pass interference penalty and gave Green Bay 50 yards of free field position. Two catch-and-runs by Randall Cobb got the ball down to the goal line, and then James Jones caught was was originally ruled a touchdown in the corner of the end zone. The play was reviewed, and Jones' right butt cheek (or "a part of the body", as referee Gene Steratore described it) was ruled to have hit the ground out of bounds before Jones had possession of the ball. An incomplete pass to Richard Rodgers led to fourth down and gave the Packers a 13-3 lead at the half.
The Seahawks started the second half with the football and moved the ball down the field quickly. Russell Wilson's passing and running both helped the Seahawks down the field and an offsides call on third and goal (despite the play clock running out) gave Seattle one more chance from the five. Wilson found Fred Jackson for a touchdown to pull the score to 13-10.
The Packers' offense got nothing going on the ensuing drive, going three and out after Michael Bennett beat David Bakhtiari for a sack of Aaron Rodgers.
The Seahawks went back to work on the ensuing drive once again. Wilson continued to give the defense fits, running bootlegs and eventually finding Doug Baldwin for a touchdown to give Seattle its first lead of the night at 17-13. The five-play drive covered just 54 yards.
James Starks helped to wake up the offense on the next series, but it wasn't enough to find the end zone. His 35-yard run sparked the unit, getting them across midfield, but the offensive line gave Rodgers little to no time to throw and Green Bay was forced to settle for a 44-yard field goal attempt, which Mason Crosby converted to pull the Packers back within one point at 17-16.
Then some ridiculous officiating reared its ugly head. The Packers recovered a Lynch fumble, but were called for an offsides penalty. Then the Seahawks got away with a blatant intentional grounding, when a receiver (who was no less than 15 yards from the pass) was ruled to be "in the area" of a clear throwaway by Wilson. Thankfully, the Packers got a stop on third and long and forced a Jon Ryan punt and kept it a one-point game.
The Packers' slot receivers took over on the next series, as they went with four wideouts and one tight end. Randall Cobb heated up with a pair of 18-yard receptions to get the Packers across midfield once again, then Richard Rodgers picked up nine and Cobb had another short gain for a first down to the Seattle 34. Ty Montgomery then got into the act, bouncing off tacklers and picking up another first down and James Jones drew an illegal contact penalty to move the chains again. Richard Rodgers finally broke open in the corner of the end zone on second and goal, and caught a dart from Aaron Rodgers for a touchdown to give the Packers a 22-17 lead. On the two-point conversion attempt, Rodgers went to Rodgers once again, this time over the middle, and the Packers lead was extended to seven points at 24-17.
Jayrone Elliott then made arguably the biggest play of the game on defense. On a pass rush, he dropped back into coverage after diagnosing a screen and made a great one-handed interception:
Elliott fumbled the ball, but was able to recover and give the Packers the ball back with seven minutes left and a seven-point lead.
After a Starks run, a scrum broke out between the teams and led to K.J. Wright being ejected from the game after throwing Richard Rodgers to the ground by the facemask. Starks got several carries on that series, but Ty Montgomery made a big catch on third-and-six to convert a first down and give the Packers a first and goal. Unfortunately, two Starks runs and a quarterback draw by Rodgers came up short and forced a field goal attempt for Crosby coming out of the two-minute warning. Crosby hit from 21 and extended the Packers' lead to 27-17.
The Seahawks moved the ball well after the kickoff, but Elliott delivered the dagger. Fred Jackson caught a pass out of the backfield, but Elliott, trailing him from behind, punched the ball out and the Packers recovered, running the clock out.