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Packers defeat Seahawks 17-9 on strong defense & second half offensive surge

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The Packers go to 1-0 on the young season with an impressive defensive performance.

NFL: Seattle Seahawks at Green Bay Packers Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

The Green Bay Packers opened up the 2017 regular season at home against the Seattle Seahawks, earning a hard-fought 17-9 victory and extending the winning streak of the home teams in this head-to-head series.

Fighting bad field position early on, the Packers couldn’t get past midfield through much of the first half despite their defense keeping Seattle well in check. A questionable set of timeouts by Mike McCarthy helped contribute to Seattle scoring the first points of the game, but the Packers’ defense held Seattle out of the end zone for the entire game and the passing game showed up in the second half.

Aaron Rodgers threw for 311 yards and one touchdown, a 32-yard strike to Jordy nelson, as the Packers scored on three straight possessions in the third and fourth quarters. That proved to be enough, as the defense dominated in the red zone and held Russell Wilson under 200 passing yards for the game. Mike Daniels and Nick Perry harried Wilson constantly, keeping him uncomfortable for sixty minutes.

Here’s how it happened.

First Half

The Packers’ defense looked fierce on the opening series, and Nick Perry was a monster early. He beat left tackle Rees Odhiambo for a hit on Russell Wilson on first down, then sacked Wilson on third down to force a punt and a three-and-out.

The Packers’ offense got off to a great start early on the strength of Aaron Rodgers’ arm, as he completed five of his first six passes to Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb. However, it all came crashing down when Rodgers threw a pass into the chest of Nazair Jones, the Seahawks’ nose tackle, who rumbled down the field for a touchdown. However, The Seahawks were called for a pair of penalties on the runback - a block in the back and a personal foul on cornerback Jeremy Lane, who was ejected from the game. Both penalties were questionable, but that removed the Seahawks’ second starting cornerback from the game.

Ultimately, that moved the ball back to midfield and took the score off the board, and the Packers’ defense forced another three-and-out. Backed up at their own two-yard line, the Packers started trying to run the football and got out of the shadow of their own end zone before Cliff Avril sacked Rodgers on third down, getting around Kyle Murphy with a speed rush to force a punt.

The two teams traded punts a few times, with the Packers finally getting the ball outside their own 20 with five and a half minutes left in the half. The Packers got a first down with a laser beam from Rodgers to Martellus Bennett over the middle, then he picked up 21 yards on third and 16 on a pass to a wide-open Davante Adams, who was running a deep cross. That got the Packers across midfield at the two-minute warning. However, a pair of incomplete passes led to yet another punt, and Justin Vogel pinned the Seahawks at the 11-yard line.

Mike McCarthy used a pair of timeouts trying to get the football back with a minute left, and the Seahawks picked up a first down with 30 seconds left. A 34-yard gain to Doug Baldwin and a long scramble by Russell Wilson set up Blair Walsh for a 33-yard field goal and the first points of the game.

Second Half

The first drive of the second half was a bust for the Packers, as they were forced to punt. But two sacks on the Seahawks’ first drive included one by Mike Daniels, who stripped Wilson of the football. The ball bounced right to Kyler Fackrell at the six-yard line, who fell on the football for the Packers’ first turnover of the year. On the very next play, Ty Montgomery plunged across the goal line for a touchdown, giving the Packers their first lead at 7-3.

Seattle finally got moving on offense again on the ensuing drive, as running back Chris Carson broke a 30-yard gain off the right side. However, after Seattle got to a first and goal from the three, the Packers’ defense stiffened and held the Seahawks to another field goal to make the score 7-6.

The Packers then found the end zone on their second straight drive, taking a 14-6 lead. Rodgers and Ty Montgomery led the team down the field to the Seahawks’ 32-yard line, and on a third and two, Rodgers caught Seattle in a personnel change with too many men on the field. With a free play, Rodgers threw a perfect rainbow to Jordy Nelson over the middle, who had split Bobby Wagner and Earl Thomas out of the slot. Nelson made the catch at the goal line for the touchdown and an eight-point lead.

Check out Nelson split the two defenders:

The Packers forced a three-and-out on the ensuing Seahawks offensive series, and Rodgers got the offense clicking again with quick passes and dump-offs to Randall Cobb and Ty Montgomery. #88 left the field with an apparent ankle injury following a first-down pickup, but the Packers were able to add three points on a 40-yard field goal by Mason Crosby to make it a 17-6 Green Bay lead.

The Seahawks got a few big chunks of yardage quickly on their ensuing series, picking up first downs on three straight plays, one two Doug Baldwin and two to Paul Richardson. However, the defense was able to get a couple of incomplete passes leading to another Seahawks field goal that made the score 17-9.

Montgomery returned to the field for the next drive, however, and the Packers moved the ball into Seattle territory again. With the Packers facing a second and six at midfield after the Seahawks took their final timeout, Rodgers found Bennett wide open on a drag route, and he picked up 26 yards. That took the clock down to the two-minute warning, allowing the Packers to kneel out the clock.