Defending champion Seahawks soar to NFL opening day win over Packers
SEATTLE — Russell Wilson made sure everyone knew Percy Harvin was healthy. Marshawn Lynch bullied his way to another 100-yard rushing performance.
And Richard Sherman? He was just bored.
The Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks started 2014 the same way they finished last season, with a convincing blowout win.
Lynch rushed for 110 yards and a pair of touchdowns, Harvin had 100 combined yards rushing and receiving, and the Seahawks stymied Aaron Rodgers’ up-tempo offence in a 36-16 win over the Green Bay Packers to kick off the regular season.
The Seahawks unveiled the first Super Bowl banner in franchise history during a brief pregame ceremony and then began the process of trying to be the first team in a decade to repeat.
Their effort against the Packers — a popular pick to contend in the NFC — will only reinforce the belief Seattle is still the favourite.
And this time, there was no worry about a “Fail Mary” deciding the outcome.
“We got a few more weapons on offence, a lot of guys are more experienced,” Harvin said. “The guys on defence, Kam (Chancellor) and Earl (Thomas), just have another year of experience.”
Wilson was outstanding in the first half, including a 33-yard touchdown pass to Ricardo Lockette. Harvin got touches as a receiver, running back and returner. He was used all over the field in different formations after never being fully healthy in his first season with Seattle.
Wilson finished 19 of 28 for 191 yards passing.
And Lynch was at his best. Pete Carroll said earlier this week that Lynch appeared in the best shape of his career, and it showed. Lynch averaged 5.5 yards per carry and topped 100 yards for the 20th time in the regular season since joining the Seahawks in 2010.
Lynch, who ran for 1,257 yards and 12 touchdowns last season, barrelled through a trio of Packers for the TD with 3:41 left before halftime to give the Seahawks a 17-10 lead and added a second TD run on the first play of the fourth quarter.
Seattle had 207 yards rushing as a team and won for the 18th time in its last 20 regular season home games. Harvin finished with 11 offensive touches including four rushes for 41 yards.
“’Lord have mercy, we have Percy,’ that’s what I always say,” Wilson said. “He is a great player, plays so hard, pushes the other receivers and players and they have a great relationship.”
Rodgers finished 23 of 33 for 189 yards and was isolated to one side of the field. He looked almost exclusively for Jordy Nelson matched up against Byron Maxwell and never threw in Sherman’s direction. Nelson finished with nine receptions, but Maxwell came up with a third-quarter interception on a pass that deflected off Nelson’s hands.
The most action for Sherman came in the first half when he accidently blocked Davon House into Earl Thomas on a punt return causing a fumble recovered by the Packers.
But Seattle’s defence did its part. They sacked Rodgers three times, taking advantage of a knee injury suffered by right tackle Bryan Bulaga in the second quarter. His replacement Derek Sherrod, gave up a fourth-down sack to Cliff Avril to end one drive inside Seattle territory. Following a Seattle punt, Sherrod was beaten by Michael Bennett on Green Bay’s next offensive snap. Rodgers was stripped and Sherrod fell on the fumble in the end zone for a safety and a 22-10 lead.
Nine plays later Lynch walked in from the 3-yard line for a 29-10 Seahawks lead. Rodgers threw a 3-yard TD pass to Randall Cobb in the fourth quarter but Wilson closed out the victory with a 13-play drive that ate up 7 minutes and was capped by a 15-yard TD pass to Derrick Coleman on fourth down with 2:31 left.
Eddie Lacy was mostly a non-factor with 34 yards rushing on 12 carries and left in the fourth quarter to be evaluated for a concussion. Seattle linebacker Bobby Wagner tied a career high with 14 tackles.