Posted by Brian E Murphy, from Hearst Seattle Media, LLC for Seattle PI
1. Some things never change
With all the offseason conversation about Russell Wilson, Percy Harvin and the supposedly revamped Seahawks offense, it was an old regular who proved he’s still the lynchpin of the Hawks’ attack.
Marshawn Lynch — who generated less buzz this offseason than Christine Michael, his supposed eventual replacement — ran for 110 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries (and caught one pass for 14 yards), displaying his trademark physicality and looking fresh after a light workload in the preseason. Wilson and Harvin impressed — more on them in a moment — but Lynch reminded everybody that he is the engine that makes the Seahawks go.
The Hawks’ ground attack totaled 207 yards on 37 carries and never let the Packers get back in the game once they fell behind.
2. But sometimes change is good
Harvin had the kind of game the Seahawks brass must have been dreaming about when they traded for him before the 2013 draft. Whether it was catching passes from Wilson, running the ball or returning kicks, Harvin made a big impact, totaling 120 total yards on 14 touches.
Like we said before the game, Harvin gives the Seattle offense an explosive element it lacked before — but he also makes the rest of the unit better.
An example: In the first half, Harvin gashed the Packers defense with jet sweeps off of motion. In the second, the Hawks motioned Harvin and faked the ball to him while handing off to Lynch, who ran through gaping holes in the Green Bay D.
3. Run D came to play
Though the Green Bay offense is headed by all-world quarterback Aaron Rodgers and an excellent group of receiving options, it was second-year running back Eddie Lacy who was the main focus of the Seahawks’ defense on Thursday.
Middle linebacker Bobby Wagner (14 tackles) and the rest of the Hawks D bottled up the 2013 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, holding him to just 34 yards on 12 carries and knocking him out of the game in the second half. In his absence, Rodgers was forced to throw a ton — particularly in the second half. And while his numbers were respectable enough (23-33 for 189 yards, one touchdown and one interception), the lack of any running threat made the Packers entirely one-dimensional. That wasn’t enough to get the job done against an excellent Seattle defense Thursday night.
4. Boring night for Sherman
Pity poor Richard Sherman. After all, the All-Pro hardly got any action Thursday night, targeted just once by Rodgers and the Packers’ arial attack.
That target, which resulted in a completion that was called back on a Green Bay penalty, won’t even show up in the stat book, which means you’ll have a hard time finding statistical evidence that Sherman played in the season-opening win.
But Sherman’s influence on the game was huge, forcing Rodgers to completely ignore the left side of the Seahawks’ defense — and third-year receiver Jarrett Boykin, who was lined up opposite Sherman nearly all night. That meant the Green Bay offense operated all night without its full compliment of plays and players, and the diminished Packers attack never looked in danger of pulling close after Green Bay fell behind.
5. Seahawks don’t lose at CLink
The Seahawks opened the season in truly grand form, raising their Super Bowl XLVIII championship banner in front of a regular-season record 68,424 at CenturyLink Field. And their effort on Thursday night reminded everyone that the road to Super Bowl XLIX may run through Seattle, as well.
The Hawks fed off of the home crowd, and even though they fell behind early, they never seemed in danger of losing the game. This Seahawks team is made up of many of the players who put together the 14-game home winning streak from 2012 to ’13, and it looks like it’s going to be another long season for opponents traveling to the Emerald City.
6. Hawks don’t look like they’ve lost their edge
Entering the season, many observers wondered if the Seahawks would exhibit the same kind of drive and focus they did last year en route to their Super Bowl victory. Everyone knows that repeating as Super Bowl champions isn’t easy, and it was natural to wonder how the Hawks would handle reaching the pinnacle of the NFL.
If Thursday’s game is any indication, they’re going to be alright.Pete Carroll’s team looked as focused and hungry as ever, dominating for most of the night. A telling stat? The team committed just four penalties, half of what the Packers did.
Original story posted here