Tom Silverstein, Pete Dougherty and Aaron Nagler give their initial impressions from the Packers' 17-9 victory over the Seahawks. USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin
GREEN BAY - Time of possession is one of the most fickle stats in all of football. There are games when the winning team hardly has the ball at all — because of a series of big plays that result in quick scores — and others in which more possession is indicative of overall control.
Sunday’s game between the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks was a defensive slugfest, but eventually, the home team imposed its will. With points at a premium, the Packers put together drives of 4:03, 5:37 and 6:17 in the second half en route to an impressive 17-9 victory.
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers shook off a slow start to complete 28 of 42 passes for 311 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
Running back Ty Montgomery chipped away at Seattle’s vaunted defense with 19 carries for 54 yards and a touchdown. He also added four receptions for 39 yards.
Defensively, the Packers held quarterback Russell Wilson to 158 yards and zero touchdowns.
REPLAY: Tom Silverstein's live game blog
BOX SCORE: Packers 17, Seahawks 9
Here are five takeaways from the Packers' season-opening win:
Coach Mike McCarthy and his staff love to talk about the improvements second-year players make after gaining experience as rookies. This summer, that discussion centered on nose tackle Kenny Clark and defensive end Dean Lowry. They were the players tabbed to make major jumps. While that may be the case in the coming games, it was defensive end Mike Daniels who played like an animal Sunday afternoon. Daniels found his way into the backfield repeatedly against an offensive line whose strength is along the interior. He proved menacing in the run game — seven total tackles including one for loss — and just as difficult against the pass. Daniels was credited with four hits on Wilson and chipped in 1½ sacks as well. His strip sack of Wilson in the third quarter set up the Packers’ first points of the game on a touchdown run by tailback Ty Montgomery.
Tricks of the trade
With the exception of a few plays, Sunday’s game was a sluggish war of attrition. Neither team looked sharp offensively, with the Packers laboring to establish a running game and the Seahawks failing to protect Wilson, causing him to scramble for his life on plenty of occasions. But leave it to Rodgers to find an edge through a keen sense of awareness. Rodgers caught the Seahawks trying to substitute late in the third quarter and hurried his team to the line of scrimmage. He quickly snapped the ball — earning a 12 men on the field penalty — and used the ensuing free play to connect with wide receiver Jordy Nelson for a 32-yard touchdown that gave the Packers the lead.
The Packers rewarded outside linebacker Nick Perry with a five-year deal worth $60 million after posting 11 sacks in 2016, the best year of his career. After one game, the early returns on that contract are promising. Perry destroyed left tackle Rees Odhiambo from the opening whistle, taking advantage of an obvious weakness for Seattle. Odhiambo was forced into a starting role when George Fant tore his ACL during the exhibition season, and Sunday’s game was his first start in the National Football League. Perry generated consistent pressure all afternoon and finished with 1½ sacks and two quarterback hits.
Time not on your side
After a punt by Justin Vogel, the Seahawks took over at their own 11-yard line with 55 seconds remaining in the first half. Seattle ran the ball twice and appeared content to run out the clock and enter halftime with the score tied, 0-0, but McCarthy had other ideas. He called back-to-back timeouts that set up third and 3 with 43 seconds left, hoping to get the ball for his offense. But the Seahawks picked up the first down and then started throwing. Wilson hit wide receiver Doug Baldwin for a 34-yard pass and then added a 29-yard scramble of his own. Blair Walsh nailed a 33-yard field goal as time expired to give the Seahawks a 3-0 lead at the break.
Right tackle Bryan Bulaga (ankle) was among the inactives Sunday, leaving a huge hole on the right side of the offensive line. Kyle Murphy took his place in the starting lineup. Bulaga had practiced on a limited basis Wednesday and Thursday but could not suit up for the season opener. The original injury dates back to Aug. 23, when Bulaga dropped out of practice in training camp. Murphy allowed two sacks in the first half and struggled at times against one of the best defensive fronts in football. In total, The rest of the inactives were CB Josh Hawkins, RB Aaron Jones, CB Lenzy Pipkins, OL Lucas Patrick, DL Montravius Adams and DL Quinton Dial.