Instant Reaction: Seahawks pound the Packers

September 4th, 2014 | Written by Rob Staton

Bobby Wagner recorded 14 total tackles

This was a rout. One of those games with a deceptive scoreline — even at 36-16.

The quick-tempo offense Green Bay installed played right into Seattle’s hands. Pete Carroll wants to avoid conceding explosive plays and force turnovers. Chipping away on short passes he’ll take every time. Bend but don’t break. The scheme helped convert a few 3rd and 5′s but they never truly tested the secondary.

Rodgers, one of the best deep throwers in the NFL, barely took a shot.

The most explosive play the Packers had all night was a 44-yard pass interference call against Bobby Wagner. The second most explosive was an avoidable Earl Thomas muffed punt.

They tried to establish the run but the Seahawks tackled well and plugged gaps. Eddie Lacy left the game with concussion symptoms after a 12-carry 34-yard evening. Rodgers didn’t fair much better with 189 yards a score and a pick.

Green Bay’s gameplan was predictable. To beat this team, particularly in Seattle, you need more. You need a quarterback like Colin Kaepernick who can do the unexpected and run around to make plays. You also need to avoid the seven interceptions Kaepernick has thrown against the Seahawks. It’s tough. But in a game that was essentially Rodgers vs Seattle, the Packers never took the training wheels off.

It wasn’t a flawless display by the home team and that has to be concerning for the rest of the NFC. This, if anything, was a classic loosener. There’s room for improvement and they still won by 20 points.

First let’s get into the stand-out positives after one viewing…

James Carpenter had a sensational performance. He always had talent. Big time talent. In fact given Mark Ingram’s issues in the NFL so far, you almost want to go back and give him an even higher grade. He jumped off the screen for Alabama and tonight he jumped off the screen against Green Bay.

On virtually every productive Seahawks run Carpenter had either a key block or just dominated his opponent. Seattle could run to the left side with ease picking up huge chunks of yardage. At one stage Lynch was averaging around 10 YPA. Carpenter destroyed every opponent he faced on an over-matched Packers D-line.

Tom Cable tipped him to become one of the best guards in the NFL along with J.R. Sweezy. On this evidence tonight, they’re already there. They’ll face tougher match-ups but Carpenter is almost certainly Seattle’s best offensive lineman right now. What a turn around and fingers crossed he stays healthy.

They fed Percy Harvin a lot — seven catches for 59 yards, four runs for 41. He could’ve had more but for a brilliantly executed flop by Clay Matthews drawing a flag and bringing back another big run. He also had a 31-yard return.

If you gave him 300 total yards tonight it wouldn’t tell the whole story. Stats will not define Harvin this year. His greatest characteristic is his mere presence on the field. Green Bay had to account for him every time. As a consequence every skill player on the field became more dangerous. Time and time again they ran Harvin on a fly sweep to one side of the field and he carried the defense with him. He’s so explosive over the first 5-10 yards he was eating up downs without breaking sweat.

When he did have the ball he was explosive. The only thing missing was a score. They’ll come in good time.

When has Seattle ever had a player as exciting as this?

If there is one criticism — on more than one occasion he stumbled and lost his footing. Given he was the only player with this issue, he probably needs to look at his footwear for the next home game.

Byron Maxwell got all the attention as Rodgers avoided Richard Sherman like the plague. The volume of targets he’ll receive plus the scheme means he’ll give up some plays in 1v1 coverage. Nobody should be surprised that Jordy Nelson made a few catches against Maxwell. Yet he maintains the ability to create turnovers. He had one interception tonight and a superb downfield pass break-up on Nelson. Don’t underestimate that play — he showed superb technique to avoid a flag and a huge penalty. On the next play Rodgers was sacked by Cliff Avril on 4th down, forcing a turnover.

The pass rush had a quiet first half but found it’s rhythm in the second. Avril, Michael Bennett and O’Brien Schofield all had sacks — no mean feat given the up-tempo nature of the Green Bay offense. There’s still work to do here but against such a prolific passing game this was a reassuring performance.

Zach Miller deserves a mention. He had an acrobatic red-line catch, several key edge-blocks, drew a holding call over the middle and defended a certain interception all in the first half. He ended the night with three catches for 42 yards.

Marshawn Lynch showed tonight why he’s still the key to the offense.

Now onto the not-so-great stuff…

What was Earl Thomas doing on his three first-half punt returns? The first should’ve been a fair catch, wasn’t and nearly led to a nasty hit/turnover. The second should’ve been a fair catch and did lead to a nasty hit/turnover. The third he allowed to bounce inside the 10-yard-line and again — should’ve been a fair catch. If he’s going to keep this role he has to make smarter decisions. The costly muffed punt turnover put seven points on the board for Green Bay. At half-time a one-sided affair was closer than it should’ve been at 17-10.

Stats can be deceiving. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix was credited with a sack on a play where Russell Wilson ran for the sideline instead of throwing the ball away. He lost an inch or two on the ‘run’. How that is recorded as a sack I’ll never know. But no doubt there’s an analytic’s website somewhere willing to blame Breno Giacomini for that play.

Seattle was very creative on offense and it worked. But there were a few times where they went away from the run for no apparent reason. On the first drive after half time they drove up to midfield behind Lynch and Turbin and three passes later they were punting. I’m nitpicking here.

The Seahawks are going to take some stopping. Green Bay are far from a bad team and they were made to look very ordinary tonight.

91 Responses to “Instant Reaction: Seahawks pound the Packers”

  1. redzone086 says:

    Wow what a slow building.beat down. GO H!

  2. AlaskaHawk says:

    Lockette had a couple good catches. Thomas and Chancellor looked good, to bad Thomas didn’t get an interception at the end of the game. Wagner had 14 tackles.

  3. Walla Walla Hawkfan says:

    Great finish after an anxiety filled first half. Does anyone know what Russell’s QBR was tonight?

  4. Colin says:

    Green Bay were fortunate. No PI, no turnover by Earl, they might not have sniffed the endzone. The run defense gave up a couple of runs to Lacy and others, but that happens against a good team. For Green Bay standards, this game amounted to nothing for them. They accomplished absolutely zilch.

    Carpenter and Sweezy were dominant. Okung and Britt… not so much. Russell was still under a fair amount of pressure. This has to change when we open up the checkbook for Russell Wilson.

    McCarthy showed why he is a good, but not great Head Coach. He allowed himself, and his team, to become frustrated. The 4th down gamble was foolish and it didn’t work. Abandoning the running game later only further hurt his team. He’s thankful to have Rodgers. The Bennett sack/fumble/safety effectively demoralized Green Bay. They were toast. As much as we like to bitch at Bevell for getting greedy/repetitive, this offense never gets totally demoralized.

    I thought Seattle would give up some yards and 21 points to the Pack. I was wrong. Just like I thought they would give up 20 points to the Broncos in the Super Bowl. This team is Damn Good.

    May the health be with them. They stay healthy, and they’ll be the favorites to win it all again.

  5. Michael M. says:

    Great game by Bevell tonight. Only play I didn’t like was the conservative run call on 3rd and nine just past mid-field when it was still a one (or maybe two) score game. Literally loved everything else he did. Of course it’s pretty easy when Big Carp is opening up Grand-Canyon-Sized holes in the run game and you’ve got a top 5 HB and QB… I love this team.

  6. PatrickH says:

    This was a fantastic performance by the offense tonight. I loved that play action TD pass to Lockette off the zone read, Zach Miller’s one-hand catch, and the screen pass to Marshawn (after a fake jet sweep to Harvin) in the 4th quarter. Carpenter and Sweezy were elite tonight in run blocking. Harvin and RW were unstopable.

    The defense were their usual self. They gave up some passes and have a Pi penalty, but those were expected against Aaron Rodger and co. The only negatives were several miss-tackles against the run.

  7. Coug1990 says:

    Good instant reactions Rob. One of the things you touched on was Maxwell. I think it should be noted that Pete does not want his CB’s to get beat deep. While Maxwell was giving up completions, they were for few yards. Pete will take that any time. Rogers had 5.7 Y/A this game and much of the yardage was in garbage time.

    • Brandon says:

      Maxi might get targeted 150 times this year, and end up with double digit interceptions, if just for the freaky amount of volume passes thrown his way.

    • redzone086 says:

      I read that Rodgers was 12/18 passes for a poor 89 yards in the 1st half. That’s a lot of dump passing and good coverage down field.

    • bigDhawk says:

      The other big key to that is YAC. Like Denver in the SB, GB had virtually no YAC in this game. Sure, the receivers had the comeback route open pretty much all game, but were instantly obliterated upon catching the ball. That’s just the cost of doing business against an AR offense in a year emphasizing defensive holding and illegal contact. I though it was a job well done by our secondary, as Rob described.

  8. KHawk says:

    $14 million/year seems high to ensure 3rd best receiver is securely covered all game. Hopefully we move Sherman around and let him cover better guys. Major waste of elite talent and attitude if we allow teams to avoid him.

    • Coug1990 says:

      I hope you are being sarcastic. The Seahawks just beat one of the best teams and best passing attacks in the NFL by 20. That sounds like it worked perfectly.

      • Arias says:

        So long as Maxwell can continue to force turnovers and make key stops while avoiding getting scored on then it’s all good. No need to mess with the defense. The issue arises if we ever face a team with receivers that can beat Maxwell with regularity. Quinn/Carroll did throw in some wrinkles by way of tricks and disguises last year that seemed designed to give Maxwell better cover and safety help. In particular I’m thinking of the last two games against SF that I noticed how the D would compensate strongly towards Maxwell’s side while leaving Sherm to go it alone on his third of the field without help. Regardless, it seemed to work out quite well.

        The other caveat I might be concerned of is that with quarterbacks so studiously avoiding Sherm, his biggest battle now becomes against himself. He’ll need to find ways to self motivate to prevent himself from getting bored and losing his edge. Of course he’s a pro and we all expect he’d be able to handle it, but it’s just something to keep in mind too because he has such public and vocal means of self motivating that we’re all aware of that he uses to “get up” and play his best during games. If quarterbacks completely heed his verbal demands of last year and no longer ever ‘try him’, how is he going to maintain the chip that fuels him? It could be useful for coaches to assist him in maintaining his edge by assigning him the opponent’s best receiver all game at least for some of the matchups that Maxwell might have more difficulty with.

        • Belgaron says:

          Maxwell should have 10+ interceptions this year. Probably the most in the NFL. He should credit Sherman for half of them because as a shutdown corner he is forcing all the action his way.

    • OHawk says:

      Dude if you make the other team give up a third of the field it’s going to be an uphill battle for them. Let Sherman be bored all day long if you make Rogers look like Christian Ponder.

    • CHawk Talker Eric says:

      He gets paid the big bucks to keep the best QB in football from even thinking of throwing to his side. The entire right side of the field, from hash mark to side line, gone.

      I’d say that’s money well spent.

    • Dumbquestions says:

      Strongly disagree. I think if you have a defensive player who takes half the field away from an offense with an elite QB, that’s worth every penny of $14 million. If Aaron Rodgers is unwilling to throw in Sherman’s direction, who else in the league will do it?

      It’s worth $14 million to force an offense to operate in narrower margins. That’s the way it was for Darrelle Revis in his prime period with the Jets, and we’ll see if it works out the same way for Revis this year.

      What do you mean by “allow teams to avoid him”? Sherman is not an offensive player. He’s not a D-lineman who can jump all over the formation and attack the QB. He’s not Clay Matthews. You can’t *force* people to throw at Sherman. Move him to the other side and they’ll still throw away from him. That’s the point. It’s a bit like a great hitter in baseball who destroys fastballs. Do you pitch him fastballs just to prove your worth? No. You throw junk.

      Note the side benefits of the Sherman Effect:

      1. Even when he made a mistake and bit on a fake, Rodgers *still* avoided throwing to Sherman’s side. That’s Aaron Rodgers, man. Expect this to happen all year.

      2. If Sherman controls one side, that frees Earl to double up on the other. It frees Kam to be destructive. It cramps the field. The Packers had no pass plays of any consequence, apart from the PI on Wagner, who was – yes – caught in a mismatch that Rodgers smartly exploited.

      3. That’s it. That’s all of it. The LOB held Rodgers under 200 yards. They held an HOF QB who is top 2 or 3 in the league under 200 yards. You think Sherman cutting down the field had something to do with, maybe?

      4. Even when Rodgers scrambled a little and gave himself some space, he *still* threw to the opposite side, across his own body, still avoiding Sherman. Rodgers can get away with those throws. I don’t think any other QB in the league can do that (save Stafford, maybe) can get away with that. In other words, Sherman’s presence forced Rodgers to choose the most difficult options. That’s exactly what you want. Lesser QBs (virtually everyone else) will screw up in bigger ways when faced with such choices.

      5. It’s easy to look at Jordy Nelson making a few dink-and-dunk grabs and think it would be nice to stuff him with Sherman. But that misses the overall – you *want* Rodgers held to dinking and dunking. You’re trying to stop his bombs.

      The game is about mismatches. Put your best guy in a position to beat a weaker guy. Every team with an elite receiver will try to point that receiver at the perceived weakest point of the defense to create a mismatch. That means avoiding Sherman and targeting Maxwell. That’s what Manning did in preseason, and you can be sure he’ll try it again when Denver visits in Week 3.

      You could make an argument that Dez Bryant is the single best receiver the Seahawks will face this regular season when Dallas comes to town in Week 7. Do you think Dallas will line Dez up against Sherman? Is that what you’d do if you were Dallas? Or would you do everything in your power to set up plays where Dez goes against Maxwell?

      I know what I’d do.

      - DQ

      • Brandon says:

        I really dislike this follow-the-receiver around crap. It’s a simplistically weak argument. Funny to hear Hines Ward lament Sherman not shawdowing Jordy Nelson and referencing Revis as an example. Well guess who’s due to strictly play the left side in New England this year?

        DQ, said it as well I could, but I just want to emphasize his point regarding QB’s having to thrown back across their body. Keeping Sherman left takes away that strong side throw, which for nearly every quarterback is going to be the thrown they most often want to make. Stats will bear this out as QB’s will most always be more accurate throwing to their right. Starting forcing them to throw nothing but left and checkdowns and you force them the QB to play to a weakness. Not to mention the help you can slide away from Sherman.

        • bigDhawk says:

          Another thing it does in addition to eliminating the strong side throw – as someone on Twitter pointed out after the game – is flip the opponent’s OL. The RT now becomes the blind side blocker since the QB is looking exclusively to his left. This creates a very favorable pass rush situation that can be exploited by stacking both Avril and Bennett over the RT and pinning their ears back. That is how we got the sack/safety in the second half and we have Sherm to thank for it.

      • Arias says:

        @DQ,

        You’re missing KHawk’s point, which appears to stems from your lack of understanding of coverage schemes. First I should point out that when you say “It’s worth $14 million to force an offense to operate in narrower margins. That’s the way it was for Darrelle Revis in his prime period with the Jets”, that it’s simply not accurate. The way Sherm operates is NOT the way Revis did so for the Jets. Revis was such a talented corner in man coverage that Rex Ryan designed his entire defense around Revis. Ryan was the first defensive coordinator to fundamentally change how cornerbacks cover their receivers using this method. Before Ryan, great cornerbacks would be assigned to take away their half of the field, like how Deion Sanders was deployed in his prime was similar to how Sherman is used now. But Ryan’s scheme instead had Revis assigned to shadow the opponent’s #1 receiver, no matter where he lined up across from the defense. So instead of removing their assigned portion of the field, a shutdown corner would instead be taking out their opponent’s most dangerous receiving weapon away from any QB set on avoiding him.

        Ever since Ryan starting scheming this way, his method of having a shutdown corner shadow the opponent’s #1 has become in vogue and all the teams that have a legit shutdown corner (and some that don’t) now all use a similar scheme that assigns them to take out the opponent’s best receiver. What do you think the whole Sherman vs Peterson fuss was about this offseason? Did you understand why the debate was so contentious and couldn’t really be resolved? It’s because Sherm plays in a zone defense whereas Peterson plays man to man. No matter how well Sherm plays his critics never fail to point out that he has it easier since it’s easy for opposing offenses to avoid him by sending their #1 receiver on Maxwell’s side whereas Revis or Peterson spend their time trying to shut down opposing #1s all game while Sherm gets to skate easy shutting down his side of the field against #2 and #3 quality receivers.

        That’s what khawk meant when he mentioned the Seahawks scheme allowing offenses to easily avoid Sherm. Ryan’s man scheme minimizes those mismatches by removing the option that the opposing offense has of exploiting their #1 receiver against cornerbacks of lesser talent than the best one playing on the defense opposing them. And he does have a point. It could be argued that a 14 mil a year shutdown corner shouldn’t have his talents wasted covering #2 and #3 receivers that will never be thrown to and instead be assigned to take out the opponent’s best receiver.

        • Dumbquestions says:

          @Arias,

          I’m not trying to chap you. Please accept my due respect for the point you’re making re Revis and the idea that Ryan devised schemes to suit his talents. It’s fair, and I get it. I’m not trying to suggest that Revis *functioned* in precisely the same manner as Sherm – I’m suggesting that the *effect* (shutting down and getting paid) is the same. I suppose I’m more focused on the money argument.

          If I read you correctly, the underlying point ties back to the who’s-better debate, i.e., if Revis and Peterson neutralize receivers all over the field rather than on a single side, they are better than Sherm, who can thus be characterized as benefitting to some degree from a system rather than innate ability.

          And that’s fine. The thing is, I’m not invested in the Sherman v Revis/Peterson argument. Maybe they are better than Sherm by that measure.

          OK. But the scheme the Hawks run is *their* scheme, their idea, and that’s the way they use Sherm, and it works. He doesn’t get to decide. So it’s not quite fair to play the what-if game. Apart from that, we don’t *know* that Sherm couldn’t work in a Revis/Peterson way, though he did it by his own request against Anquan Boldin (see week 2 – 2013) and sparkled.

          Bottom line: Your argument is with PC and Quinn. If they want to use Sherm Deion-style, I’m OK with it. Deion was pretty good – and worth the money.

          - DQ

          • Arias says:

            Ah ok. Sorry I misunderstood where you were coming from.

            I’m not saying I agree with the criticism of Sherm at all. I think he could easily hold his own in man coverage if he were assigned to cover the opposing #1. In fact, I think Peterson’s got a really poor case at claiming he’s anywhere close to Sherm’s level because his stats last year were so inferior that it demonstrated that it was questionable to even call him a ‘shutdown corner’ when his stats and tape screamed otherwise. The only reason it’s even a debate with Peterson is that because they don’t play in the same scheme you can’t properly do a head to head comparison that would otherwise provide perfect clarity as to who was better.

            With Revis I think the debate is much more even, he wasn’t used in a scheme best suited for his talents last year, but he still played remarkably well in Tampa’s zone coverage … demonstrating the smarts that he could move effortlessly between zone and man without issue. I’ll be interested to see whether he can reform to prior pre-injury form this year in New England.

            I was just pointing out that Khawk was voicing what appeared to me to be a legit argument; that Sherm’s talents are being expensively wasted by not having him shadow opposing #1′s and letting the opposition avoid him by lining up their best receiver on the side he’s not covering. I’m not saying I necessarily agree with that perspective and think Quinn should change his scheme, I see no reason to change what has worked and made this defense historically good. It’s only for selfish reasons that I wouldn’t mind seeing Sherman shadow opposing #1′s full time because I’m strongly confident that he’d be able to do it really well and it would shut the haters up that claim he’s not a shutdown corner because he doesn’t draw the assignment of opposing #1′s all game. But there’s absolutely no legit reason to actually do that right now so that’s all hypothetical.

            • dave crockett says:

              It’s an interesting hypothetical that really cuts to the question of how you approach pass defense. Carroll’s pass defense is secondary-centric. Most other approaches are front four-centric.

              We have talked so much about Carroll’s approach to the front four–and the influence of Monte Kiffin–that I think we lose sight of his general approach to the secondary. That’s a shame because we effectively understate the influence of George Seifert during his 49ers years.

              Carroll, as I understand it, wants to force QBs to throw short. Therefore, he puts a premium on corners and safeties that can drop and stop, then recover to deliver a forceful blow. He acquires talent with that in mind. The ability to shadow a receiver is (obviously) important, but for Carroll it’s a technique issue and less an individual talent issue. He trains the secondary to shadow the same way. So, having his best CB trail a #1 WR is superfluous in his scheme (as others have pointed out).

              Other approaches to pass defense are more pass rush-centric. The goal is to not have the pass thrown at best, but more commonly to disrupt the pass. The secondary is an extension of the pass rush. If we can’t disrupt the throw we disrupt the catch attempt. Here, there is a HUGE premium on cover skills. Not putting your best corner on the best WR is basically playing with a hand tied behind your back.

              • dave crockett says:

                Edit: 3rd sentence — Most other approaches are PASS RUSH-centric.

              • Arias says:

                Interestingly, at his press conference Carroll did appear open to the possibility of flipping Sherman to cover the other team’s best receiver if the situation calls for it and said “it may come up during the season”. He mentioned there’s no reason to do anything differently right now but said there “may come a time”.

                Reading between the lines it seemed clear that what he was saying was that so long as Maxwell continues playing well, he sees no reason to change. But if he starts getting exploited by the other team’s #1, he’s not opposed to making the adjustment either.

      • Trenchtown says:

        In previous interviews, Sherman has stated he agrees with the poster in this thread. Sherman has said that just scaring the QB away with tight coverage is not enough. Instead, you have to bait the QB into making bad throws which will turn into turnovers and incompletions. This is what Sherman does (remember the Sanchez endzone throw two years ago?). This is also what Revis does. Te elite CB that just shut down a side of the field without trying to bait QBs was Nnamdi Asumouah.

        Sherman will get thrown at more this year than he was thrown at tonight. The Packers game plan was to stick a guy out with Sherman and under no circumstances was Rodgers to be tempted to make the throw. They executed that plan because Rodgers is a talented and disciplined guy.

      • Robert says:

        Another Sherman induced factor:
        Normally the LT protects the blind side of a right handed QB. But when AR is only looking to the left all night, the RT effectively becomes the blind side protector. The packers had a reserve playing RT after the starter was injured. And the big sack/fumble/safety occurred while AR was looking left, completely unaware that Bennett had just blown by the RT. I will be surprised if other teams copy the Packer’s strategy to blatantly avoid Sherman for the entire game. If teams do not attempt to spread out our D, they have no chance.

    • JeffC says:

      If you are shutting down half the field from the game plan, that is 14 million well spent. You are completely off base here.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I disagree KHawk — if he’s eliminating one side of the field and cutting it in half, that’s a major benefit to the defense for me. And I doubt most teams take that approach, I think he’ll be tested. Green Bay were over thinking on that one.

      • Coug1990 says:

        The Seahawks have perhaps the best defensive backfield in NFL history (or at least they are in the conversation) and people are finding ways to complain or lessen Sherman. Unbelievable. If anything, teams should be copying what Seattle is doing. It works.

        • Michael M. says:

          Pete Carroll is, in my opinion, the greatest defensive secondary coach ever. Probably not so easy to copy without that guy at the helm.

          • Belgaron says:

            The other underestimated point is how smart Sherman, Thomas and Chancellor really are. You can find doppelgangers physically but they really are brilliant technicians who do their homework and understand the game as well as the top QBs both individually and collectively.

            Maxwell is extremely gifted athletically but should have come into camp in the best shape of his life and needs to take that next step in terms of reading plays and disguising his coverage for the easy pick. He will make strides this year and will have an NFL leading year with 10+ picks.

  9. OHawk says:

    Amazing game since we won by 20 and you know we left points on the field and spotted the other team a TD with such a bonehead play by one of our best players.

    I also love that the first PI call with the new emphasis on the Hawks was on a LB and not on the LOB. Even better that Wagner ran side by side with one of if not the fastest guy on the Packers to even get flagged.

    This offense is going to be top 5 this year and you know the defense is going to be top 5 if not finish number one again. Don’t see how we finish without the top seed this year.

    • OHawk says:

      Forgot one thing, but holy shit does Clay Matthews flop like its the World Cup or what. I mean they need to nip this in the bud and start fining guys for obvious flops or we’re going to wind up like the NBA with dives.

      • AlaskaHawk says:

        I like Clay’s energy level – he even flops with energy. He was a major reason we didn’t get even more yards.

        • bigDhawk says:

          He was the only thing they had going on defense all night. Obnoxious, yes, but I thought it a savvy veteran move trying to grasp for any breath of air on a ship sinking fast.

  10. Arias says:

    I’d be really shocked if Earl is still returning punts after what we saw in that game. If he is then it’d be hard for me to see that as anything but blatant nepotism on the part of Carroll, which is why I can’t conceive of it. Carroll is too smart to fall for that sort of thinking at the expense of the team and let’s face it, any other player that put up a punt returning performance like Earl did in that first half would get the instant quick hook and no chance of seeing a live punt return again. Turning the ball over is too fundamental a sin that violates the Pete Carroll playbook to the core. I’m sure he won’t be pleased and will surely sit Thomas down for the stern talk he seems to need on this issue.

    • OHawk says:

      Walters probably gets the duties against San Diego, but you still let Earl earn it back if Walters doesn’t run away with it. Earl is just to explosive a player to not give a second chance.

      Here’s hoping Walters turns out to be just as good or better than Tate at punt returns.

      • Arias says:

        I think Walters “runs away with it” so long as he knows when to fair catch and he doesn’t fumble the ball. I think if he can demonstrate those two key features fundamental to punt returning then the job is his to lose.

        I’m pretty sure we won’t see Walters confused about when to fair catch and when not to. He’s had continuity doing this as a specialist for a lot longer and much more recently with consistency than Earl has. But of course if he fumbles then all bets are off. At that point I say give Sherm a shot at punt return duties. We’ve gotta have someone back there that doesn’t fumble.

        • xo 1 says:

          It was not just Earl who looked lost on punt returns. The Hawks nearly lost another possession when Thomas’s protection (Lane?) let the ball roll around his feet “blocking” for a ball that was allowed to drop. It’s the first game and the team has tried a lot of combinations in pre-season, but the punt return unit was disjointed. Fortunately, that should be an easy fix but I thought that was the weakest part of the Seahawks’ performance.

          • cha says:

            I saw that too. Either Lane just didn’t realize what was going on or Earl didn’t call “poison” or whatever their codeword is for a punt that won’t be fielded.

          • Ben2 says:

            I thought Lane was out with a groin injury….I remember the play you’re talking about though….lockette?

    • mrpeapants says:

      when thomas fumbled that punt, i originally thought it was A: aterrible decision and B: a crappy block by sherman. but after further review it was just a very clever play by the defender. sherman didnt block him into earl, he initiates the contact with sherm and drags him with him to run into earl, making it appear he was blocked into him. hence no foul for not givin space to catch it. clever
      thought the hawks looked great cept for the pass rush. little disappointed there but a great game by the champs. go hawks

    • Robert says:

      Blatant nepotism aside, I expect PC will remind ET that making smart decisions to Protect The Team (ball) is the most important priority of the punt returner.

  11. Barry V T says:

    Just a few things,

    Bobby is set for a huge year.

    Irvin created instant pressure the second half. Hope to see that continue

    Yep our guards dominated! I hope to see that continue!

    We left first downs on the field.

    We have some very solid\talented and deep WR’s and TE’s.

    Hard to believe GB is more then a 8-8 team.

  12. Barry V T says:

    Something else I noticed about Wilson was he had opportunities to step up in the pocket a few times the first half and didn’t. One of these lead to a sack, though that play looked doomed off the go. Not really criticizing because he dose such a good job it just seemed he missed windows off the start also.

  13. Brian says:

    Been lurking for a long time but first post.
    Maybe I’m nitpicking here but we weren’t getting much pressure before Bulaga went down. Surprised this wasn’t mentioned so maybe my celebrating the victory is interfering with my memory. Otherwise we looked great. Did Richardson get in?

    • Rob Staton says:

      It’s a fair point but they started the second half with a rush to the right side (Bennett) which immediately set the tone. I think half time adjustments would’ve got it going with or without Bulaga on the field.

    • bigDhawk says:

      PRich was in on a few play but was not targeted to my knowledge.

    • Belgaron says:

      Historically, Seattle’s rotating defensive line picks up pressure as the game goes on. They are extremely strong in the second half after making small adjustments and wearing down the opponent.

      • Ben2 says:

        I saw that too Brian…. Not sure about halftime adjustments but what I did notice is that Sherrod (Bulaga’s replacement) got beat worse than Ray rices fiancée. Too tacky joking about domestic violence? Can’t help but cross that line sometimes….Sherrod was a first round pick. With his injury history and poor play maybe it’s time to either try him inside or slap the “bust” label on him

  14. MarkinSeattle says:

    Just a reminder on all the unbridled enthusiasm. First games are not indicative on how teams will play all year. It takes some players more time to get up to speed, as well as to nail down communication.

    Now having said that, there isn’t much to criticize in this game. Rodgers is phenomenal, and we held him to less than 200 yards, with an equal number of Int’s and TD’s. More importantly, it is a game that we really had to win in our quest for home field advantage. All of our home games are must win, and they are one of the two toughest teams we will face at home, it was a tough matchup with it being the first game of the year.

    • Belgaron says:

      True. But it also works in the reverse. Seattle may not be as BAD as they looked. Take away the botched punt, PI call, and a Britt hold and that score changes dramatically.

    • Robert says:

      Despite your warning, I intend to remain unbridled in my enthusiasm…19-0, baby!!!

  15. CC says:

    The D looked a little rusty starting out, but got it going after that first TD drive by GB. I had told my friends – don’t be surprised if GB scores first – but we’ll shut them down later. Well played all around, but of course a few things to improve on.

    The offense looks good – but Britt needs to keep improving. I love that people are saying that first TD to Lock was a “gimmick” – yup, gimmick and a win. I’m pretty sure this team, Pete and all of us couldn’t care less what they call it.

    1-0 every week – and a nice start!

  16. James says:

    The last four QBs the Seahawks have played are Aaron Rogers, Peyton Manning, Colin Kaepernick and Drew Brees. The LoB has bested every one of them, and Russell Wilson has outplayed every one of them. This is how you win championships.

  17. dave crockett says:

    I’ll say this for you Rob. i was A LOT more concerned about this matchup until I read your “Keys” post. I went, “Oh yeah. Dom Capers.”

    It reminded me of Bob Knight once saying something to the effect of, “Whenever I was down to LSU I’d look over to the other bench and see coach Dale Brown. Then I’d be like, well what the hell am I worried about?”

    I generally like the Pack, and Aaron Rodgers is just… that throw he made falling to the sideline that Maxwell broke up? That was a friggn’ WOW throw. That was sublime. That Maxy stayed in position to break it up is equally ridiculous. Anyway, I am wondering now if Capers will be able to do anything against Trestman’s offense and CHI’s big WRs.

  18. Mylegacy says:

    We had three superstars on the field last night.

    Harvin is being paid like one but neither Wilson or Wagner are, yet. IF – we’re going to be able to pay those two anywhere near their market value – then next years draft will be immensely important. Fortunately, we’ve a truck load of picks – even after spending a 6th round on Burley (who looks interesting by the way).

    Rob – go do that Draft VooDoo you do so well!

    • Belgaron says:

      Carpenter is an emerging superstar as is Maxwell, you heard it here first. =P

      • Ben2 says:

        I hope Carp has a great year but I’m not paying him if I’m Schneider. History of knee issues….and finally performing in a contract year? What happens if he gets a payday ? I’d love for Carp to have a great career from here on out but with limited cap I’ll pay Wagz, Russell…maybe KJ but Avril is a free agent too. I think there is a decent chance Okung gets cut for cap reasons if he doesn’t round into better playing shape as the year goes on.

        • OHawk says:

          I think we can get Carpenter next year on the cheap with a one year “prove it” deal since I think other teams will be scared off for the reasons you mentioned. Only way Okung gets cut is if someone else steps up and steals the job from him. You just don’t cut a LT without a clear replacement.

          • Ben2 says:

            Yeah, I hear you….I was surprised by the ease at which Miami was able to get Brandon Albert. I’m not sure what LT free agents are out there next year but I could see a scenario where we sign a 10 mil left tackle and cut our 10 mil left tackle. About same financial allocation but a better player. Seattle is now a sexy free agent destination!

          • Arias says:

            Gilliam is being groomed to be Okung’s potential replacement. That seems pretty clear especially how they got him in some snaps this game.

            If Carpenter has a pro bowl year I’m sure someone would be willing to sign him. There’s always someone out there desperate enough willing to take that risk with a potentially unmotivated player. Look how Albert Haynesworth cashed in in spite of all the signs that once the money was in the bank he would coast.

            • Belgaron says:

              Way too soon to say Gilliam is ready to be a future starting LT of anything close to Okung’s level, but they like him clearly. If Bowie had come into camp in shape and not gotten hurt and/or Scott not finding his medical issues and Gilliam may have had a harder time making the team. But here’s hoping he’s the next UDFA superstar in the making.

        • Robert says:

          Finally performing in a contract year is a dark accusation in light of the known fact that this was his 1st healthy off-season and he worked his ass off to finally fulfill his potential. I am glad Schneider is Schneider…

    • Robert says:

      3? Surely the Beast must meat your stringent criteria…

  19. Steve Nelsen says:

    The 6th round pick for Hurley looks like a great move by Schneider. We would have had a backup safety playing corner if Seattle hadn’t made that deal. The initial news on Lane doesn’t sound too serious but groin pulls generally take time and rest to heal. And with Simon out for a while following surgery, Hurley is going to see the field.

    He was out of place on a number of plays. But, it is really encouraging to see him step in like he did against one of the elite NFL offenses after being with the team for less than a week.

    • CC says:

      I didn’t realize at first that it was Burley playing. And yes, pretty impressive that he came in after just coming to the team and did better than I would have expected.

      It sounds like Lane could be out a couple of weeks – so we’ll need this guy to play and play well.

      • Robert says:

        I think PC said he played 25 snaps and played well. PC also said they are looking to do something at CB.

  20. Ulsterman says:

    Great win, what a difference harvin makes. The guards were both superb and Unger looked back to his best.
    If there’s one player I think we’ll miss from last year it’s Clinton McDonald, interior pressure didn’t look great at times. Also please no more earl returning punts please

  21. Robert says:

    Did anyone see Scruggs do anything? I had high hopes for him and been a bit disappointed that he hasn’t emerged as a significant contributor. Same with Hill, but still hoping. I feel like we need to get some quality contributions from those guys to have the kind of DL rotation that we had last year.

  22. Mylegacy says:

    We, definitely me, have dissected the game: play by play, cover by cover, move by move. We’ve examined every tree in the forest and inspected the bark of each for insect infestations.

    My brother just reminded me of the forest we haven’t spent enough time contemplating. While many of us have suspected that our defense would be weaker (particularly against the run with Red and McDonald gone) and our offense would be stronger this year (with Harvin available and Wilson another year closer to being an Alien Terminator) the truth is much more delicious.

    We stopped the run. We swarmed the run. We held two really outstanding runners – both monsters – to very acceptable yardage. The ONLY real area of weakness we thought we had – we didn’t have. This is huge.

    Wilson the Terminator. Wilson has moved to the next level. It’s not a physical level it’s a mental level. The team is now confident that DangeRuss can handle sets of plays, each play of each set is actually a sub-set of 3 or 4 plays, each of which Russell can choose based on the defenses reactions. What is happening is that the coaches are now able to use Russell’s spectacular mental acuity to make most every play a potential whole sequence of plays – a run, can become a pass, the pass can become a progression, the progression can prove fruitless and become a run – which at the last possible second can become a pass again and a TD.

    We see being created before our eyes a quiet unassuming monster, a monster who uses the “details” the “little things” to turn himself, and our Hawks, into something rare. So rare I suspect it will prove to be Historically Rare. We are not seeing the end of this evolution but merely the beginning. By the time we have seen the full evolution of this we will have experienced Football History. Every Sunday over the next 10 years.

    Tighten your jock straps boys – let the journey unfold. Go Hawks.