Takeaways from Seahawks 17-9 loss at Packers

Seattle Seahawks v Green Bay Packers

The Seahawks were unable to coax a win out of their trip to Green Bay to open the regular season on Sunday.

Seattle had significant difficulty moving the football behind an offensive line that struggled to run the ball or pass protect with much success. The defense did everything it could to keep the team in the game and slow down a potent Packers offense. However, they had to play nearly 40 minutes of the game due to the offense's inability to remain on the field.

A 17-9 season opening loss to the Packers will do little to derail Seattle's hopes this season. While it gives the Packers an early advantage when it comes to possible tiebreak scenarios for the playoffs, a loss on the road at one of the best team's in the conference is hardly something to be overly concerned about.

However, there are some issues that will have to be addressed for the Seahawks to ultimately accomplish their goals. The defensive line was stout, coverage was strong for most of the game, Doug Baldwin continues to make big plays and Russell Wilson is healthy again, but the struggles on the offensive line will be a focal point until the unit starts to up their performances.

Here's our takeaways from Seattle's 17-9 loss to the Packers:

1. Even in its first week, Seattle's pass rush looks extremely formidable.

The addition of Sheldon Richardson via trade last week made the Seahawks' front four look like one of the best in the league. And while Cliff Avril, Michael Bennett, Frank Clark, Jarran Reed and Richardson all left the game with minor injuries at points during the game, the group looked highly productive together on the field.

Seattle sacked Aaron Rodgers four times in the first half and hit Rodgers eight times in the game. The pass rush lost some of its effectiveness in the second half as the Packers held possession for nearly 40 minutes of the game.

Bennett (1.5), Avril, linebacker Terence Garvin and Clark (0.5) all had sacks of Rodgers. 

Rookie Nazair Jones also intercepted Rodgers for a would-be touchdown in the first quarter only to have the score negated due to a pair of penalties called against Avril and Jeremy Lane.

The Packers also managed just 3.0 yards per carry on 28 rushing attempts against the Seahawks.

Performances like that will win Seattle a lot of football games this year. Just not Sunday's game in Green Bay. 

2. Seahawks' offensive line looks like they'll make every team look formidable.

The performance of Seattle's offensive line Sunday against the Packers will do nothing to quell concerns about the unit moving forward.

The Seahawks managed just 36 yards of offense into the final minute of the first half before a 34-yard completion to Doug Baldwin and a 29-yard scramble by Wilson set up Walsh's opening field goal.

Wilson was sacked three times and was hit seven times in total, but he was pressured significantly more than that. Rees Odhiambo allowed two pressures on the first three snaps to Nick Perry. Mike Daniels beat both Mark Glowinski and Luke Joeckel for sacks, the second of which resulted in a Wilson fumble to setup a 6-yard touchdown run by Ty Montgomery. Germain Ifedi also got beat by Clay Matthews for a pressure on Wilson.

Also, Seattle's rushing numbers in total (90 yards on 18 carries for a 5 yards per carry average) don't exactly tell the whole story. Out of those 90 yards, 59 of them came on two carries by Wilson and Chris Carson. Eddie Lacy and C.J. Prosise combined for just 14 yards on nine carries. 

The Seahawks seemed to move the ball more efficiently and protect better when in a hurry-up mode toward the end of each half. However, the Seahawks have said in the past that going to a full-time, no-huddle attack isn't something they believe they can sustain.

The offensive line will have to be better moving forward. They do have some options in reserve to make changes should the current group be unable to handle the job, but it wasn't a great first impression on Sunday.

3. Shaquill Griffin held up well in debut performance.

Third-round pick Shaquill Griffin was forced to play even more than anticipated following the first quarter ejection of Jeremy Lane.

Even with a potent Packers' offense on the other side of the field, Griffin managed to hold up against frequent tests from Aaron Rodgers. He finished the game with 10 tackles and had two passes defended downfield. The completions he did allow didn't go for big plays and he was solid as a tackler as well.

"He played a great football game for his first game out," Carroll said. "I thought everything he did was well done. Really fired up about that. It will help us. He got challenged. They went after him and he stood up to it play after play. That's a big accomplishment for us and for himself and it will help us down the road."

4. Jeremy Lane ejection - legitimate or not - was significant development.

A crucial decision by an official forced the Seahawks to play without starting cornerback Jeremy Lane for more than three quarters.

On Nazair Jones' interception return, Jeremy Lane was wrestled to the ground by Packers wide receiver Davante Adams. Lane appeared to defend himself and shoved his forearm into Adams while the two were on the ground. That was the extent of the altercations from what replays of the incident showed afterward.

However, one of the officials on the field though he saw Lane throw a punch at Adams, which led to Lane being ejected from the game. 

"I didn't see the punch at all," Carroll said. "I'm disappointed that the play would have such magnitude on the game. 

"It's just such a drastic thing to do that I wish they would have had cooperation from more than one official and just talk about it and figure it out because it's such a big call. I'm not even talking about bringing the touchdown back. I'm talking about ejecting the guy. But that's what they saw, one guy saw it and that's what they went with and I'm anxious to hear how the league talks and tells us how that went (and) what should happen there."

The ejection led Griffin to take over full-time at right cornerback with Justin Coleman taking over Lane's duties in the slot in nickel situations. Coleman joined the team just last Saturday in a trade from the New England Patriots and was thrust into a big role in his first game with Seattle.

"It puts a lot of strain on us," Carroll said. "We anticipated playing with that group of guys and it made Shaq have to jump out there in all situations."

If the officials had done nothing regarding the Lane and Adams incident, the touchdown still would not have counted as Avril's block in the back of Rodgers on the return was what negated the score anyway.

However, forcing Seattle to play without Lane for 54 minutes of the game was a blow that was difficult to overcome.

5. Blaming officials is usually lazy, but several calls shifted arc of the game.

Throwing blame and scorn toward officials is usually a weak attempt to place fault on an entity other than the losing team for their losing. However, some games aren't officiated as well as others and Sunday's game in Green Bay would certainly seem to be one of them.

Lane's ejection was clearly the most significant call of the day. It forced the Seahawks to play without a key piece for the majority of the game. It also appears - at least based on the replays shown - that no punch was thrown, which makes the ejection in error altogether.

However, it wasn't the only questionable decision.

Tight end Jimmy Graham was mauled in the end zone by two defenders with the pass in the air and no pass interference was called. Later, Paul Richardson was slowed by a cornerback while chasing a pass that seemed it could at least have resulted in an illegal contact penalty. The block in the back call against Avril was marginal as well. So was a defensive holding call against Shaquill Griffin.

While the biggest plays seemed to go against Seattle, the officials made mistakes in Green Bay's favor as well. They missed a false start on Nick Vannett early in the game. Justin Coleman could have been called for pass interference on an underthrown pass to Davante Adams that was nearly intercepted by Earl Thomas.

It was a poorly officiated game. Most of the bad calls seemed to go in the Packers' favor. That doesn't mean the game was "rigged" or anything nefarious but the Seahawks certainly were hurt by some of those calls.


Photo Credit: GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 10:  Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks attempts to escape pressure from Kentrell Brice #29 of the Green Bay Packers during the first half at Lambeau Field on September 10, 2017 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

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