ReFo: Packers @ Seahawks, Week 1
The 2014 NFL season opened just as the 2013 season closed, with a commanding victory for the Seattle Seahawks. This one won’t send the shockwaves through the league that their dismantling of Peyton Manning and the Broncos did, but it was still an ominous opening salvo from the defending champions.
The Seahawks saw encouraging signs from their offensive line while the defense capitalized on weak points in the Packers’ offensive line to come up with the pivotal stops to ease away in the second half.
For Green Bay the big concern was on the defensive side of the ball. Exposed once again by a powerful NFC West opponent, they fell off too many tackles and were found wanting in both run and pass defense. They will need to find answers in the coming months if they are to stand up to the likes of the Seahawks in January.
Green Bay Packers – Performances of Note
Josh Sitton, LG: +4.1
Breakdown: Just another workman-like performance from Sitton, carrying on where he left off a year ago as the league’s best pass protecting guard. Sitton perfectly fits the mold of an offensive lineman who you don’t notice because he does his job so well. He may not dominate opponents but he gives nothing away either.
Signature Stat: Last night’s clean sheet in pass protection marked the 11th time in his last 18 starts that Sitton surrendered no pressure.
Brad Jones, ILB: -5.3
Breakdown: The slew of coverage penalties were nowhere to be seen last night. Only two illegal contact or defensive holding flags were thrown, both on Jones. He paired those coverage penalties with an ineffective night in run defense both in terms of defeating blocks and tackling ball carriers.
Signature Stat: His three missed tackles last night were a career high and only the fifth time he has recorded multiple missed tackles in a single game.
Derek Sherrod, RT: -6.4
Breakdown: An injury to Bryan Bulaga forced former first rounder Sherrod into regular season for only the seventh time in his career and it did not go well for him. Exposed in pass protection by both Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett the pressure he surrendered came with alarming speed at crucial moments in the game.
Signature Stat: The two pivotal sacks he gave up to Avril and Bennett came on consecutive offensive plays for Green Bay.
Seattle Seahawks – Performances of Note
Marshawn Lynch, RB: +2.2
Breakdown: After breaking more than 100 tackles last season it was no surprise to see Lynch powering through Green Bay defenders last night. His offensive line gave him an excellent platform and Lynch put it to good use, particularly on his 12 carries between the tackles that gained 78 yards (6.5 per attempt).
Signature Stat: The platform he was given saw him earn 3.0 yards per carry before contact, he only topped that mark once in 2013.
Cliff Avril, DE: +3.2
Breakdown: Avril finished last season on a tear with a +2.5 pass rush grade or above (and three pressures or more) in each of the Seahawks’ playoff victories. Chipping in with five pressures last night he also added some solid work in the run game, squeezing running lanes on the edge and adding a stop early in the third quarter.
Signature Play: As the Packers sought to swing the momentum midway through the third quarter (7.06) by going for it on fourth down, Avril simply tore past Derek Sherrod to sack Rodgers and ensure the big play belonged to the Seahawks.
Byron Maxwell, CB: -1.3
Breakdown: One of only two Seattle defensive backs not to miss a tackle last night Maxwell had a rough game in coverage against Jordy Nelson. Targeted 11 times Maxwell surrendered nine catches which included five first downs and even his interception would’ve been a first down with better execution from Rodgers and Nelson.
Signature Stat: His -1.5 coverage grade last night is only his second negative coverage grade since he entered the starting lineup against New Orleans last season.
PFF Game Ball
Carrying right on where he left off last season, Marshawn Lynch was too hot to handle for the Green Bay defense. If his offensive line can sustain the improvement they showed last night Lynch will be breaking more tackles downfield, rather than in the backfield, and gaining more yards as a result.
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