ReFo: Packers @ Seahawks, Week 1

Big positives and negatives on display as standout players from the opener are highlighted.

| 3 years ago

ReFo: Packers @ Seahawks, Week 1

REFO-WK1-GB@SEAThe 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.


Follow Ben on Twitter: @PFF_Ben 

| Director of Analysis

Ben joined Pro Football Focus in 2007, and has since been in charge of the company’s analysis process. He also contributes to PFF’s weekly NFL podcast.

  • [email protected]

    For me, the most encouraging thing was the play of the two offensive guards. This offense is impossible to stop when the offensive line plays well.

    • Ryan

      The Packers Dline may be the worst in the NFL.

      • brett987654321

        The interior is banged up but Mike Daniels, Clay Mathews and Julius Peppers are pretty good football players.

        • Ryan

          Peppers was a good football player two years ago. Clay Matthews is an undisciplined pass rusher that struggles against the run.

          • Brian Dugan

            Just so inaccurate, Clay is a very good run defender.

          • Ryan

            Did you miss the game last night? Clay was one of the biggest issues on contain, he ran right by the play more often than not. Did you see him on the play action roll out, he was trying to tackle Lynch while Wilson was already on the other side of the field. Clay had no clue.

          • Brian Dugan

            Do you know what Clay’s responsibility was on that given defensive call? I bet not. I’ve watched pretty much every Packers game since he’s been drafted and I think it’s well known that Clay is underrated as a run defender. I feel like Clay played very well last night and even if he hadn’t, he was the least of the Packers defensive concerns last night. See Jones, Brad and Guion, Letroy.

          • dsadsad

            Rodgers suck, he got exposed.

  • Jay

    Ben I’m curious. Russell Wilson didn’t make many big passes to guys who weren’t wide open. How to you grade the 33 yard pass to Harvin in the First or the 33 yard touchdown that followed? I ask because both were wide open.

    • Izach

      Those plays were great examples of RWs other traits that some QBs don’t have

  • osoviejo

    Not concerned about Maxwell. He’s only started a handful of games, and the Rodgers/Nelson duo is a tough matchup for anyone. Maxwell will continue to improve.

    • Izach

      Maxwell performance was top notch, he let Nelson have the inside on a lot of those to protect the boundary, they knew Rodgers wasn’t testing Sherman and knew Nelson couldn’t win the game by himself running those simple short routes it was a simple case of playing to your own strengths while not giving into theirs. The by product of that is a subpar performance at WR with 14 targets 9 catches little less than 85 yards and a drop that

      • Izach

        Led to an int

        • DLane

          exactly! how many of those catches came in garbage time. everyone rips on Sherman for not moving from one side of the field. it criples an offense as it limits the whole entire offense completley as it forces you to one side of the field and short.

          • laphroaig

            If Sherman were to switch sides, what’s to stop QB’s throwing to whatever side he’s not on? These guys aren’t dumb, they can read jersey numbers.

  • DC

    Is the coaches film aka “ALL 22″ available already for this game?
    Do you grade using that or just from watching the game on TV like everyone else?

    • antirepug3
      • JR

        Not up yet for this game

    • nogoodnamesleft90210

      It’s in their FAQ:
      13) Do you use coaches’ film, or TV broadcasts for your analysis? How can you see what players are lined up where? We use TV broadcasts for both the analysis and the player participation data.

      • osoviejo

        I believe the FAQ is out-of-date on that item. It certainly is with the “that gives us the best starting point outside of coaches’ film, which isn’t attainable outside of NFL offices” remark.

        I can’t be certain, but I believe I asked this question via email last season and was told they do use the all-22.

        • eYeDEF

          Yeah, though they really should update their FAQ then. It’s kind of unprofessional not to.

  • JonLee

    Jesus, why was Sherrod ever drafted? Oh right, he’s big and played in the SEC. Good job, Ted.

    • SeahawkSteve

      Dude’s first actual regular season game since snapping his leg in half…

      • Ryan

        He took a few snaps last year, not to mention, he broke his leg 2+ years ago, he’s had time to practice and heal.

        • Brian Dugan

          His snaps last year were mainly on special teams. If you’re a Packers fan you have to be more optimistic; he’s our only option unless they move Lang to RT and Lane Taylor in at G. This weakens two positions. No one signed off the street will be ready to contribute for a few weeks.

    • NoFan

      James Carpenter looked real good. He’s big and played in the SEC.

  • Eddie

    I was amazed at how nifty and in-shape Lynch looked last night. He doesn’t like look a running back who is regressing at all.

  • Izach

    Very surprised no mention of Percy Harvin, was 7/7 targets/ receptions 4 carries 100 total yards. Even had a long end around called back by a Clay Matthews flopping holding call. Was dynamic and explosive in every aspect even kick returns he was good

    • Brian Dugan

      Agree. As a Packers fan, it terrified me every time he touched the ball last night.

  • Ryan

    What’s with Clay Matthews over pursuing on every play? He’s god awful on run plays.

    • Brian Dugan

      Yeah, that’s just not accurate at all. He’s excellent in run defense.

      • Ryan

        Clay is awful, he always runs right by the running back in hopes that he can get a sack. He’s living on his legendary status at this point.

      • Izach

        Clay has gotten better vs the run, his best play tho was the flop that drew a flag and brought back harvins sweep/end around for good yardage.

        • Wyzel

          Excellent is a bit much, but great is not. He sometimes over plays the ball but there are plays that stuffs it short. The last 3 years have been much better. In the super bowl the steelers were running right at him, and he sucked, except one play where he got his helmet on the ball. Since then he is much improved. He still has bad games, but take the games vs Min and PHI(two great running teams) and he has very few bad games last two years. I hate the packers, but matthews is no longer the one trick pony he once was. Also their d-line and scheme do him no favors.

  • flyerhawk

    How in the world do you give Russell Wilson a negative grade for that game?

    • Brian Dugan

      He looked awesome throwing all those screens and check downs.

      • flyerhawk

        Was their offense ineffective? Did he not have 2 TD passes?

        • Brian Dugan

          Their offense was extremely efficient and took advantage of yet another example of Dom Capers’ inability to stop a mobile QB. My point was that the Seahawks do not ask a lot of Wilson. He’s the ideal game manager. I give the credit to Harvin, Lynch, and Dom Capers being stuck in 1995.

          • flyerhawk

            If there is a more poorly used term than game manager I don’t know what it is.

            Game manager used to mean guys that were capable of doing very little and were limited in what they are asked to do. Trent Dilfer with the Ravens being a good example.

            Now it is used as a catch-all soft pejorative.

            People like to call Wilson that but it ignores the reality that the Seahawks play a very specific style of football that does not, in any way, want the QB chucking the football 40+ times.

            Replace Andrew Luck with Russell Wilson and you would immediately see his attempts plummet.

            The Hawks play physical football that is designed to wear down their opponent. They want the offense to keep the ball a lot and they are very conservative when it comes to field position decisions. They punted last night from the Packer 38 because philosophically that is their style. Don’t take risks.

            What is the evidence that Wilson couldn’t do more if asked to? The only time he was down by more than 14 points in a game in Seattle he threw for 385 yards on 36 passes.

          • Brian Dugan

            I definitely concede to you that “game manager” is a generic, overused term only surpassed by “elite.”

            My main point is that many, including yourself, seemingly overrate Wilson because he plays on a very successful team and is not asked to shoulder anywhere near the burden of a Drew Brees or Aaron Rodgers. I’ll replace “game manager” with: he’s good at playing conservative football, with a top notch rushing offense, with the lead. If he is playing on another team, being asked to do what Andrew Luck has to do, I think we would see him in a much different light.

            3 points of contention:
            1) The Hawks play very conservatively on offense because their defense and special teams afford them that luxury.
            2) What IS the evidence that Wilson can make all the down field throws on a regular basis? One game vs. the Patriots where he got lucky with a few bombs on an extremely depleted secondary?
            3) Also, the Seahawks punted from the 38 because they were up 2 scores. Most teams would have done the same, especially with the luxury of that defense.

          • flyerhawk

            I haven’t rated Wilson here. I questioned why Wilson got a negative grade for this game where as Rodgers received a positive grade. Do you think that Wilson had a negative game? Do you think Rodgers played better than Wilson in this game? I like the PFF grading system but sometimes it really makes some head scratchers.

            If you would like some examples of Wilson airing it out from necessity, the Falcons playoff game on the road where they were down by 20, gets them the lead only to let the defense fail to stop them. The Bears game in 2012 as well.

            Wilson does exactly what is asked of him. I have no reason to believe that he wouldn’t do more if asked I just don’t understand why volume is somehow a definition of quality. The Seahawks offense scored on 6 of 8 drives. They scored 36 points. His physical abilities allow them to do things like the triple option. As amazing as Peyton Manning and Tom Brady are, they aren’t ever going to run a triple option.

            I would give this argument more credence if the Seahawks were a low scoring team but they’re not. Despite a very conservative approach they were the 6th highest scoring team in football last year.

          • Brian Dugan

            Regarding your usage of the Seahawks point total last year, this obviously includes points obtained by the defense and specials teams. This could obviously be directly or indirectly, as a result of superior field position, etc.

            To answer your question, I do not think Wilson had a negative game at all, however I do think Rodgers had a much more challenging task last night. It’s hard for me to compare Wilson’s check-downs and read optioning vs. a weak Packers front against Rodgers vs. the best defense in football, in Seattle, with a decimated O-line.

            I think we agree on Russell Wilson. He’s smart, mobile, and just does exactly what’s asked of him. It’s not his fault he’s in the best QB situation in the NFL. I’m really hoping we get to see him without the best defense, one of the best special teams units, one of the best running games in the NFL, as well as the best home field advantage some day soon. I just don’t think he did anything excitement worthy last night that most NFL QB’s couldn’t do.

          • flyerhawk

            I don’t think that Wilson did any extraordinary. I think his execution was very good but certainly other QBs would have done well in that situation.

            Wilson won’t always have the best defense or best special teams. He likely will always have a great home field advantage. But for the time being he is enjoying the benefits of being on a great team. And I believe that much like Tom Brady he will turn into an elite QB as he progresses even if he might wind up winning a couple of Super Bowls before he reaches that level.

          • saSA

            LMAO right’
            Why is Brady and Rodgers looking like idiots? Oh blame it on someone else and not the fact they suck!

          • Justa Guy

            Watch Russell play. It’s obvious you haven’t.

          • Brian Dugan

            Excellent point. You’re right, I don’t watch football; that’s why I’m commenting intelligently on a Pro Football Focus message board.

          • AZdove

            He’s a wonderful quarterback. He actually didn’t play great Thursday Night. Two near picks. But he played well and the Seahawks won by 20 points, so there’s that.

          • Brian Dugan

            Yeah, that doesn’t have anything to do with the Seattle defense, run game, or special teams.

          • AZdove

            How about last year’s game against Carolina? How about last year’s game against New Orleans? How about playoff games against Atlanta in 2012? The comeback last year against Tampa Bay? And yes, New England. Do those FIVE examples help? Goodness.

          • Brian Dugan

            So you came up with five individual times that he looked like a dangerous QB? How impressive.

          • AZdove

            Yes but there are others. And in some games he simply, as you mentioned, hasn’t had to be. He played great in losses to Miami and Detroit his first year, for two more. The 49ers game his first year where they won 42-13. Again, others. Where is the evidence that he can’t. The guy has had three bad games in his career–road losses to the 49ers and Rams as a rookie and the home loss to Arizona last year.

          • Justa Guy

            No, we point out 5 of the many games that you probably haven’t seen him play. Looking at stats he doesn’t look impressive, but everyone I know that actually watches him play is impressed.

          • Brian Dugan

            If by “impressive,” you mean “efficient” then yes.

          • Justa Guy

            Aikman was great at conservative football too. He also had the best defense in the league when he won Super Bowls. Well, looking back, he also had one of the best running backs and wide receivers. I believe this to be true because both are in the Hall of Fame. Check Aikman’s stats and what you think of him vs what Russell is doing now and I believe you might just open your eyes and realize that Russell seems to be the new Aikman. Nobody knocks any of those Hall of Famers for having other Hall of Fame players helping them out, but those same people knock Russell Wilson because of the team around him.

            You say that we cherry pick games that show Russell in a good light. I challenge you to find a QB in his third year with fewer games that show a QB in a bad light.

            Open your eyes, you are witnessing GREATNESS.

          • Brian Dugan

            This is one of the most homer-riffic posts I’ve ever read. Aikman. GREATNESS. Sheesh, Guy.

          • AZdove

            Exactly right. Russell either has great, good, or average games, and never bad. That’s impressive on its own.

      • Izach

        RW looked great, it’s not his fault he is smart with the ball and plays within the system and improves the system better than most it should be impossible to get a negative grade with what RW did last night, unless the grading system is based on comparing him to others. His footwork was good, he decisions were amazing even on the run reaction time was great even under pressure never lost his cool and continued to execute like an all pro

      • Izach

        What do you think Rodgers offense consists off? crosses, slants and hitches aren’t exactly rocket science either. I was actually disappointed in Rodgers performance on a mental level because he locked in too much and continued to force things that’s why he threw the pick and got sacked so much too.

  • DLane

    i know Rodgers did not attepmpt a pass to Shermans side but from what i remember he did not even look that way as if there wasnt even a read in that direction. cutting your football field in half like that wont win you many football games.

  • bobrulz

    I don’t like the new ReFocused format. I preferred it when you guys were more broad in your descriptions instead of focusing on just specific players.

  • Sven

    Sherrie had some catastrophic plays. But later in the game he was able to keep it together enough for the team to drive down and score. I think there is hope for him.

  • NFLfbJunkie

    How could you have rated Wilson’s passing as a -2.2 and Rodgers with a 0.6. Wilson had a much higher NFL rating, threw 2 TD’s, more yards per attempt than Rodgers and completion Wilson with a 67.9 com% vs. Rodgers 69.7. Do Wilson’s 3 TA & 1 HT knock his passing grade down that much?

    • Geoffrey Diddles

      How about you just pay attention to the obvious stats that need no explanation, follow the ball on each play and leave the actual analytics to the people with the big boy pants.

      • brett987654321

        How about you (put on your big boy pants) and make a cogent argument against the comment instead of just trolling it tough guy.

  • paulsuh89

    uh…how did Bobby Wagner not win the game ball.. because he had a PI? I’m still amazed he matched Randall Cobb step for step. He just needed to turn around and he would’ve picked that one off.

  • xtase

    Nothing about Wilson’s efficient night? Nothing about Percy? Nothing about Rodgers sucking? Nothing about Chancellors great night? Nothing about Zach Millers great night? Nothing about how our rookie RT Justin Britt shut down all decade Julius Peppers?

  • Justa Guy

    Efficient. Russell wilson is great at being efficient. Were past “game managers” as efficient as Russell is now? I doubt it. Why knock Russell for having a great team around him? Do you knock Aikman’s career for the same thing? People use “great” for Aikman, yet he benefitted from a team that was just as good as the Seahawks are now.

  • AdventureMan

    I’m pretty new to the grading system. Anyone now how Harvin wound up with a negative grade, -0.4?