Packers keep Seahawks winless

Reuters News
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Posted: Sep 21, 2015 2:20 AM

(The Sports Xchange) - The Green Bay Packers earned an incredibly gratifying 27-17 victory over Seattle on Sunday, eight months after blowing a 12-point lead against the Seahawks in the final four minutes of their NFC Championship Game.

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers completed 25 of 33 passes for 249 yards with two touchdowns.

"It feels good," Packers guard T.J. Lang said.

"Obviously, it doesn't count for anything more than a win, but it is probably one of the more satisfying regular-season wins that we've had, just to get that monkey off our back of not being able to beat these guys."

With their offensive tackles struggling with Seattle's edge rushers, Green Bay went to four-receiver sets, spread the field and went to a quick-hitting passing game for the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter.

Rodgers threw a short pass to receiver Randall Cobb, who picked up 15 yards after the catch for a gain of 19. He threw another short pass to receiver Ty Montgomery, who picked up 15 yards after the catch for a gain of 17.

On second-and-goal from the 5, Rodgers stepped up in the pocket and fired a bullet to tight end Richard Rodgers in the end zone for the touchdown.

It was Rodgers-to-Rodgers again for the two-pointer, as the tight end made a tremendous catch despite interference by linebacker Bobby Wagner. That gave Green Bay a 24-17 lead with 9:28 remaining.

The Packers quarterback completed all eight passes on the scoring drive.

"He is a top quarterback in the league," said Seahawks linebacker Bruce Irvin, who had one sack.

"We got our hands on him a couple times, but we just couldn't bring him down. If you give him a chance, he is going to take advantage of it."

On the ensuing possession, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson's screen pass to running back Marshawn Lynch was intercepted in one-handed fashion by outside linebacker Jayrone Elliott.

The Packers scored the clincher on kicker Mason Crosby's 21-yard field goal on the first play after the two-minute warning.

On the first play of the drive, Seattle linebacker K.J. Wright was ejected for taking Richard Rodgers to the ground and pulling on his facemask.

Elliott added a forced fumble to extinguish the Seahawks' faint chances.

"To go in there and get that pick -- the biggest play of the game -- and that strip at the end to seal it was huge," Packers linebacker Clay Matthews said.

"Those are huge plays that we needed on defense. I think coming in here, if you were to ask who was going to make those plays, I don't think anyone would have said Jayrone."

HOT START

Seattle withstood Green Bay's hot start to take a 17-13 lead with back-to-back touchdowns to open the second half. The first was a 5-yard touchdown pass to running back Fred Jackson on third-and-goal, and the second was a 13-yard touchdown strike to receiver Doug Baldwin.

Green Bay answered with a 44-yard field goal, set up by a 35-yard run by James Starks, who played most of the game after Eddie Lacy left in the first quarter with an injured ankle. That cut the margin to 17-16 with 3:12 remaining in the third quarter.

Green Bay rode an opening surge of energy to a quick 10-0 lead en route to a 13-3 lead at halftime.

The Packers drove 80 yards for a touchdown to open the game. The key was a challenge flag thrown by coach Mike McCarthy on the third play of the series. Aaron Rodgers overthrew Richard Rodgers on third-and-1, but McCarthy correctly argued that Seattle had 12 men on the field. Aaron Rodgers soon hit wide receiver James Jones for a 29-yard touchdown.

Seattle went three-and-out on its opening possession as Green Bay dropped Lynch for losses of 2 and 3 yards. The Seahawks' defense, however, stiffened -- a trend that held true for most of the remainder of the first half. Green Bay took possession at Seattle's 44 but couldn't get a first down and settled for a 54-yard field goal by kicker Mason Crosby.

The Seahawks responded with a 54-yard field goal from kicker Stephen Hauschka that went through off the left upright.

Green Bay is 2-0 -- one of just five unbeaten teams in the NFC -- while the two-time defending NFC champions fell to 0-2 -- one of six winless teams in the conference.

"We have been in tough situations before," Baldwin said. "We have dealt with adversity before. What has made us good in the past is being able to come out of that adversity better than we were before. We are going to approach it the same way that we have in the past."

(Editing by Peter Rutherford)