GREEN BAY – The Packers are 2-0, victors over their historical rival and their newest rival, and they are playing defense nearly as well as they play offense.
“I think we can be special. A lot of things have to come to fruition,” Aaron Rodgers said following the Packers’ 27-17 win over the visiting Seahawks on Sunday night.
With Rodgers at quarterback, the Packers offense has been special for the past several years. Defense has been inconsistent, but not on Sunday night.
“We did a good job taking care of priority No. 1, which was Marshawn Lynch,” Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy said, referring to his defense holding the Seahawks running back to 41 yards rushing and a 2.7 average. Last January, Lynch rushed for 157 yards in the Seahawks’ NFC title game win over the Packers.
Nearly everything about the Packers win in this most recent bout between the two teams was satisfying. This time, it was the Packers, not the Seahawks, that rallied for the win. This time, it was at Lambeau Field, following three consecutive losses in Seattle.
“I’d like to thank the fans for an incredible atmosphere. Lambeau was electric tonight,” McCarthy said.
The only thing in the Packers’ win that wasn’t perfect was a rash of ankle injuries. Eddie Lacy was lost early in the game and didn’t return. Davante Adams left the game but returned in the third quarter. Josh Boyd was carted from midfield with what would seem to be the most serious of the three injuries.
“Offensively, I thought our guys did a heckuva job. The ability to score on that defense and consistently move the ball was big. We’re 2-0. It was a great night here at Lambeau Field. We’re looking to get some guys healed up and get ready for the Kansas City Chiefs,” McCarthy said.
Rodgers completed 25 of 33 passes for 249 yards, two touchdowns and a 116.9 passer rating. For the second consecutive week, Rodgers and the offense played its best football at crunch time.
“You have to play your best football down the stretch. We’re down 17-13 and we put together three solid drives. Tom (Clements) did a great job of feeding me some really good plays,” Rodgers said.
A 10-play, 80-yard touchdown drive and two-point conversion erased a 17-16 deficit and put the Packers up by seven points. Defensive end Jayrone Elliott’s interception and a clock-bleeding, game-clinching field goal drive left the Seahawks hoping for another miracle. Not this time.
“We pulled it out at the right time. That’s how we like to play,” McCarthy said.
The third quarter belonged to the Seahawks, mostly to Russell Wilson. The Seattle quarterback went on a read-option tear that helped him accumulate 78 yards rushing. Wilson engineered two touchdown drives and completed two touchdown passes that turned a 13-3 Packers halftime lead into a 17-13 Seahawks lead.
“The defensive guys were into it,” McCarthy said of a unit that didn’t collapse down the stretch.
“You’re building your team. Guys have injuries. You overcome adversity and you build on it,” McCarthy said.
The fast start McCarthy had targeted has been achieved. The Packers are playing their best September football in four years.
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