GREEN BAY, Wis. — The memories of what might have been never will be erased, but the Green Bay Packers earned an incredibly satisfying victory over the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday night.
Just more than eight months after the Packers blew a 12-point lead in the final 4 minutes of the NFC Championship Game, quarterback Aaron Rodgers completed 25 of 33 passes for 249 yards with two touchdowns as the Packers beat Seattle 27-17.
Green Bay is 2-0 — one of just five teams in the NFC — while the two-time defending NFC champions fell to 0-2.
With its 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.
Aaron Rodgers completed all eight passes on the scoring drive.
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 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.
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 hit the left upright.
NOTES: The Packers coaxed three plays on their opening-drive touchdown, including the scoring play when DE Michaell Bennett jumped offside and QB Aaron Rodgers hit WR James Jones. … Packers RB Eddie Lacy departed following a third-and-1 conversion on that drive. The training staff worked on his ankle during Green Bay’s next possession before taking him to the locker room on a cart. He was ruled out for the rest of the game. The Packers also lost WR Davante Adams to an ankle injury. … Seahawks LB K.J. Wright stripped Packers RB James Starks for the first half’s only turnover. … Seattle’s Richard Sherman stayed at his customary spot at left cornerback. He played some in the slot last week, and there was talked he would follow Packers WR Randall Cobb inside.