GREEN BAY, Wis. —The Seahawks' first offensive series of Sunday's eventual 17-9 season-opening loss to the Packers at Lambeau Field saw Russell Wilson pressured on first down, and then sacked on third down, by Green Bay linebacker Nick Perry. The two plays signaled the start of what would prove to be a tough day for Seattle's offense, which opened the year with a 225-yard performance, a 3-of-12 showing on third down, and a turnover inside its own 10-yard-line that led to seven Packers points.
"I was disappointed that they were able to be as aggressive up front as they were with their defense," Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said of the Packers' front seven, which brought down Wilson three times and held Seattle to 90 yards on the ground. "I've got to see the film to see what happened, but I was surprised they were able to do that where it made it hard for us to get the running game going like we wanted to. It reminds you how you have to do right, you have to make the plays and not give away things — as we gave them the football away on the 5-yard-line in a really tight game against a really good team, that's how it goes and that's how they got their chance to win.
"I thought they played a real good, solid football game and took advantage of their opportunities and did a good job of that. We know they're a really good club and we know we can play a lot better."
Wilson finished the day 14-of-27 for 158 yards, good for a 69.7 quarterback rating. He added 40 yards on the ground, including a 29-yard scramble that helped set up a Blair Walsh field goal just before halftime. But before those three points off the foot of Walsh, Seattle's first five possessions ended in Jon Ryan punts. And as their 3-of-12 stat line on third down indicates, the Seahawks had trouble maintaining drives offensively, which led to lopsided numbers in the time of possession department, where Green Bay held a 39:13 to 20:47 advantage.
"Not good enough," Carroll said of the Seahawks' third-down numbers. "That's not good enough, that's not us. We're so much better than that. The third downs are really what haunt you when you look at these games because you don't get to start the next sequence and keep rolling and it's always been an issue when it goes that way. Give them credit for doing a good job. We have to do way better. And we're better than that, we will be."
When the Seahawks found success, they were often operating in an up-tempo offense. Two up-tempo plays at the end of the first half got the team within range of a Walsh field goal as time expired in the second quarter, and during a no-huddle drive in the fourth quarter Wilson was able to find receiver Paul Richardson for 28 yards and 13 yards on back-to-back plays to help set up a 41-yard field goal from Walsh that cut Green Bay's lead to 17-9 with just over six minutes to play.
"I think we've always moved really well when we're going up-tempo," Wilson said. "That's been something that we've been trying to focus on all offseason and I think that's something that's advantageous to us. I think it tires down the defense, it makes it tough for their calls, all that. The past five years we've been able to execute in those two-minute drives very very well — at half, end of game. So guys made some crucial plays there in those two-minute situations."
When the Seahawks weren't in up-tempo mode, the offensive line of Rees Odhiambo at left tackle, Luke Joeckel at left guard, Justin Britt at center, Mark Glowinski at right guard, and Germain Ifedi at right tackle had a hard time consistently giving Wilson the time he needed to find open receivers down field. While rookie Chris Carson provided a bright spot, carrying six times for 39 yards, the ground game had trouble getting going, too. With Thomas Rawls (ankle) sidelined, Carson, Eddie Lacy and C.J. Prosise combined for 53 yards on 15 carries (3.5-yard average).
"They did everything we expected, everything we practiced," Britt said of Green Bay's defense. "Going forward, this game's in the past. You obviously want to win them all, but this can be a great teaching moment for everybody, including myself, to have a better week of preparation, better fundamentals throughout the week that carry over to the game, and we can only move forward."
"We have a really good line up front," Britt later added. "Next week we'll come out better. We'll come out more prepared. It all starts with the week and the preparation we have. Going forward I think we'll show you what we can do, but today was not our best."
Carroll commented on how Wilson responded to the increased pressure from the Packers' defensive front.
"He got really active and he started moving all over the place and taking advantage of his legs and made some terrific throws and gave us a chance to get back in the game," Carroll said. "I thought he came out of it fine. It was hard, but I thought he battled throughout. There's some throws, there's always some throws he could have made, but I thought he was able to find his way, find the receivers, find the space he needed and did a good job of getting that done as the game wore on.
"We felt like we were going to go right down the field again," Carroll added. "We were not concerned. We just needed the ball again."
Ultimately, though, time ran out on the Seahawks. The team now looks ahead to its regular-season home opener against the San Francisco 49ers next Sunday at Seattle's CenturyLink Field.
"We'll have to figure out what we need to do to get a little bit better, it's really that simple," Wilson said. "It wasn't like we were far, far off or anything like that. One, two, three plays here and there, we could have had a chance … We want to stay the course. We're 0-1. That's one game. We have to go prepare for next week. We play at home and it'll be exciting to go back home."
The Seahawks fall 9-17 in their first game of the 2017 season against the Green Bay Packers.