Disappointment was etched on Coach Mike McCarthy’s face as he reviewed the details of his team’s 36-16 loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Thursday.
“I don’t feel very good about anything right now,” McCarthy said.
At the root of his disappointment was his team’s inability to run the ball and stop the run. That old-school football combination allowed the Seahawks to slowly assume control of a season opener that celebrated their victory in Super Bowl XLVIII last February.
The Seahawks pounded out 207 yards rushing and held a nearly seven-minute time of possession advantage over a Packers team that was taken out of its personality in the third quarter when Michael Bennett sacked and stripped Aaron Rodgers of the football to score a safety for the Seahawks, and when Cliff Avril sacked Rodgers on a fourth-and-5 play that was, for all intents and purposes, the moment of truth for the Packers.
“I felt that was an important drive in the game,” McCarthy said of his decision to go for it on the fourth-down play near midfield. “I thought the clock should’ve been restarted there. We got up against the clock.”
The ball wasn’t spotted by Referee John Parry’s crew until 15 seconds remained on the play clock.
“It would’ve given us more time to get some things done at the line of scrimmage with the coverage,” Rodgers explained.
Following the stop, the Seahawks moved down the field for a touchdown that gave them a 29-10 lead early in the fourth quarter.
“Playing the kind of football we sought, we did not accomplish that,” McCarthy said, referring to failures in the run game, then adding, “and we did not stop the run.
“They ran the ball. They ran it well. It’s the starting point of their offense. Marshawn Lynch had a huge night (20 carries for 110 yards). It all starts with their run game,” McCarthy said.
Eddie Lacy rushed for 34 yards on 12 carries before leaving the game in the fourth quarter with a concussion. The Packers lost right tackle Bryan Bulaga to a knee injury in the first half. McCarthy said the injury has been preliminarily diagnosed as a sprain. “Right now, we do not fear a major injury,” McCarthy said.
“They broke a lot of tackles. I didn’t like the way we started the game. We got off to a rough start. When we battled back, we couldn’t sustain it,” he added.
Rodgers led a slick touchdown drive that battled the Packers back to within 29-16, and the Packers defense appeared to have forced a three-and-out with about nine minutes to play, but linebacker Brad Jones was penalized on the third-down play, and that gave the Seahawks a first down that would lead to a game-clinching touchdown.
On fourth-and-1 at the Packers 15 with 2:37 to play, Seattle Coach Pete Carroll nixed a field goal attempt. Russell Wilson then pitched a surprise pass to Derrick Coleman that resulted in an easy touchdown.
“My play sheet has way too many shot (big) plays that weren’t called tonight. A lot of those shot plays I just didn’t get called,” McCarthy said.
“Our preparation did not carry over this evening.”