When the Seattle Seahawks traveled to Green Bay to take on the Packers for opening weekend, many fans expected a dominate effort by a defense. However, it wasn’t the defense that most thought would perform at an elite level. Sure, Seattle’s defense looked like the same “Legion of Boom” defense fans are accustomed in seeing, at least in the first half, but it was the Packers defense that stole the show. Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers has been a lightning rod for criticism from Packers fans, making the hashtag #FireCapers a popular sight on Twitter. However, #FireCapers went silent on Sunday as the Green Bay Packers defense led them to victory.
Calls to Fire Dom Capers Went Silent on Sunday as the Green Bay Packers Defense Led Team to Victory
The Packers defense being the weak link of the team in recent history has not exactly been a secret. But on Sunday, the Packers defense did almost everything right, something Green Bay fans haven’t seen in a very long time. Except for one letdown, their only real breakdown of the game, at the end of the first half, which led to a Seahawks field goal, the Packers defense put on a clinic at Lambeau Field on Sunday afternoon.
Defense Kept Russell Wilson in Check
The Packers pass defense stymied Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson throughout the game. Wilson finished the game going just 14 of 27 without a touchdown pass. Wilson is one of the best running quarterbacks in the NFL, but against the Packers, he only scrambled twice, albeit for 40 yards, but not much damage was done.
Run Defense Was Stout
The rest of the Seahawks run offense also didn’t have much have success. Wilson was the top ground gainer and behind him was rookie running back Chris Carson, who just had 39 yards on six attempts. Fellow running back and former Packer Eddie Lacy, who was making his Seahawk debut against his former team, only rushed for three yards on five carries.
Defensive Backfield Is Much Improved
Although the Packers wanted to make sure they contained the Seahawks run game, all eyes were on the Packers pass defense. The last time Packers fans had watched the Packers secondary in a meaningful game, they witnessed Green Bay’s pass defense get ripped apart by the Atlanta Falcons in last season’s NFC Championship game. But on Sunday, the Packers secondary looked nothing like the unit that was humiliated by the Falcons. The Packers suffocated the Seahawks receivers, which made it extremely difficult for Wilson to find an open receiver.
Starting boundary cornerbacks Davon House and Quinten Rollins both did superb jobs against the Seahawks top two wide receivers, Doug Baldwin and Paul Richardson. Although Baldwin and Richardson combined for eight receptions and 122 yards, neither reached the end zone. Last season, cornerback Damarious Randall struggled with his play and an injury, but with now playing primarily inside against the slot receiver, Randall had better success. He had some hiccups, but for the most part, Randall held his own.
The cornerbacks weren’t the only members of the secondary who had a strong game. Safeties Kentrell Brice, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, and Morgan Burnett all had good games for the Packers. They held ultra-athletic tight end Jimmy Graham to just three catches for eight yards. Burnett was a thorn in Graham’s side throughout the day.
The Pass Rush Came to Play
With Capers finally having success in his favorite coverage, bump and run, he was allowed to bring pressure against Wilson and the Seahawks. Leading the Packers pass rush was defensive tackle Mike Daniels who looked unblockable against the Seahawks. Daniels registered 1.5 sacks and made arguably the play of the game when he forced a Russell Wilson fumble early in the second half, which led to a Ty Montgomery touchdown run. Montgomery’s touchdown gave the Packers the lead, a lead they didn’t relinquish.
Outside linebacker Nick Perry also had a stellar game, contributing 1.5 sacks as well and was stout against the run throughout the game. It is just one game, but if the Packers get this type of pass rush from their defensive front throughout the season, it will be tough for opposing offenses to get going.
Capers and the defensive staff did a great job on Sunday and should be commended for causing so many problems for the Seahawks offense. Again, it was just one game, but it was a great way to start the season for the Packers defense, especially for how poorly they played in their final game of the 2016-2017 season.