There is no easy way to say it but the Green Bay Packers simply were not tough enough to beat the Seattle Seahawks last night in the 2014 season opener. Sure, they killed themselves with mental mistakes and turnovers, but at the end of the day, Seattle was more physical and that was a big reason why it won the game going away.
One loss doesn’t doom anyone in the NFL and there is no shame in losing to the defending champion in the opening game. This was the 13th time the NFL has started the season with the Super Bowl champion and the home team is 12-1. So I’m not surprised that Green Bay lost, just the way it happened.
Yet, let’s not forget that Qwest Field is a house of horrors. Even the San Francisco 49ers, who I consider the second-best team in the NFL lost 42-13 in 2012 and 29-3 last season. Seattle made them look bad on those nights just as Green Bay did last night but the 49ers rebounded to reach the Super Bowl in 2012 and the NFC title game in 2013. They bounced back and so can the Packers.
Yet, the only way the Packers are going to get back to the big game is if they learn how to beat the 49ers and Seahawks, who they have now lost five straight games against, three to San Fran and two to Seattle. That has to change and Thursday night made the idea of it happening this season seem far-fetched.
Seattle has a ton of talent, the best coach in Pro Football and the best home-field advantage in sports but they win because in this era of soft football, they play tough. They tackle, they hit you, they get in your face. Change the rules to favor the offense, so be it, they won’t change their game and they shouldn’t. Head coach Pete Carroll pushes the envelope and that is why the Seahawks have as good a chance as anyone in recent memory to repeat as Super Bowl champs.
Green Bay, on the other hand, looked soft. They missed B.J. Raji and got pushed around inside. LeTroy Guion is not the answer at nose tackle, (calling Ryan Pickett). The tackling was pathetic. Time and time again the Packers had chances to make plays and simply couldn’t get Marshawn Lynch or Percy Harvin to the ground.
The offense had its struggles too, especially once Bryan Bulaga went down to injury. The strip sack allowed by Derek Sherrod that led to a safety when the score was 20-10, effectively ended the game. It was over at the point. Green Bay needed a touchdown, instead it got a safety and punted back down 22-10, which quickly became 29-10.
Yet, the offense is the least of Green Bay’s worried. It will get on track and rookie center Corey Linsley played well enough that he could lock down a long-term starting position while J.C. Tretter is sidelined. The Points will come, the question is when the games really count in January, can Green Bay raise its level of play. I don’t have the answer to that. All I know right now is that they are not on the same level as the elite in the NFC West and somehow, someway that has to change or the 2014 season will end in disappointment once again.