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The start of the 2017 Seattle Seahawks campaign was a rough one, falling to the Green Bay Packers 17-9.
The Seahawks defense was stellar, as always. The offense showed signs of the struggles it faced last year. And the refs -- oh, the refs. Seahawks fans, and coach Pete Carroll, had plenty to complain about.
Here's a roundup of what members of the media are saying about the game.
The most talked about play was the pick-6 by Nazair Jones that was called for an illegal block in the back by Cliff Avril on Aaron Rodgers (he barely touched Rodgers). That coincided with another penalty because cornerback Jeremy Lane threw a punch at receiver Davante Adams (replay showed he didn't). Lane was ejected.
FOX Sports officiating analyst Mike Pereira was pretty clear how he felt about both calls.
In #SEAvsGB they missed the initial foul on Adams. And that was a block in the back on Rodgers? I don't think the play was well-officiated.— Mike Pereira (@MikePereira) September 10, 2017
Pereira also called out the refs for a pass from Russell Wilson to Jimmy Graham that fell incomplete as Graham was manhandled by two Packers. The refs ruled the ball uncatchable. Not everyone agreed and thought it should have been pass interference.
Former KING 5 sports anchor Lisa Kerney was also not having any of it.
Those two calls/non-calls potentially took 14 points off the board for the Seahawks.
Think the Lane thing was just the refs targeting the Seahawks? Kevin Seifert from ESPN says it happend to two other teams this year. Two players were kicked out of the Chicago Bears-Tennessee Titans preseason game for throwing punches that never happened.
"The message to players seems clear: If you so much as engage in a scuffle with an opponent, you are running a reasonable risk of an early trip to the showers," wrote Seifert.
"The rules give the referee power to eject in circumstances that are deemed "flagrant." For these purposes, flagrant is defined as a violation of rules that is "extremely objectionable, conspicuous, unnecessary, avoidable or gratuitous."
As Seattle Times' Jayson Jenks points out, there was a lot more to blame than the officials for this one. Yes, we're talking about the offensive line again.
"The problems were pretty much across the board. It can be difficult to assign specific blame on a play along the line, but let’s just say that at different times all five of Seattle’s starting offensive line had a hand in the chaos," wrote Jenks.
The Seattle Times' Bob Condotta points out the line play contributed to Seattle's worst offensive production in three seasons -- 225 total yards.
"Quarterback Russell Wilson was under constant pressure, and the Seahawks could not consistently get their running game going," wrote Condotta. "hris Carson, one of the few offensive bright spots, used some nifty running to get 30 yards on a carry in the third quarter and Wilson had two scrambles for 40 yards. Otherwise, Seattle was held to 20 yards on 15 other rushing attempts with Eddie Lacy getting just 3 yards on five carries."
I might have my agent call Seattle. I'm not in shape but I'll block someone for a few plays before I need oxygen. Lol— Geoff Schwartz (@geoffschwartz) September 10, 2017
And Rodgers, who is the master of catching defenses with 12 men on the field, victimized Seattle for a 32-yard touchdown pass to Jordy Nelson in the third quarter.
Got 'Em!September 10, 2017
Until that point, the over-taxed Seahawks defense was containing Rodgers.
"The Seahawks just blew it, squandering their promising start. They shut Rodgers out in the first half, when the two-time NFL MVP was sacked four times and had a pedestrian passer rating of 65.2. By the end, though, that proud, deep, talented defense appeared to be worn out by all of the energy expended with the challenge," wrote USA TODAY's Jarrett Bell.
The one bright spot of the offense was when they went no-huddle.
"Whether the team decides to pursue wholesale changes toward a spread-out, up-tempo scheme remains to be seen, but Seattle needs its offense to give the defense some help. Would Pete Carroll give up his desired run-first, grind-it-out approach?
"Whether the team decides to pursue wholesale changes toward a spread-out, up-tempo scheme remains to be seen, but Seattle needs its offense to give the defense some help," wrote Field Gulls' Danny Kelly.
And Gregg Bell of The News Tribune has this stunning stat.
"The Seahawks gained 115 yards and scored six points on six plays (19.2 yards per play) running hurry-up offense at the end of the first half and middle of the fourth quarter. Wilson wasn’t sacked or even hit on any of the no-huddle plays," wrote Bell. "They gained fewer than that -- just 110 yards -- on their other 42 plays (2.6 yards per play) in conventional, huddling offense. Wilson was sacked three times and hit seven times in that."
Let's talk about that defense, though. That same Seahawks defense -- which was on the field for nearly two-thirds of the game -- was mostly reliable as ever now that they have all the pieces back. Namely, safety Earl Thomas, who mulled retirement after a season-ending leg injury late last year.
"On the Packers' first possession, Thomas sniffed out a quick throw to Randall Cobb, shot into the flat and made an open-field tackle for no gain. He made a similar play in the second quarter against Jordy Nelson for another one of his 11 tackles, which led all players Sunday. He showed his range on another play in the second quarter when he dived to break up a deep ball down the sideline. Thomas lamented how he couldn't come down with the interception on that play, saying the ball was knocked out of his hands by the foot of cornerback Justin Coleman," writes ESPN's Brady Henderson.
Pro Football focus gave Thomas their top grade for a Seahawk in this game.
"Thomas was all over the field, making plays close to the line of scrimmage when lined up in the box and doing his usual fine work when patrolling center field on the back end. He picked up a team-high five stops, closing quickly on underneath passes while getting dirty in the run game," they wrote.
But that defense can only do so much when they are on the field for nearly 40 minutes of a 60-minute game. As the folks at The News Tribune pointed out, it's the fifth time in Seattle's last 16 regular season games that it's given up 17 points or fewer and still lost.
“Man, it’s been like this for eight years, man,” Thomas said, via the Tribune.
Vince Verhei of Football Outsiders puts things in perspective. Despite all that went wrong, this was a really close game against a really good team with a really great quarterback -- in their house.
"The bottom line is that Seattle lost by one score to Aaron Rodgers and the Packers in Green Bay. And there is nothing wrong with losing by one score to Aaron Rodgers and the Packers in Green Bay. It usually takes a very good performance to lose by one score to Aaron Rodgers and the Packers in Green Bay," writes Verhei.
Off the field, eyes were on the Bennett brothers -- Seattle's Michael and Green Bay's Martellus. The former had already been in the news this season for sitting during the National Anthem, but then he announced last week that he believed Las Vegas police racially profiled him during an investigation of a reported shooting at a casino.
Michael sat again, with teammate Justin Britt standing at his side, placing his hand in Michael's shoulder.
Martellus stood on the other sideline with a fist in the air.