Well, could you have really asked for a lot more out of that one? Seattle dominated this one in just about every fashion against a team some have been touting as the Seahawks’ toughest competition to get out of the NFC.
What else did we learned about the Seahawks tonight? Here are three things from beat writers Jayson Jenks and Bob Condotta.
1, Percy Harvin will be a big part of Seattle’s offense. No, duh, right? But for so long Harvin’s impact had mostly been talk simply because he hadn’t played enough to fully see how Seattle would use him. But Harvin played a heavy hand in the Seahawks’ 36-16 win against Green Bay. He carried the ball four times for 41 yards. He caught seven passes for 59 yards. He returned a kickoff for 31 yards, spinning away from a couple of tacklers in the process. If there was any doubt at all — and realistically there probably wasn’t — about the scope of Harvin’s impact, he answered it on Thursday.
2, Guard James Carpenter is better than last season. Carpenter really struggled last year, first with his conditioning and then on the field during games. He was one of Seattle’s most criticized players. He said this is the first time in a long time that he’s felt really healthy, and he has looked like a different player. One play that really stood out: In the fourth quarter, the Seahawks ran a screen to Marshawn Lynch. Carpenter backpedaled a few steps to block, like he would on a normal pass play, and then took off running up the field to block for Lynch. He dove at the feet of a Green Bay defender and disrupted him just enough to allow Lynch to break free for a 14-yard gain. As J.R. Sweezy said after the game, “It’s hard to be that big, that fast and that powerful.”
3, The debate about Earl Thomas, the punt returner, isn’t going to end. Thomas muffed a punt that led to a Green Bay touchdown after Richard Sherman blocked a Green Bay defender into Thomas as he tried to field the punt. Some people thought Thomas should have signaled for a fair catch. Others didn’t think Sherman blocked the Packer player into Thomas in the first place. Either way, the debate about the risk/reward of using Thomas as a punt returner is likely to carry on.
And from Condotta:
1, This game should put to rest any talk about whether this team is complacent or resting on its laurels, or however you want to phrase it. Throughout camp the Seahawks have gotten almost daily questions about rebounding from the Super Bowl and the challenge of hitting the same level of intensity and preparedness. They have insisted that it won’t be an issue. And what happened tonight should, for now, mean everyone will take them at their word. Seattle may stumble at points this year — it’s a long season and lots can happen. But the Seahawks were obviously as ready emotionally and physically as they could be for this game, appearing to prove the worth of their words.
2, Byron Maxwell better be ready to do a lot of work this season. While Richard Sherman never got targeted, Maxwell got targeted early and often. He was the least surprised of all. As he said later “Richard Sherman has eight interceptions the last two seasons and I haven’t really done anything yet.” Green Bay tried to take advantage, often putting Jordy Nelson out to the left side of its defense (the right of Seattle’s) the side on which Maxwell plays corner while usually sending Jarrett Boykins to Sherman’s side. But while Maxwell gave up a few passes, there was nothing that hurt much, and he made a big play 0n the tipped interception that led to a field goal that put Seattle ahead 20-10. Consider it a first test passed for Maxwell.
3, Marshawn Lynch isn’t done yet. There was obviously a lot of talk in the off-season about Lynch and his future with the Seahawks. Who knows what the future holds? What we do know, though, is that the present is still pretty darn good. This was vintage Marshawn Lynch tonight, bulling over would-be tacklers when needed, perfectly reading the blocks to find the open spaces at other times and simply being the rock of the Seattle offense throughout. Carroll has said on numerous occasions of late that Lynch is in the best shape of his career. There was nothing to refute that tonight.