NFL GAME RECAP

Defense helps Packers beat Seahawks

Sports Xchange

September 10, 2017 at 7:10 pm.

Sep 10, 2017; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers players Quinten Rollins and Morgan Burnett defend a pass in the end zone that was intended for Seattle Seahawks player Jimmy Graham in a NFL game at Lambeau Field. Photo Credit: William Glasheen/The Post-Crescent via USA TODAY Sports

Sep 10, 2017; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers players Quinten Rollins and Morgan Burnett defend a pass in the end zone that was intended for Seattle Seahawks player Jimmy Graham in a NFL game at Lambeau Field. Photo Credit: William Glasheen/The Post-Crescent via USA TODAY Sports

GREEN BAY, Wis. — The Green Bay Packers’ defense, which stood in the way of a trip to last year’s Super Bowl, is why the Packers beat the Seattle Seahawks in Sunday’s season opener.

The Packers kept Seattle out of the end zone and limited quarterback Russell Wilson to 158 passing yards on 14-of-27 accuracy to earn a 17-9 victory on Sunday.

That staunch defensive effort was just enough for the Packers, who got 311 passing yards and one touchdown from quarterback Aaron Rodgers and 54 rushing yards and one touchdown from running back Ty Montgomery.

A 26-yard bootleg completion to tight end Martellus Bennett just before the two-minute warning clinched the victory.

The Packers limited Seattle to 12 first downs, 3-of-12 third-down conversions and 225 total yards, and Green Bay had an 18:26 edge in time of possession.

Green Bay has defeated Seattle each of the past three seasons — all at Lambeau Field.

Next week, Seattle hosts San Francisco (0-1) while Green Bay has an NFC Championship Game rematch at Atlanta (1-0).

Green Bay’s offense, bogged down by horrendous field position in trailing 3-0 at halftime, took possession at Seattle’s 6 for its opening touchdown following a turnover. On third-and-long for Seattle, Packers defensive tackle Mike Daniels beat guard Luke Joeckel for a strip-sack, with outside linebacker Kyler Fackrell recovering. On the first play, Montgomery ran through a pair of tacklers near the goal line for the touchdown.

Seattle answered with a chip-shot field goal, with rookie running back Chris Carson’s 30-yard run being the big play. The Seahawks had three plays from the 3, but couldn’t get it in, with Daniels’ hit on Wilson forcing a third-down incompletion. Blair Walsh’s 21-yard field goal cut the margin to 7-6.

The Packers extended the lead to 14-6 just before the end of the third quarter. Rodgers caught the Seahawks substituting before a third-and-2, and he rushed to the line and got the snap. With a flag thrown for 12 men on the field, Rodgers took advantage of the free play by hitting receiver Jordy Nelson for a 32-yard touchdown pass past safety Earl Thomas and linebacker Bobby Wagner.

Green Bay tacked on Mason Crosby’s 40-yard field goal before Wilson quickly drove the Seahawks into scoring position. On first down from the 23, he connected deep with receiver Amara Darboh against rookie cornerback Kevin King, but safeties Morgan Burnett and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix quickly converged and got Darboh out of bounds before he could get his feet down.

The drive stalled, and Walsh’s third field goal of the game, a 41-yarder, made it 17-9 with 6:17 to play.

Seattle’s offense, which did almost nothing for the first 29 minutes of the half, struck for back-to-back big plays to take a 3-0 halftime lead.

Time-management decisions by both coaches were huge factors.

With the Seahawks starting at their 11 with 55 seconds left in the second quarter, Green Bay head coach Mike McCarthy burned his last two timeouts, thinking he had a chance to get one last possession.

McCarthy’s final timeout came with 43 seconds left. Even if the Seahawks hadn’t converted a third-and-3, the clock would have run out. When running back C.J. Prosise gained 4 yards to move the chains, Seattle head coach Pete Carroll called a timeout with 30 seconds left — and it worked.

Wilson found receiver Doug Baldwin streaking across the field for a gain of 34 to the Packers’ 44 with 22 seconds left. Wilson then found a huge void in the middle of the field and ran for 29 yards. Wilson threw two incompletions into the end zone, and Walsh kicked a 33-yard field goal as time expired.

Those two big plays accounted for 63.6 percent of Seattle’s 99 yards.

On Green Bay’s opening possession, Rodgers’ interception-free streak was snapped at 251 attempts. With the Packers driving into Seattle territory, Rodgers threw a screen that went right into the hands of defensive lineman Nazair Jones. Jones returned it for a touchdown, but there were two flags — one for an illegal block in the back against defensive end Cliff Avril on Rodgers and one for cornerback Jeremy Lane getting into a scuffle with Packers receiver Davante Adams.

Lane, the starter opposite All-Pro Richard Sherman, was ejected, but the Packers couldn’t take advantage.

NOTES: Packers WR Jordy Nelson became the fourth player in franchise history with 500 receptions. … Packers QB Aaron Rodgers’ interception-free streak was the second-longest in team history behind Bart Starr’s 294 passes in 1964. … Seattle starting RB Thomas Rawls was inactive, so former Packer RB Eddie Lacy got the start. He carried five times for 3 yards. … Seahawks DE Michael Bennett kneeled for the national anthem and his brother, Packers TE Martellus Bennett, raised his fist. Meanwhile, Packers WR Randall Cobb helped hold the giant flag.