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The first game of the 2014 NFL season is in the books, and the defending Super Bowl champions looked as good as they did back in February when they hoisted the Lombardi Trophy.
The Seattle Seahawks ran over the visiting Green Bay Packers to the tune of a 36-16 victory, solidifying their post atop the NFC hierarchy. Though Green Bay should contend for an NFC North title and be a factor come the postseason, it left us questioning them.
Here are five takeaways from Seattle’s victory:
1. Beast Mode remains turned on
All of the hype this offseason revolved around Russell Wilson developing into a better passer and Christine Michael as the future of the Seattle backfield. And lost in the short-lived holdout and his age was Marshawn Lynch.
Well, Lynch reminded us he is still very much a factor with a 20 rush, 110-yard effort which culminated with two rushing touchdowns. He’s still physical. He still runs downhill. And he’s still one of the best running backs in the league.
Overall, the Seahawks rushed for 207 yards behind what appeared to be an improved offensive line.
2. Harvin is a factor
We know that Percy Harvin had an impact on every single game he was able to suit up for last year, but now that he’s healthy, defenses must take him into account on every snap.
The Seahawks continued to threaten with jet sweeps to Harvin, which opened the door for running room for Lynch and the play-action pass. And then there was the sweep to Harvin. Overall, Harvin’s 2014 debut included seven receptions for 59 yards, and four carries for 41 yards.
Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell knows the weapon Harvin is, and will continue to find ways to exploit defenses due to his dynamic abilities.
3. Sherman’s side remains untouchable
Richard Sherman was tasked with covering Jarrett Boykin all night, leaving Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb to try and find room on the right side against right corner Byron Maxwell. That didn’t work out all too well.
Sherman had zero balls come his direction, and Aaron Rodgers instead threw 14 balls to the right side, completing nine for 83 yards. Maxwell earned a negative coverage grade of -1.5 by Pro Football Focus.
4. Where was that pass-rush?
Peppers had one hit on Russell Wilson and Matthews recorded a tackle for a loss, but neither one of these highly touted pass-rushers racked up a single sack. In fact, only safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix registered a sack for Green Bay. It’s not a promising sign when your rookie defensive back finishes as your best pass-rusher.
5. The injury bug
Green Bay is already without center JC Tretter, but it could also be losing another key piece along the offensive line. Right tackle Bryan Bulaga left Thursday night’s game early with a knee injury, the same one he tore his ACL in last year.
It’s unknown how serious Bulaga’s injury is at this point, but it is a point of concern. Rodgers needs to be protected for this passing game to flow throughout the year — or he’ll be next on the shelf.
Eddie Lacy suffered a concussion last night. The severity is unknown and we don’t know whether it will cost him any time. Last year Lacy was concussed and it cost the running back one week, which may be the case this year as well.
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