Mired by mistakes, the Seattle Seahawks still slogged out a win at Lambeau Field.
After steamrolling over their first two preseason opponents, the Seahawks nearly tripped themselves up in a 17-10 victory over the Green Bay Packers on Friday night.
All the pushing and shoving, and the penalties — 14 for Seattle, and 22 for both teams — in part overshadowed Seattle’s victory in a matchup of NFC heavyweights.
”We really looked at it as an opportunity to take the challenge of getting on the road and getting a win,” Carroll said. ”But the distractions of giving up 180-something yards in penalties is ridiculous and hard to deal with and feel like you played well.”
It was exactly 182 yards in penalties, in fact for the Seahawks. Thankfully for Carroll, two backups came up big.
Christine Michael ran for 97 yards on 11 carries and Stephen Williams snatched a ball away from cornerback Loyce Means in the end zone for a 42-yard touchdown catch and the go-ahead score in the fourth quarter. Michael had a 43-yard touchdown run in the third quarter for the Seahawks (3-0), who stayed unbeaten but didn’t look like the team that routed Denver and San Diego the previous two weeks.
For Michael, it was another impressive preseason performance after sitting out last week due to back spasms. Michael ran for 89 yards on 16 carries in the first preseason game against San Diego.
”We were kind of beating ourselves with the penalties,” Michael said Friday. ”But it was a hump we had to get over, we did and we came out with the victory.”
The Packers’ Vince Young, vying for the backup job behind starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers, orchestrated an 11-play, 80-yard drive in the third quarter that ended with a 1-yard touchdown pass to backup fullback Jonathan Amosa to tie it at 10.
Young was 6 of 7 for 41 yards and ran three times 31 yards, keeping plays alive with his legs as if he was running around in a Texas Longhorns uniform again.
Rodgers looked fine in his only series, Green Bay’s sole possession of the first quarter. He finished 4 of 7 for 41 yards, including a 22-yard connection to tight end Jermichael Finley to the Seattle 24 to help set up Mason Crosby’s 38-yard field goal.
The Packers (1-2) pulled most of their starters by the second quarter as coach Mike McCarthy sought to get more evaluations on backups with roster cut-down deadlines approaching.
”We want to win the game, we wanted to win tonight, especially at home, but there was more information that was needed,” McCarthy said.
This game instead will be remembered for some defense, and a host of mistakes and sloppy play – not exactly what Carroll or McCarthy were looking for with the regular season a little more than two weeks away.
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, returning to the state where he turned into a college star at Wisconsin, finished 11 of 17 for 126 yards but threw two interceptions, including a pass tipped by two defenders that landed in the opportunistic hands of Casey Hayward.
”The good thing is we won the game. The disappointing part is the turnovers,” Wilson said. ”I can never do that. I think that’s my main focus.”
Wilson looked in midseason form on the opening series against the Packers’ first-string defense in the first quarter, guiding Seattle to the 9 by gaining chunks of yardage on long pass plays.
But running back Robert Turbin was stuffed on first down. Then, the 5-foot-10 Turbin was overmatched on the edge trying to block 6-foot-3 linebacker Clay Matthews, who sacked Wilson. Seattle settled for Steven Hauschka’s 27-yard field goal.
”Obviously, that was a big emphasis for us last year and even more so this year, is limiting his ability to create plays by running out of the pocket,” Matthews said at halftime. ”He’s going to make his plays, but I felt for the most part, not only myself, but as a rushing unit, we did a good job of keeping him bottled up in the pocket, forcing some errant throws and getting after him.”
The Seahawks have been a chic pick to get to the Super Bowl, especially after beating their first two preseason opponents by a combined score of 71-20. Big plays propelled Seattle last week to a 40-10 rout of the Broncos.
But penalties weighed down both teams on a warm evening, especially the Seahawks. They had twice as many penalties (six) as points in a chippy first half.
Perhaps memories of last year’s meeting between the teams sparked the pushing and shoving that marked much of the evening. The game on Sept. 24 ended with Golden Tate’s disputed touchdown catch after tussling for the ball with Packers safety M.D. Jennings that was upheld on review by replacement officials. That moment will forever be remembered as the tipping point that got the regular officials back on the field.
Tate didn’t do much in limited time at Lambeau. He caught one pass for 4 yards, and was booed by the Packers faithful after being announced as the punt returner over the stadium loudspeakers.
Asked if there was any carry-over from last year’s game, Jennings said: ”I can’t speak for anyone else. Last year was last year. The only thing is we showed up tonight to play Packer football.”