National Football League
Rodgers sparks Packers to win
National Football League

Rodgers sparks Packers to win

Published Aug. 21, 2010 1:00 a.m. ET

Aaron Rodgers continues to enjoy a summer carryover from his first Pro Bowl season for Green Bay.

Matt Hasselbeck finally got to enjoy a night like those from his former Pro Bowl days for Seattle.

Rodgers was 8 for 11 for 116 yards and two touchdowns in one, easy quarter, and Hasselbeck was 11 for 15 for 127 yards with a score in a redeeming first half before the Packers rallied for a 27-24 preseason victory over the Seahawks on Saturday night.

Former New York Jets All-Pro Leon Washington, making his Seattle debut, scored his first touchdown since breaking two bones in his leg 10 months ago. And Hasselbeck got back his passing form following a largely idle training camp and rough preseason opener last week for Seattle, which could have problems with an unspecified ankle injury to rookie sixth-overall pick Russell Okung.


Hasselbeck, upstaged by new backup Charlie Whitehurst last week against Tennessee, established a rhythm he and Seattle's offense has mostly lacked in his last two injury-filled seasons while leading two touchdown drives in the opening half.

Whitehurst, the son of 1970s Packers starter David Whitehurst, was 9 for 20 for 73 yards with two interceptions while playing the second half. He threw a go-ahead touchdown pass of 3 yards to Ben Obomanu late in the third quarter.

Washington bolted out of the tunnel to the opposite end zone while leading his new teammates onto the field before kickoff. Then he bolted through the line unlike any back Seattle has had in years on an 11-yard touchdown run that tied it at 14 early in the second quarter.

The 2008 Pro Bowl kick returner brought the ball to the bench for a souvenir of his injury comeback. He was then mobbed by teammates and always excited coach Pete Carroll, who's been eager to see if Washington was ready to lead the competition to become Seattle's lead running back.

Seattle's biggest concern is Okung. The left tackle who got a guaranteed $29 million this month from the Seahawks to replace retired All-Pro Walter Jones left for good after one drive. Mansfield Wrotto, normally a guard, replaced him. Seattle already has backup tackle Ray Willis out while facing knee surgery.

The Packers had seven starters inactive - six on defense. Aside from injuries to Clay Matthews, Al Harris, Atari Bigby and Nick Barnett, among others, Green Bay rested veterans Charles Woodson and Donald Driver.

A team spokesman said Woodson, last year's NFL defensive player of the year, has a mild hip flexor and wide receiver Driver has a sore calf.

Yet Green Bay's defense felt better about this night than it did while allowing Cleveland to roll up 21 points and 204 yards in the opening half last week.

''We were pleased with the way we came out and started with everybody playing their role and doing their assignments, and we got that (opening) three-and-out,'' safety Nick Collins said. ''We know that all of our players aren't here.''

Seattle's starting defense, which was ransacked most of last season, allowed 264 yards and 17 points to the Packers' first- and second-team offense in the first half.

Rodgers plus outstanding protection against a Seattle defense that's been searching for a pass rush for two years made the Packers' breezy opening drive look like a 7-on-7 drill. Or 7-on-none.

Green Bay's first play was a bootleg pass for 56 yards to a diving Greg Jennings, who beat first-round pick Earl Thomas. Rodgers had his second incompletion in 15 preseason throws when Seattle's Red Bryant deflected a pass at the line, but followed that with a 12-yard completion to Jermichael Finley on third down to the Seahawks 1. Then, Rodgers threw another bootleg pass to wide-open fullback John Kuhn for an easy touchdown.

Rodgers' second touchdown pass of the opening quarter came while victimizing Thomas again. Seattle's rookie ran up hard to join Lawyer Milloy in covering the same receiver, leaving tight end Finley alone down the middle for a 12-yard touchdown catch and a 14-7 lead for Green Bay. Milloy was yelling and pointing at Thomas after the play.

''He's tough to guard. He's a great player,'' Rodgers said of Finley. ''He's going to be a big part of our offense. Anytime I get the ball, I'll look for him.

''We still have a lot of work to do. But I think we're doing some good things. The key for me is just discipline and getting us in a good situation (at the line).''


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