Daniels rises to oc­ca­sion for Pack­ers

Packer Plus - - Packers 17, Seahawks 9 - GENARO C. AR­MAS AP SPORTS WRITER

Green Bay — Mike Daniels can be a man of few words. The de­fen­sive line­man’s play on the foot­ball field speaks vol­umes as to how im­por­tant he has be­come to the Green Bay Pack­ers.

Daniels’ strip-sack of Russell Wilson deep in Seat­tle ter­ri­tory in the third quar­ter set up Ty Montgomery’s 6-yard touch­down run on the next play to spark the Pack­ers’ 17-9 win on Sun­day over the Sea­hawks.

A mar­quee sea­son opener be­tween two NFC heavy­weights turned into a de­fen­sive slugfest, with Daniels land­ing the mo­men­tum-swing­ing punch.

“Beat the guy across from me,” Daniels said. “It’s just that sim­ple, you know what I mean?”

No talk about dou­ble moves or stunts. Daniels said he just flat-out beat guard Luke Joeckel to wreak havoc in the back­field.

“If I can’t do that, then noth­ing hap­pens,” Daniels said. “So you sim­plify the game, just beat the guy across from me.”

The Pack­ers’ Aaron Rodgers was 28 of 42 for 311 yards and added a 32-yard touch­down pass to Jordy Nel­son to make it an eight-point game late in the third quar­ter. Rodgers went deep to his fa­vorite re­ceiver on a free play that was ex­tended af­ter Seat­tle was flagged for hav­ing too many men on the field.

But de­fense fu­eled the vic­tory, which isn’t al­ways the case in Green Bay.

“This re­ally started with our de­fense,” Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy said. “It starts on the line of scrim­mage. We were in the back­field a bunch.”

Seat­tle man­aged just three field goals. Wilson was held to 14 of 27 for 158 yards. The Pack­ers held de­ci­sive edges in to­tal yardage (370-225) and first downs (26-12). Green Bay held the ball for 39 min­utes.

“I was dis­ap­pointed they were able to be as ag­gres­sive up front as they were with their de­fense,” Seat­tle coach Pete Car­roll said. Rodgers’ day: Rodgers’ reg- ular-sea­son streak of passes with­out an in­ter­cep­tion ended at a ca­reer-high 251. The Sea­hawks’ de­fense re­in­forced by the re­turn of safety Earl Thomas bot­tled up re­ceivers from mak­ing many big plays and put plenty of pres­sure on Rodgers.

But the Pack­ers started dent­ing Seat­tle with runs or quick passes to Nel­son, Ran­dall Cobb and Montgomery in the sec­ond half, chew­ing up clock in the process. Rodgers limped late in the game af­ter ap­pear­ing to get pushed back by a de­fender. He took a few ex­tra sec­onds to get back to the hud­dle on a cou­ple plays, but did not leave the

game.

He said he got stepped on and kicked a cou­ple times.

“I think any soc­cer player with­out shin guards on, even with shin guards, can re­late,” Rodgers said.

Wilson con­tained : The Pack­ers again found a way to con­tain the Sea­hawks’ du­althreat quar­ter­back at Lam­beau Field. He was 14 of 27 for 158 yards, and ran for 40 yards on two car­ries. Wilson was sacked three times, and was un­der pres­sure on many other plays.

In De­cem­ber on the same field, Wilson threw five in­ter­cep­tions — three of which de- flected off the hands of re­ceivers — in a 38-10 loss.

“I don’t worry about the games be­fore. I only play one game at a time,” said Wilson, who starred in his se­nior sea­son in col­lege with the Wis­con­sin Bad­gers in 2011.

Ejected: Seat­tle cor­ner­back Jeremy Lane was ejected af­ter ref­eree John Parry said he threw a punch dur­ing a scrum with Pack­ers re­ceiver Da­vante Adams. Car­roll dis­agreed with the call.

“I have seen it, and I didn’t see the punch at all. I’m dis­ap­pointed the play would have such mag­ni­tude on the game,” Car­roll said. “One (of­fi­cial) saw it, and that’s what they went with. I’m anx­ious to hear how the league tells us how that went.”

The tus­sle oc­curred around the Pack­ers 30 dur­ing a play in which Nazair Jones in­ter­cepted Rodgers at 9:26 of the first quar­ter. It was Rodgers’ first in­ter­cep­tion since Nov. 13, 2016, at Ten­nessee. In­juries: Pack­ers linebacker Ah­mad Brooks, who just joined the team last week as a free agent af­ter be­ing cut by the 49ers, left with a con­cus­sion. His in­jury was an­nounced at the start of the third quar­ter.

OF­FEN­SIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME Ty Montgomery, run­ning back, Pack­ers

Statis­tics are de­ceiv­ing, and that is the case as one judges Montgomery strictly by the num­bers Sun­day: 19 rushes, 54 yards, 2.8 avg., a long of 8, one TD and four re­cep­tions for 39 yards. Against an elite Seat­tle de­fense, ev­ery one of those 93 yards did not come eas­ily. At in­ter­mis­sion, he had eight rushes for 16 yards and one catch for five yards. In the fi­nal 30 min­utes, he be­came a force early, bulling his way into the end zone from six yards out for a 7-3 lead Green Bay would not re­lin­quish. Montgomery kept ham­mer­ing into the Sea­hawks on the ground and found fis­sures in their pass de­fense, in­clud­ing a 20-yard screen early in the fourth quar­ter where he out­ran tir­ing de­fend­ers and then de­liv­ered a pun­ish­ing blow to the tack­ler. “Ty’s a tough guy,” Aaron Rodgers said. “He made some nice plays.” DE­FEN­SIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME Mike Daniels, de­fen­sive tackle, Pack­ers Daniels was a dom­i­nant force Sun­day, ha­rass­ing QB Russell Wil- son all af­ter­noon in record­ing five to­tal tack­les, four quar­ter­back hits, and 11⁄ sacks for 12 yards. His 2 strip-sack of Wilson early in the third quar­ter turned the tide of the game and ig­nited the stag­nant Pack­ers of­fense in the process. Trail­ing 3-0, Daniels teamed with Nick Perry on a 10-yard sack of Wilson back to the Seat­tle 11. Two plays later, Daniels pen­e­trated from the right and forced Wilson to lose the ball, which squirted di­rectly to linebacker Kyler Fack­rell at the 6. The of­fense cap­i­tal­ized one play later on Montgomery’s touch­down run for a 7-3 lead. SPE­CIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE GAME Jon Ryan, punter, Sea­hawks

The 12-year vet­eran had an­other great out­ing against his for­mer em­ployer, av­er­ag­ing 45.8 yards net on six punts with four inside the 20yard line. Ryan was a ma­jor rea­son the Green Bay of­fense had such poor field po­si­tion and no points in the first half, pin­ning the Pack­ers at their own 2-yard line and the 17 in the first quar­ter and the 5-yard line mid­way in the sec­ond quar­ter. Martin Hen­dricks

Mike Daniels causes Sea­hawks quar­ter­back Russell Wilson to fum­ble in the third quar­ter. The strip-sack turned the game in the Pack­ers’ fa­vor.

On Sun­day, vet­eran wide re­ceiver Jordy Nel­son be­came just the fourth Packer to catch 500 passes in his NFL ca­reer.

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