Daniels rises to occasion for Packers
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
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.