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Lynch, Seahawks run past Packers in NFL opener, 36-16
Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch eludes a tackle by Green Bay Packers outside linebacker Nick Perry to rush for a touchdown during the third quarter at CenturyLink Field on Thursday. (Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports)
Lynch scored from 9 and 3 yards out, with the latter coming on the opening play of the fourth quarter to cap off 12 unanswered points coming out of halftime.
After skipping the first few days of training camp in a contract dispute and being used sparingly in the preseason, Lynch broke out for his first 100-yard regular-season game since Week 11 of 2013. The running back carried the ball 20 times Thursday.
The Seahawks became the first defending Super Bowl champion to open with a victory since 2011, when the Packers beat the New Orleans Saints on a Thursday. The New York Giants and Baltimore Ravens, the past two Super Bowl winners, lost their openers the past two years.
Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson threw for two touchdowns while completing 19 of 28 passes for 191 yards. Wide receiver Percy Harvin caught seven passes for 59 yards and added another 41 yards on four rushes.
Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers completed 23 of 33 passes for 189 yards and a touchdown, but he also had a costly interception on the Packers' first offensive play of the second half. His first pass after halftime went off the hand of intended receiver Jordy Nelson and into the hands of Seattle cornerback Byron Maxwell, setting up a field goal for a 20-10 lead.
Packers running back Eddie Lacy gained 34 yards on 12 carries before leaving the game in the fourth quarter with a possible concussion.
The Seahawks pulled away from a 17-10 halftime lead with two key defensive plays in the third quarter. Maxwell's interception led to a Steven Hauschka 20-yard field goal, and then defensive lineman Michael Bennett's sack and forced fumble resulted in a safety for a 22-10 Seattle lead.
Bennett rushed past right tackle Derek Sherrod, who was filling in for injured starter Bryan Bulaga, and blindsided Rodgers at the Green Bay 10-yard line. Rodgers fumbled the ball into the end zone, where Sherrod recovered for a safety.
Lynch then put the game away with his second touchdown for a 29-10 advantage.
Rodgers and the Packers finally ended the string of Seattle points with a 10-play, 82-yard drive early in the fourth quarter, cutting the Seahawks' lead to 29-16 on a Rodgers-to-Randall Cobb touchdown pass. The two-point-conversion attempt failed.
Seattle responded with a 13-play, 80-yard drive, most of it while running the read-option, to eat up seven minutes. Wilson capped it off with a 14-yard touchdown to fullback Derrick Coleman on a play-action pass on fourth-and-1 with 2:31 remaining.
In the first Seahawks-Packers meeting since the infamous "Fail Mary" play of 2012, Seattle didn't need any last-second heroics or questionable calls to beat Green Bay at home. The Seahawks outgained the Packers 398-255 and held a double-digit lead for the final 25 minutes, 28 seconds of Thursday's game.
A 9-yard touchdown run by Lynch with 3:41 remaining in the second quarter gave the Seahawks a 17-10 halftime lead. The teams combined for 352 total yards during a surprisingly offensive first half.
A running-into-the-punter penalty kept the Seahawks' first drive alive, resulting in a 35-yard Hauschka field goal and a 3-0 Seattle lead. Green Bay got a little help on a punt during the following drive, as Seattle return man Earl Thomas muffed the ball and the Packers recovered at the Seahawks' 34. Six plays later, Green Bay fullback John Kuhn scored from the 2-yard line to put the Packers ahead 7-3 with 1:25 remaining in the first quarter.
Seattle responded with a six-play, 80-yard drive that featured back-to-back 33-yard receptions by wide receivers Percy Harvin and Ricardo Lockette, the latter resulting in the go-ahead touchdown and a 10-7 Seahawks lead two minutes into the second quarter.
Green Bay's Mason Crosby tied the score 10-10 with a 23-yard field goal six minutes later.
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NOTES: Packers rookie G Corey Linsley, who didn't play a snap at center with the first team during the preseason, started in place of injured C JC Tretter on Thursday. ... Seahawks CB Jeremy Lane sustained a groin injury early in the second half. ... Two Green Bay starters were injured on the same play early in the second quarter. RT Bryan Bulaga (knee) and rookie TE Richard Rodgers (neck) had to be attended to simultaneously but eventually walked off the field under their own power. Bulaga did not return to action, but Rodgers did. ... The past two defending Super Bowl champions opened the following season with a loss on a Thursday night. ... The Seahawks won their previous four consecutive season openers that were played at home. The streak began after 1999, when new coach Mike Holmgren lost in his debut with the Seahawks. ... The Seahawks unveiled a Super Bowl banner before Thursday's game, then held a halftime ceremony honoring OT Walter Jones, recent Hall of Fame inductee.