SEATTLE — After closing out last season with the first Super Bowl win in franchise history, the Seattle Seahawks didn’t show any signs of a letdown Thursday night.
Marshawn Lynch rushed for 110 yards and two touchdowns, the Seattle defense began the second half with two big plays, and the defending champion Seahawks put away the Green Bay Packers 36-16 in the NFL regular-season opener.
“You always want to pick up where you left off,” Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson said. “We don’t believe in the whole Super Bowl hangover thing.”
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 28-year-old 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.
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 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.
“I’ve got to make that play,” Nelson said. “It was a big change in the game. It was an opportunity to make a big play, and I didn’t do it.”
Said Rodgers of the interception: “I missed my spot by about a foot.”
Packers running back Eddie Lacy gained 34 yards on 12 carries before leaving the game in the fourth quarter with a possible concussion. Lacy was wearing sunglasses inside the locker room and was not made available to reporters. He is likely to undergo further tests in the next few days.
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.
“I just wanted to make a big play,” Bennett said.
Lynch then put the game away with his second touchdown for a 29-10 advantage.
Rodgers and the Packers bounced back 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.
“We didn’t carry over what we started in the preseason,” Packers middle linebacker Brad Jones said. “We didn’t come out and bring what we brought in the preseason. We’re going to have to regroup and figure out what went wrong.”
Lynch’s 9-yard touchdown with 3:41 remaining in the second quarter gave the Seahawks a 17-10 halftime lead. Wilson also threw a 33-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Ricardo Lockette, who avoided Green Bay rookie Ha Ha Clinton-Dix inside the 15-yard line and ran the rest of the way to put Seattle ahead 10-7 early in the second quarter.
Green Bay took its only lead of the game, 7-3, on a 2-yard run by fullback John Kuhn with 1:25 remaining in the first quarter.
Said Green Bay’s Nelson of the loss: “It’s one of 16, and there is a lot more season left.”