Different approaches brought different results as the Seattle Seahawks defeated the Green Bay Packers 17-10 in the 64th annual Midwest Shrine Game at Lambeau Field before another record crowd of 74,030 fans on a picture perfect, 73 degree evening.
Seattle, now 3-0 in the Pre-Season under Head Coach Pete Carroll, played their starters almost the entire first half while Mike McCarthy had Aaron Rodgers play just one series and sprinkled backups in against the Seahawks first teamers early. Neither side produced much in a 3-3 first half in one of the chippiest exhibition games I've ever seen. There were 22 penalties accepted totaling 251 yards with several personal foul calls, after the whistle scuffles or taunting flags. I guess the bad blood from last year's "Fail Mary" game at Quest Field had most everyone jacked up a bit too high.
Led by former Wisconsin Badger Russell Wilson, the Seahawks marched 71 yards on the opening series, a 13 yard scamper by the quarterback started the drive but he also completed passes of 11, 17 and 27 yards to the Green Bay 9. But on second and goal, Clay Matthews broke through for a 12 yard sack leading to Michael Hauschka's 27 yard field goal to open the scoring.
Rodgers only series lasted 11 plays and covered 52 yards and reached the Seattle 20 before stalling. The big play was a 22 yard hookup to Jermichael Finley. He finished the night 4 of 7 for 41 yards but a corner route under pressure to Finley missed on third down. Mason Crosby tied the game on a 38 yard kick, badly needed after he missed three out of four attempts at last Wednesday's practice.
Both defenses settled in before turnovers arrived in the second quarter. Jarrett Boykin had the ball knocked out after a catch from Graham Harrell but on the next series, Casey Hayward picked off Wilson on a pass that got deflected first by Nick Perry and then by Robert Francois. Harrell got the Pack into the red zone but on 4th and 2 from the 4, his pass to Finley was a bit too hot to handle. Originally called a touchdown, replays showed Finley tapped the ball but lost control falling to the ground. Jerron McMillian came up with another pick of Wilson at midfield with just over a minute left in the half but a taunting penalty against Francois pushed the Packers back to their 35 and they couldn't get in scoring position.
Rookie running back Christine Michael found a big hole off right tackle against a blitz and ran 43 yards up the right sideline for a touchdown five and a half minutes into the third quarter putting Seattle on top 10-3. On the next series, Vince Young took over at quarterback and made things happen first with his feet, on scrambles for 21 and 18 yards. He capped the drive with a one yard flip to reserve fullback Jonathan Amosa for the tying touchdown.
The Seahawks winning points came on a 42 yard go route up the left sideline from Brady Quinn to Stephen Williams who plucked the ball away from Loyce Means at the goal line. It looked like the Pack was going to answer but rookie tight end Jake Stoneburner, who scored last week against St. Louis, coughed up a fumble after making a catch at the Seahawks 16 yard line.
Young made a strong push for the backup job at quarterback, completing 6 of 7 passes for 41 yards and also leading the team in rushing with 39 yards. The rest of the running game really struggled against a solid Seattle defense. Alex Green did rip off a 31 yard dash late but DuJuan Harris gained two yards on three carries before leaving with a reinjured knee that didn't look serious. Eddie Lacy had 8 carries for a negative five yards and Johnathan Franklin gained one yard on four carries. D.J. Williams was the top receiver with three catches for a mere 19 yards. Rookie receivers Kevin Dorsey and Charles Johnson made their debuts with Dorsey catching one ball. Another big performer was punter Tim Masthay who averaged 55.6 yards gross and 48.8 net on five, booming punts.
Already down 13 players due to injury, Randall Cobb, Omarius Hines, Jarrett Bush, James Nixon, Sean Richardson, Tramon Williams, Andy Mulumba, J.C. Tretter, Bryan Bulaga, Derek Sherrod, Matt Mulligan, Jordy Nelson and Jerel Worthy didn't dress, McCarthy said he has five more names on the post-game injury report. Harris with the knee, Jarvis Reed with an ankle, and three hamstring pulls for Casey Hayward, Morgan Burnett and Brad Jones, all front line players.
Hurting themselves with the turk in wait were Loyce Means, who got beat for the score and had a costly special teams penalty, Stoneburner with his fumble, Giorgio Tavecchio had just one kickoff that didn't reach the end zone and Patrick Lewis with an errant shotgun snap.
The Packers must cut to 75 by Tuesday and the deliberation process was discussed by McCarthy after the game.
Audio: Mike McCarthy after Seahawks game.
Other notes: Golden Tate was roundly booed by fans, in his first Lambeau appearance, Wilson finished 11 of 17 for 126 yards with two interceptions and was sacked three times. Masthay handled the kickoff chores to open the game. Don Barclay made a second straight start at right tackle. Micah Hyde led the team in tackles for a second straight game with 5. Matthews, Jordan Miller, Nate Palmer and Brad Jones had the sacks.
The Packers have one last tuneup, in Kansas City against the Chiefs next Thursday night.