By Don Ruiz The News Tribune
SEATTLE — While the Green Bay Packers were staying away from Richard Sherman on Thursday, they pointed instead at Byron Maxwell.
That worked well enough for some completions and some first downs, until Maxwell made them pay with an interception early in the third quarter.
“I just capitalized on a mistake,” he said. “(Jordy Nelson) dropped the ball, and I was there. It’s an opportunity. When opportunity comes your way, you’ve got to capitalize on it.”
Maxwell did not lack for opportunities. The Packers threw his way unofficially 10 times and managed six completions. Maxwell often was paired on Nelson, who led all receivers with nine receptions on 14 targets.
And all that action bothered Maxwell not at all.
“Nah, I’m getting the rock thrown my way,” he said. “So it’s cool.”
For his part, safety Earl Thomas said the whole targeting thing is overrated.
“We played a lot of zone,” he said. “We need to cease this talk about staying away from this guy, staying away from that guy, because it’s not about one person at the end of the day. It’s 11 guys out there playing their butts off.”
Still, Thomas said he was impressed with what Maxwell did with all those chances.
“He was taking the heat,” Thomas said. “We’re in cover three, and they’re just running stop routes. It’s quick throws and nickel-and-diming us, and we can’t do anything because at the end of the day our corners are taught to stay on top. We can’t just drive on a stop-route, and they run a double-move and now you’ve given up a touchdown. If you want to nickel and dime us, we’ll take that and make you drive the length of the field.”
Collectively, the Seahawks held Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers to 189 passing yards — 93 fewer than his average from last season. Rodgers threw one touchdown and the lone interception.
And he didn’t throw any of his 33 passes in Sherman’s direction.
“It happens like that sometimes,” Sherman said. “You’ve got to do your part to stay locked in, to stay involved in the ball game. Obviously he’s one of the top quarterbacks out there in this football league so you’ve got to be aware that any play can be that big play that he turns the game around. We have the utmost respect for Aaron, and we look forward to seeing him down the road.”
Defensive end Michael Bennett had a unique take on all the action that went in the other direction, saying every pass thrown Maxwell’s way drives up the price on the next contract for Maxwell, who had four interceptions last season.
Maxwell smiled when told about that, and said “I don’t know anything about that.”