SEATTLE — Though he played sparingly in the preseason, Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch got the regular season off on the right foot Thursday night with a steady, punishing and ultimately productive rushing game against Green Bay.
Lynch, who had just three preseason carries for 16 yards as the Seahawks sought to limit wear and tear, carried the ball 20 times for 110 yards and two touchdowns in Thursday’s 36-16 win.
“Marshawn’s always money,” Seattle tight end Zach Miller said. “He’s always running so hard, breaking tackles, scoring touchdowns. He’s a true beast.”
Late in the second quarter, Lynch shot through the left side of the Green Bay line for a 9-yard touchdown. He also went through the left side early in the fourth quarter for a 3-yard TD.
Lynch also had one reception for 14 yards.
Not to worry
Any thoughts that Seattle middle linebacker Bobby Wagner might have a slow start to the season were thoroughly washed away.
Wagner missed the first three preseason games because of a hamstring injury that he incurred early in training camp. But Wagner was all over the field Thursday and led the Seahawks with 14 tackles — including 10 in the first half — to equal his career-high for a regular-season game.
Wagner also had 14 tackles against New England in 2012, his rookie year. He had 15 tackles against San Francisco in last season’s NFC championship game.
Pick on the new guy
Seattle’s defense took advantage of an injury to Packers starting right tackle Bryan Bulaga to cause some havoc in the Green Bay backfield. Backup Derek Sherrod entered after Bulaga’s second-quarter injury and was beaten twice on two pivotal third-quarter plays.
The first came midway through the third quarter. On fourth-and-5 from the Seahawk 41, defensive end Cliff Avril beat Sherrod to the outside to tackle Rodgers for a drive-ending 4-yard sack. Later in the period, Michael Bennett beat Sherrod to the outside and smacked the ball out of Rodgers’ hand, resulting in a safety.
Sign of respect
Aware of his reputation as one of the NFL’s top lock-down cornerbacks, the Packers did not throw at Seattle’s Richard Sherman.
Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers did throw to Sherman’s side of the field, but they were underneath routes after the wide receiver being covered by Sherman had cleared the area.
Earlier in the week, Sherman mentioned the issue of having “to fight boredom” this season, due to opposing quarterbacks not throwing his way. The first game, apparently, was a sign of things to come.
Element of surprise
If you had Ricardo Lockette in your pool for who would score Seattle’s first touchdown of 2014, you might be alone.
Lockette scored just the second touchdown of his four-year NFL career and Seattle’s first of the game on a 33-yard pass from Russell Wilson early in the second quarter.
Wilson faked a handoff to Marshawn Lynch and continued with a bootleg action. Most of the Green Bay defense crashed hard on the run action, and Wilson lobbed a pass to a wide-open Lockette at the Green Bay 20-yard line. The wide receiver made Ha Ha Clinton-Dix miss at the 15 and waltzed into the end zone for his first touchdown since 2011.
Newcomer Marcus Burley got his first action as a Seahawk in the second half. Burley, acquired last Saturday from Indianapolis for a sixth-round pick in 2015, replaced injured Jeremy Lane as the third cornerback in Seattle’s nickel-coverage secondary. Moments later, he had his first Seattle pass break-up.
Thursday’s crowd of 68,424 was the largest in regular-season history at CenturyLink Field. The only larger crowd at the stadium was 68,454 for last January’s NFC championship game against San Francisco.
Hall of Famers honored
The Seahawks honored three Hall of Fame players — specifically, the three who played their entire careers in Seattle — before the game and at halftime.
Before the game, ex-Seahawks Steve Largent, Cortez Kennedy and Walter Jones jointly raised the 12th Man flag above the south-end end zone at CenturyLink Field.
At halftime, Largent, Kennedy and Jones — all of them wearing their gold Hall of Fame jackets — were honored on the field in a ceremony emceed by Seahawks radio broadcaster Steve Raible. Jones, who was inducted in August, was presented with his Hall of Fame ring by David Baker, president and executive director of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.