GREEN BAY, Wis. — Mike Daniels can be a man of few words. The defensive lineman’s play on the football field speaks volumes as to how important he has become to the Green Bay Packers.
Daniels’ strip-sack of Russell Wilson deep in Seattle territory in the third quarter set up Ty Montgomery’s 6-yard touchdown run on the next play to spark the Packers’ 17-9 win on Sunday over the Seahawks.
A marquee season opener between two NFC heavyweights turned into a defensive slugfest, with Daniels landing the momentum-swinging punch.
“Beat the guy across from me,” Daniels said. “It’s just that simple, you know what I mean?”
No talk about double moves or stunts. Daniels said he just flat-out beat guard Luke Joeckel to wreak havoc in the backfield.
“If I can’t do that, then nothing happens,” Daniels said. “So you simplify the game, just beat the guy across from me.”
The Packers’ Aaron Rodgers was 28 of 42 for 311 yards and added a 32-yard touchdown pass to Jordy Nelson to make it an eight-point game late in the third quarter. Rodgers went deep to his favorite receiver on a free play that was extended after Seattle was flagged for having too many men on the field.
But defense fueled the victory, which isn’t always the case in Green Bay.
“This really started with our defense,” Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy said. “It starts on the line of scrimmage. We were in the backfield a bunch.”
Seattle managed just three field goals. Wilson was held to 14 of 27 for 158 yards. The Packers held decisive edges in total yardage (370-225) and first downs (26-12). Green Bay held the ball for 39 minutes.
“I was disappointed they were able to be as aggressive up front as they were with their defense,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said.
Rodgers’ regular-season streak of passes without an interception ended at a career-high 251. The Seahawks’ defense reinforced by the return of safety Earl Thomas bottled up receivers from making many big plays and put plenty of pressure on Rodgers.
But the Packers started denting Seattle with runs or quick passes to Nelson, Randall Cobb and Montgomery in the second half, chewing up clock in the process. Rodgers limped late in the game after appearing to get pushed back by a defender. He took a few extra seconds to get back to the huddle on a couple plays, but did not leave the game.
He said he got stepped on and kicked a couple times.
“I think any soccer player without shin guards on, even with shin guards, can relate,” Rodgers said.
The Packers again found a way to contain the Seahawks’ dual-threat quarterback at Lambeau Field. He was 14 of 27 for 158 yards, and ran for 40 yards on two carries. Wilson was sacked three times, and was under pressure on many other plays.
In December on the same field, Wilson threw five interceptions — three of which deflected off the hands of receivers — in a 38-10 loss.
“I don’t worry about the games before. I only play one game at a time,” said Wilson, who starred in his senior season in college with the Wisconsin Badgers in 2011.
Seattle cornerback Jeremy Lane was ejected after referee John Parry said he threw a punch during a scrum with Packers receiver Davante Adams. Carroll disagreed with the call.
“I have seen it, and I didn’t see the punch at all. I’m disappointed the play would have such magnitude on the game,” Carroll said. “One (official) saw it, and that’s what they went with. I’m anxious to hear how the league tells us how that went.”
The tussle occurred around the Packers 30 during a play in which Nazair Jones intercepted Rodgers at 9:26 of the first quarter. It was Rodgers’ first interception since Nov. 13, 2016, at Tennessee.
Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett sat on the bench again during the national anthem. On the other sideline at about the 30, his younger brother Martellus Bennett, a tight end for the Packers, stood at the end of the line next to his teammates, but raised his right fist in the air during the anthem.
Michael Bennett last week released a statement alleging racially motivated excessive force by Las Vegas police.
The Bennett brothers talked for about a minute after the game at midfield.
“It was a tough week, but you get through things and I was glad to be out there with my guys again,” Michael Bennett said.
Packers linebacker Ahmad Brooks, who just joined the team last week as a free agent after being cut by the 49ers, left with a concussion. His injury was announced at the start of the third quarter.