GREEN BAY — Mike McCarthy loved the way his Green Bay Packers offense closed out Sunday’s win over Seattle. Now, the Packers’ coach would like to see it a little earlier.
“The last four series when you go touchdown, touchdown, field goal and you run out the clock,” McCarthy said Monday, one day after the Packers opened their season with a 17-9 victory. “That’s the way you finish a game.”
After failing to score in the first half, the offense cashed in on a Mike Daniels forced fumble with a 6-yard Ty Montgomery touchdown run, then got a 32-yard Aaron Rodgers-to-Jordy Nelson touchdown pass on a free play near the end of the third quarter. On their next possession, the Packers ate up 5 minutes, 37 seconds of clock en route to a 40-yard Mason Crosby field goal, then took over with 6:17 left in the fourth quarter and never let the Seahawks get the ball back.
On the final drive, Rodgers converted a third-and-4 from the Seattle 45-yard line with a 6-yard scramble. A 15-yard penalty on tight end Martellus Bennett for unnecessary roughness for what he saw as protecting his quarterback pushed the Packers back to their own 46, but McCarthy made the gutsy call to throw on second-and-6 from midfield, and Rodgers hit Bennett on a 26-yard catch-and-run on a play-action pass that took the clock down to the 2-minute warning and allowed the Packers to kneel it out from there.
“We had some nice sustained drives late in the game and finished with the football. That was really key for us,” Rodgers said. “I think Mike did a good job of rolling with some calls, some aggressive calls late in the game. The action with the keeper to Marty was a really nice call.
“Those were good drives for us to finish the game.”
In the first half, however, the Packers’ possessions ended in a Rodgers interception that was returned for a touchdown (but called back due to penalties) and four punts. In next Sunday night’s game at Atlanta, the Packers — having fallen behind 31-0 with another scoreless first half against the Falcons in the NFC Championship Game Jan. 22 — can’t afford a slow start.
“The last four possessions, we did a really good job as far as overall execution,” offensive coordinator Edgar Bennett said. “(Now) we’ve got to start fast, we can’t turn the football over. Those are some of the things we talked about in our correction meetings today.”
Murphy holds his own
McCarthy was pleased with second-year right tackle Kyle Murphy’s performance in place of veteran Bryan Bulaga (ankle). But, McCarthy confessed, he did alter his game plan to account for a guy making his first NFL start after playing only a handful of snaps as a rookie sixth-round pick last year.
“He played well, especially for his first game. Definitely had some things he needs to work on,” McCarthy said. “We did some things that we may have, or may not have, done when Bryan was in there. A healthy Bryan probably would have done a couple things (that Murphy didn’t). But that’s football, that’s how it goes. He’s young, it’s his first start. Obviously he’s playing against a very experienced, talented defensive front.”
Allison set to return
The Packers will have to make a roster move at some point this week to clear a spot for wide receiver Geronimo Allison, who missed Sunday’s opener while serving a one-game suspension following a misdemeanor arrest for marijuana possession last November.
It appears unlikely rookie defensive tackle Montravius Adams, who took part in practice last week for the first time since suffering a foot injury on July 28, would land on injured reserve. Among the healthy players who were inactive for Sunday’s game were cornerbacks Josh Hawkins and Lenzy Pipkins, guard Lucas Patrick and running back Aaron Jones.
McCarthy said because Allison took part in all of training camp and the preseason, he should be back up to speed quickly.
“He’s been training so I’m not really concerned about his integration. He’s going to be fine there,” McCarthy said. “Obviously, we have some personnel decisions to make.”