Packers stumble in exhibition opener

GREEN BAY – Yikes! Green Bay's exhibition opener Monday night made it quite clear that the depth on the team is questionable, at least when it comes to playing the Seattle Seahawks.<p>

The Seahawks used two long scoring drives from their first- and second-team offenses against Green Bay's first- and second-team defenses to take a 14-3 first half lead en route to a 21-3 victory in the 44th annual Bishop's Charities Game at Lambeau Field. The Packers struggled for most of the night on offense, defense and special teams. For a team picked by many to challenge for the NFC title this season, it was a disappointing debut Monday night, even for a preseason game.

But not for Seahawks' third-string quarterback Seneca Wallace. Wallace, who got plenty of playing time in place of the injured Trent Dilfer (back), engineered two touchdown drives. He finished the game by passing for 135 yards and a touchdown, completing 14 of 26.

Meanwhile, Green Bay's offense, ranked fourth in the NFL in total yardage last year (362.4 per game) and scoring (27.6 per game), finished with 118 total yards (40 yards rushing and 78 passing). The Packers were just 2 of 15 on third downs.

"Overall with our first group I thought we did OK," said Packers coach Mike Sherman. "The rest of the game on offense we were not very good."

Seattle, which fell in overtime to the Packers in the wild card playoffs last January on the same field, finished with 279 total yards of offense and was 9 of 18 on third downs.

Tim Couch, who missed a number of practices this week because of a sore arm, struggled to move the second-team offense. Couch was booed by Packers fans after a couple of series in which the Packers were forced to punt the ball away. He finished 2 of 11 for 18 yards.

"He said his arm felt well enough to go," said Packers coach Mike Sherman. "Obviously it was not a good day for him or for us."

In fairness to Couch and veteran Doug Pederson, they were playing behind second- and third-string offensive linemen, receivers and running backs.

"It's hard," said Pederson. "I think (Couch) would be a lot better if you put him out there with the starting offensive linemen and receivers. He'd be a lot better and then you would really see how far he has come with this offense. A lot of times younger players will be asking you what to do and you yourself may not know exactly what's going on because you're trying to learn this offense."

When Pederson entered the game with 3 minutes, 40 seconds left in the third quarter, the crowd of 69,718 provided the biggest cheer of the game, but the Packers were still forced to punt after three plays.

And speaking of punting, B.J. Sander continued his struggles in Lambeau Field. Sander, who averaged just 27.3 yards per punt in the team's intrasquad scrimmage on Aug. 7, wasn't much better against the Seahawks. Sander punted 10 times and averaged 36.5 yards per punt, including a few line drive punts that made for easy returns. That's not what the Packers were expecting when they selected him in the third round of this year's NFL Draft.

"We certainly gave him his opportunities," Sherman said of Sander. "I thought he was 50-50. He has to learn to punt the ball better in Lambeau Field. We took him because of his consistency."

Defensively, the Packers' first unit forced the Seahawks to punt the ball away after three plays on the first series of the game, but then gave up a 14-play, 68-yard drive that gobbled up 6:29 and was highlighted by four third-down conversions. Former Packers quarterback Matt Hasselbeck completed passes for three of those conversions. Hasselbeck played two series and finished 5 of 9 for 56 yards.

"They're a good offense," said safety Darren Sharper. "They expect to make some plays."

Brett Favre, who has looked as good as ever in training camp, completed 5 of 7 passes for 43 yards. Favre moved the offense 39 yards on 10 plays, and Ryan Longwell gave the Packers a 3-0 lead by making a 47-yard field goal early in the first quarter. Favre played in two series before giving way to Couch and the second-team offense.

Running back Ahman Green rushed six times for 24 yards (4.0 avg.), with a long run of 12 yards in Green Bay's first two series.

"I was pleased with the 10 or so plays, and of course, pleased that our defense stopped them, obviously, on the first three-and-out," said Sherman. "Then we didn't respond the second time they had the ball – they drove down the field and scored. And we had some opportunities offensively, we just missed them."

Seattle took a 14-3 lead late in the first half on third-string quarterback Seneca Wallace's 2-yard pass to wide receiver Jerheme Urban. Wallace completed a 15-yard pass early in the drive to wide receiver Alex Bannister to the Packers' 47. A few plays later, Wallace connected with wide receiver Jason Willis, who spun off Bhawoh Jue's tackle attempt and raced down the sideline for a 16-yard gain to the Packers' 27. The Seahawks proceeded to run and pass their way to the 2 before scoring.

The Seahawks put the Packers away late in the fourth quarter by driving 53 yards on nine plays. The drive was capped by running back Kerry Carter's one-yard touchdown run. Wallace's 19-yard completion to fullback Chris Davis set up the touchdown.


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