Rodgers, Hasselbeck put on passing show
Seattle's rollicking summer with new coach Pete Carroll just got its first big concern.
Rodgers was 8 for 11 for 116 yards and two touchdowns in one, easy quarter. Seattle's Matt Hasselbeck was 11 for 15 for 127 yards with a score in a redeeming first half, but the Seahawks may be without rookie sixth-overall pick Russell Okung for a while because of an injured right ankle sustained early in the Packers' 27-24 preseason victory Saturday night.
The left tackle who got a guaranteed $29 million this month from the Seahawks to replace retired All-Pro Walter Jones left for good after one drive with what coach Pete Carroll said could be a high right ankle sprain. That injury sometimes involves two months or more of recovery time.
"It's pretty significant," Carroll said of Okung's absence. "Obviously we made it as big a priority as we could make it to get him."
Carroll said he didn't know how Okung got injured, only that it stings the entire team that is banking on improved offensive line play to lead a comeback season from 9-23 the last two years.
"That's a big loss if he can't come back," Carroll said. "We put a lot of time and effort to get this guy right and he's done everything we've asked of him."
After he missed the first eight days of training camp because of a contract impasse, the Seahawks gave Okung a six-year deal earlier this month that has a maximum value of $58 million.
He sprained the same ankle in Oklahoma State's opener against Georgia last season but missed only a few plays. The 6-foot-5, 310-pound stalwart started all 13 games for those college Cowboys last season, though the ankle continued to bother him late into the year.
Mansfield Wrotto, normally a guard, replaced him and played almost the rest of the game. Seattle already has backup tackle Ray Willis out while facing knee surgery.
Seattle's starting defense, which was ransacked most of last season, allowed 264 yards and 17 points to the Packers' first- and second-team offense in the first half.
Rodgers plus outstanding protection against a Seattle defense that's been searching for a pass rush for two years made the Packers' breezy opening drive look like a 7-on-7 drill. Or 7-on-none.
Green Bay's first play was an exquisitely thrown bootleg pass for 56 yards to a diving Greg Jennings, who beat first-round pick Earl Thomas. Rodgers had his second incompletion in 15 preseason throws when Seattle's Red Bryant deflected a pass at the line, but followed that with a 12-yard completion to Jermichael Finley on third down to the Seahawks 1. Then, Rodgers threw another bootleg pass to wide-open fullback John Kuhn for an easy touchdown.
Rodgers' second touchdown pass of the opening quarter came while victimizing Thomas again. Seattle's rookie ran up hard to join Lawyer Milloy in covering the same receiver, leaving tight end Finley alone down the middle for a 12-yard touchdown catch and a 14-7 lead for Green Bay. Milloy was yelling and pointing at Thomas after the play.
"We're tough to stop," Rodgers said. "We have a lot of playmakers."
Former New York Jets All-Pro Leon Washington, making his Seattle debut, scored his first touchdown since breaking two bones in his leg 10 months ago. And Hasselbeck, upstaged by new backup Charlie Whitehurst last week against Tennessee, established a rhythm he and Seattle's offense has mostly lacked in his last two injury-filled seasons while leading two touchdown drives in the opening half.
Whitehurst was 9 for 20 for 73 yards with two interceptions while playing the second half. He threw a go-ahead touchdown pass of 3 yards to Ben Obomanu late in the third quarter.
Washington bolted out of the tunnel to the opposite end zone while leading his new teammates onto the field before kickoff. Then he bolted through the line unlike any back Seattle has had in years on an 11-yard touchdown run that tied it at 14 early in the second quarter.
"An awesome feeling," the 2008 Pro Bowl kick returner said.
He brought the ball to the bench for a souvenir of his injury comeback. He was then mobbed by teammates and the always excited Carroll, who's been eager to see if Washington was ready to lead the competition to become Seattle's lead running back.
Washington said he was inspired by honoring his favorite uncle. George Mangrum died Friday in Jacksonville, Fla. He was in his early 50s.
"He's in heaven watching me, and I know he was watching me today," Washington said. "Plus coming back from injury, not playing football the last 10 months, there was a lot of juice for me."
The Packers had seven starters inactive — six on defense. Aside from injuries to Clay Matthews, Al Harris, Atari Bigby and Nick Barnett, among others, Green Bay rested veterans Charles Woodson and Donald Driver.
A team spokesman said Woodson, last year's NFL defensive player of the year, has a mild hip flexor and wide receiver Driver has a sore calf.
Yet Green Bay's defense felt better than it did while allowing Cleveland to roll up 21 points and 204 yards in the opening half last week.
"We were pleased with the way we came out and started with everybody playing their role and doing their assignments, and we got that (opening) three-and-out," safety Nick Collins said. "We know that all of our players aren't here."