All of Sunday looked and felt like a punch in the gut to the Seahawks.
So Cliff Avril punched back. According to the Packers, at least.
Seattle’s defensive end, who leads the team with 10 sacks, got into shoving and pushing matches with Green Bay offensive linemen after multiple plays on Sunday. One came after right guard T.J. Lang accused Avril of punching him in the private area.
Lang and Avril had to be separated following a play in the third quarter. On the Packers’ next drive, Avril was falling down trying to get to quarterback Aaron Rodgers — something Seattle’s four-man rush did not do often as Rodgers shredded them on 18-for-23 passing for 246 yards, three touchdowns and a near-perfect passer rating (150.8). As Avril was on the ground, Packers right tackle Bryan Bulaga apparently got revenge. Bulaga kneed the prone Avril in the stomach.
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Avril doubled over back onto the ground, and trainers came onto the field. He left for one play, benefited from a long replay review of an incomplete pass on the sideline, and re-entered the game.
After Green Bay’s 38-10 win Lang tweeted: “Sorry man, I’ll try to keep my composure next time I get punched in the (groin).”
In the locker room, Lang said: “All their guys are intense players. … They like to kind of push you a little late, so we were definitely aware of that.
“We didn’t back down from anybody (Sunday). Got into it with him a little bit, a couple times. Just football. Two intense teams going at it. I don’t know if you guys saw the replay of what happened.
“The ref was standing right there and just said he didn’t see it.”
Avril initially called it friendly competition, then said of Lang: “He don’t like me. I don’t like him. It is what it is.
“They don’t like me. I don’t like them.”
MISSING EARL THOMAS
No doubt, the Seahawks missed All-Pro free safety Earl Thomas. He is out for the season with a broken tibia he got last week in the win over Carolina.
“We didn’t have him back there,” said safety mate Kam Chancellor, who knee smashed Thomas’ shin the previous week when both were going for an interception. “Me and him are crash and bash. We are bash brothers back there.”
“We just didn’t have his hustle out there. Earl has a hustle about him. And that’s something we just didn’t have.”
Steven Terrell made his second career start. Chancellor said there were no communication issues.
Rodgers’ big game was not because Terrell was in there. The Seahawks’ plan to rely on a four-man pass rush against Rodgers failed. He had all day to pick apart coverage that could not stay with receivers for that long — even if the Seahawks had a healthy Thomas.
C-MIKE VS. HIS OLD MATES
Christine Michael had 10 carries for 36 yards in his first game against his former Seahawks since they waived their former second-round draft choice a few weeks ago.
But two facts were telling about his standing in Green Bay — and with his old Seahawks.
With former lead runner James Starks essentially benched, wide receiver Ty Montgomery was the primary Packers back on Sunday. He got the first carries. He ran for the 1-yard touchdown in the second quarter that made it 14-3. And he finished with a team-high 41 yards on nine rushes.
In the first quarter, Michael’s first carry was a run around right end and out of bounds into the Seahawks standing at and in front of the visiting team’s bench. Michael noticeably did not get a single pat on the back or extended hand as he weaved through his former teammates back to the Packers’ huddle. It appeared no Seahawk said anything to him, and he had no reaction while keeping his eyes and body oriented back to his new team’s huddle.
ROOKIE BACKS STRUGGLE
Russell Wilson’s fifth interception banged off the hands of rookie running back Troymaine Pope in the fourth quarter. Micah Hyde intercepted the ball and returned it to the Seattle 19.
Pope left a few minutes later with a sprained ankle.
Seattle’s sixth turnover came when fellow rookie Alex Collins lost a fumble in the final two minutes. Green Bay reserve nose tackle Christian Ringo hit the ball out of Collins’ arms. The rookie back finished with 23 yards.
Pope and Collins were playing late because coach Pete Carroll said he was preserving lead back Thomas Rawls in a 38-10 rout.
SNOW NOT A FACTOR
There was a winter weather advisory across Wisconsin on Saturday night and all day Sunday. Green Bay had about five inches of snow and it was still coming down during pregame warmups. But because the playing surface had been covered and Lambeau Field has heating coils under its natural grass, the field was as green as CenturyLink Field.
It was also as wet as Seattle’s home field usually is. The heating and condensation under the tarp, plus light snow that fell into the first quarter, made the field slippery.
Early on, Rawls slipped down trying to make a cut on third down, ending a drive. Seahawks linebacker K.J. Wright slipped twice on a Packers touchdown drive in the first quarter. Wright said he then changed to longer cleats.
This was the first time in his five-year career Wilson threw more than three interceptions in a regular-season game. He threw four in the NFC championship game in January 2015, also against the Packers — when he also had multiple throws bounce off his receivers’ hands. But Seattle rallied to win that game in overtime.