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In the Face of Adversity, Murphy Steps in and Provides Relief at RT

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In the Face of Adversity, Murphy Steps in and Provides Relief at RT

After a conservative week of practice, the general takeaway was that Bryan Bulaga would be suited up and ready to play come Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks.

The Packers' medical staff had other things in mind.

They were "adamant" that Bryan Bulaga should avoid starting at his usual right tackle spot, according to head coach Mike McCarthy. It ended up being for the best as the Packers still managed to scrape out a gritty 17-9 win, their seventh against the Seahawks since 2003.

It wasn't going to be Jason Spriggs to fill Bulaga's shoes at the right end of the offensive line. Instead, he was backing up left tackle David Bakhtiari as Aaron Rodgers' blindside protection. He didn't need to step in, but he did end up leaving the game with a hamstring injury.

Instead, the Packers gave Kyle Murphy a go. A former First-team All-Pac-12 in 2015 drafted by the Packers in the sixth round of last year's draft out of Stanford, Murphy provided some relief, but it wasn't immediate.

"It was crazy out there," Murphy told Larry McCarren of after the game. "Obviously, Lambeau was bumping like it always is for a rivalry game, especially week one. I already knew the atmosphere was going to be electric and the fans were going to be ready to go, everybody in here was going to be ready to go."

It took time for Murphy to get settled, and that was displayed by the few times he was beaten by the speed of Seahawks pass-rusher Cliff Avril off the edge. As a result, Rodgers was sacked four times in the first half.

The Packers also failed to establish a running game in the first half, much like they failed to establish much of anything offensively.

In Ty Montgomery's first regular season action since last season when he turned some heads after his transition from receiver to running back, he ran the ball eight times and netted just 16 yards in the first half. Needless to say, rust needed to be shaken off.

But, was it rust?

In the second half, Rodgers wasn't sacked a single time despite pressure collapsing in his face, resulting in his left foot being stepped on twice in a span of three plays. The Seahawks' lethal pass rush still never brought him down, and the quick passing game for the Packers was in full-swing.

The rushing attack also began to take form as Montgomery began to find his rhythm behind an offensive line that began to find theirs as well.

Both Rodgers and rookie running back Jamaal Williams combined for 25 rushing yards in the second half, but Montgomery shined with 38 yards on 11 touches. 

He may have finished the game averaging 2.8 yards per carry, but that's in large part due to his poor first two quarters and lack of rhythm in the Packers' offense.

"I performed alright. Some things I could've done better, some things I was happy with. Jahri [Evans], Martellus [Bennett], Richard [Rodgers], Lance [Kendricks], all of the guys I was playing next to helped me out tremendously as far as combination blocks or knowing whatever their assignment was. It kind of made my life easier."

Bulaga is expected to be active next week when the Packers travel to Atlanta to face the Falcons in their new stadium in front of a national primetime audience. Thankfully, too. 

But if the Packers learned anything this week, it's that they have to feel very, very good about their depth in Murphy.

"Games never feel perfect. There's always those ups, there's always those downs, but coming out with a victory is always the end goal. I think we're all smiling about that today.

"We'll learn from the individual mistakes and the mistakes from the offensive line unit and the offense tomorrow. We'll move forward at Atlanta next week, bust our butts at practice and get ready to go."

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (18) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Ibleedgreenmore's picture

Was he perfect no was it great he played and held up yeah good to see.

HankScorpio's picture

That Seattle DL is about as good as it gets in the NFL and still the sack total was aided by Rodgers hanging on to the ball too long.

By the end of the game, when Seattle needed a stop in the last 6 minutes, the Packer OL was playing good enough that they could not get it.

Bearmeat's Phantom Downvoter's picture

That's his biggest fault as a QB. It drives me nuts. And yet, many big plays come from that sand lot ball.

But if I were a member of ARod's OL, I'd be ticked at him about 15 times a year when a guy got a "Sack" in 5 seconds.

RCPackerFan's picture

I thought Murphy played well considering he was going up against one of the best defensive fronts in football and really playing for the first time.

What this does was gives me hope that if there is an injury to Bulaga that he will be able to be more then capable fill in.

croatpackfan's picture

May I remember you on similar situation in the beginning of 2013 season?

I predict that Packers starting line for 2018 will be Bakh, Lane, Cory, Brian and Kyle! And that is bold prediction!

The TKstinator's picture

Are you saying that Bulaga will move to RG so that Murphy can play RT?

croatpackfan's picture

No matter for down votes

The TKstinator's picture

Wow, that IS bold. I think it would be more likely that Bulaga stays at RT with Murphy replacing Evans at RG. I am far less bold than you, my croatian amigo. ;)

croatpackfan's picture

We'll see what happen... It will be interesting if each of our bold prediction would be wrong in the beginning of 2018!

pacman's picture

Just a good ol' rockem sockem football game. I hope nobody gets too high on themselves for next week game.
A different kind of challenge. And I hope nobody is still hungover:)

mnklitzke's picture

Falcons bearly beat the Bears... I don't think the Falcons will be as good this year. But it is opening of their new stadium so it will be rocking!!

Spock's picture

Definitely one of the more 'watch worthy' first games of the season! I'm stoked about the defense; they kept us in this game. I'm not worried at all about the offense; they will gel soon and this should be one heck of a season to watch!!!!

sheppercheeser's picture

I'm very happy for Kyle. All eyes were on him. Kudos to his teammates for helping him out, too. Something that Murphy can build on for sure!

Tundraboy's picture

Baptism by fire served us well. We now have at least one backup who we can rely on.

Johnblood27's picture

I haven't felt this good about a RT debut since Marshall Newhouse...


I mean Alan Barbe...

oh well, screw it.

Tundraboy's picture

LMAO J Blood.

Packer Fan's picture

I was for TT to pick up a OL for experienced backup. I didn't want a starter to go down and have a sub give up a few sacks which was exactly what happened. Fortunately the Pack got through it and Murphy played better in the second half. Maybe the biggest storm is past us as Seattle has a great DL and pass rush. I wish the Pack would start with the short passing game to control the time and assess the protection and open up as the game progresses. It sure helped as the game wore on that the defense appeared tired.

croatpackfan's picture

It sounds correct. Do you have in mind any vet OL who is at least decent out there?

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