Seahawks 36 Packers 16 - Five things we learned from the NFL opener

Centurylink Field Seattle Seahawks

The Seattle Seahawks continued to display their dominance with a convincing 36-16 win against the Green Bay Packers in Thursday's NFL opener.

The Seahawks are one of the most dominant Super Bowl champions the NFL has ever seen and they started their new season with an impressive offensive display to see off the reasonably weak challenge of the Green Bay Packers on Thursday night.

Seattle became the first Super Bowl winners to seal victory in the opening game for three years and gave the Packers plenty to think about if they are to maintain a serious challenge in the NFC over the next four months.

The 2014 season is now underway, and here are five things we learned from last night's NFL Kickoff:

1. Marshawn Lynch is still in Beast Mode

There were several doubts surrounding Lynch this preseason, especially after the star running back spent some time during the offseason threatening to hold out for a new contract. However, 'Beast Mode' showed that he is still the catalyst in an exciting Seattle offense as he rushed for 110 yards from 20 carries and scored two touchdowns in a commanding display. He has been the team's focal point on offense for a number of years and he proved that he will still be the key if this Seattle side is to retain the Super Bowl come February.

  MatchMatchdayAttempted CarriesYardsYards/AttemptReceptionsYardsTouchdowns
Marshawn Lynch Seattle vs Green Bay 01 20 110 5.5 1 14 2

2. Percy Harvin can be the difference-maker

Percy Harvin is an exceptional playmaker who can make those around him look like they're playing in slow motion, and he did just that as he tormented the Packers defence all night. Harvin ended the game with 160 all-purpose yards from 14 touches (seven receptions, four rushes and three kickoff returns) and he makes this good Seattle offense from last season a great one. If he can stay healthy, Harvin will wreak havoc on a weekly basis. Quarterback Russell Wilson summed it up when he said "Lord have mercy, we've got Percy", speaking to NBC after the game.

3. Green Bay has pass protection problems

The Packers were competing with the Seahawks until Bryan Bulaga went down with a game-ending knee injury in the second-quarter. He was replaced by Derek Sherrod and the former first-round draft pick struggled to make plays as he was beaten on two consecutive plays over two possessions to ultimately end the Packers hopes of a comeback. Sherrod was at fault for a fourth-down sack and then a strip-sack safety in the third-quarter and Green Bay will be hoping that Bulaga can return quickly as it could be a difficult season for Aaron Rodgers otherwise.

4. Richard Sherman can affect games without being involved

The Packers did not throw the ball towards All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman at all on Thursday night. Not one toss went near Sherman as Rodgers had to cope without Jarrett Boykin, who was covered by the Seattle cornerback on the right side of the field for the entire game. Rodgers made 33 throws during the game but only threw the ball to the right side of the field on one occasion - a three-yard touchdown pass to Randall Cobb with less that 10 minutes remaining in the game, and Sherman was not in coverage on that play. Even though he was not directly involved, Sherman made sure that the entire right side of the field was out of bounds for the Packers offence.

5. Earl Thomas should not return any more punts for the Seahawks

Pete Carroll needs to rethink the idea of using safety Earl Thomas as a punt-returner after the defensive star struggled to adapt to his new role. Thomas showed poor judgement on his first return of the game, and then cost his team dearly with his second attempt. He fumbled when he failed to signal for a fair catch and it is a risk for both the team and the player himself if the Seahawks continue to use their defensive back as the punt-returner.

Will the Seahawks retain their Super Bowl crown this season?