SEATTLE -- The last time any defender picked up four quarterback sacks in a half of football, it was the late, great Derrick Thomas for the Kansas City Chiefs on Nov. 11, 1990. Thomas got four sacks in the first half alone ... and that came against the Seattle Seahawks. On Monday night, and a generation later, Seattle got its own back with an eight-sack first half against the Green Bay Packers.
Defensive end Chris Clemons matched Thomas' first-half total with four quarterback takedowns, mostly to the embarrassment of left tackle Marshall Newhouse. Rodgers lost a total of 39 yards on the eight sacks, and the high-flying Packers offense was held to no points and 87 total yards.
Unbelievably, that is not the NFL record for first-half team sacks -- that happened on Oct. 3, 2010, when the New York Giants put Jay Cutler on his back nine times in a single half. The Bears took Cutler out at halftime to save his bacon, but Rodgers came out to play in the second half.
The first sack came with 11:02 left in the first quarter, and it was the first full NFL sack for rookie end Bruce Irvin. Regarded highly for his raw speed but with caution flags for his equally raw technique, Irvin did what he hadn't done before -- showed an impressive inside counter move to get to Rodgers. Then, with 4:47 left in the first quarter, defensive tackle Brandon Mebane got the first of his two.
Clemons got his first of four with 13:40 left in the first half, another at the 9:47 mark, and then his final two on consecutive plays starting at the 3:31 mark.
The Seahawks went back to their locker room up just 7-0, though -- running back Marshawn Lynch had 71 yards on 16 carries, but Green Bay's pass defense bottled up Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson for the most part. Wilson did uncork a 41-yard touchdown pass to receiver Golden Tate with 6:22 left in the first half, which proved to be the difference in the game at that point.
The Packers came out in the second half with a very different approach -- using more tight ends at the line, they ran more often, used short throws to counteract the pass rush, and Rodgers left the pocket more quickly and willingly.
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