The Green Bay Packers could not have asked for a better day from the offense. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers shredded the Washington Redskins’ defensive secondary for 480 yards, which tied Matt Flynn’s team record and led the NFL for week 2. Running back James Starks rushed for 132 yards, becoming the first Packers running back to rush for over 100 yards in 44 games. The defense wasn’t too shabby either. They kept the Redskins shut out for two and a half quarters, and got their first interception of the year. The game was total domination.
On his first carry of the game, Packers running back Eddie Lacy suffered a concussion after a hit by Redskins safety Brandon Meriweather. Meriweather appeared to lead with his helmet, which could result in a fine. Meriweather had to leave in the second quarter after he suffered a concussion on another helmet-to-helmet hit.
After a Mason Crosby field goal and a punt on their first two drives, Rodgers went to work, hitting wide receiver Randall Cobb for a 35-yard touchdown pass on fourth down. That touchdown got the Packers’ offense rolling.
After another Redskins punt, Rodgers again marched the offense down the field and hit wide receiver Jordy Nelson for a 14-yard touchdown to give the Packers a 17-0 lead. The Redskins again punted on their next drive, giving the Packers’ offense the ball to try and extend their lead, which they did. Rodgers scrambled and hit Jermichael Finley for a three-yard touchdown to increase their score to 24.
On the Redskins’ next drive, the Packers defense got tired of forcing punts and took it into their own hands to get the ball back to the offense. On a fourth down at the Packers’ 29 yard line, defensive end Mike Neal intercepted Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III, the first interception by the defense this year. Green Bay went into halftime leading 24-0.
The Packers got the ball with 10:09 left in the third quarter after the first three drives of the second half resulted in punts. The offense went back to work and again, Rodgers connected with Nelson for a 15-yard touchdown pass, his fourth of the day. The game was becoming out of reach for the Redskins with the Packers now up 31-0. Washington’s offense finally got something going on their next drive, with Pierre Garcon on the receiving end of an RGIII touchdown pass, cutting the lead to 31-7.
As previously mentioned, Starks had a monster game. Coming off the bench after Lacy’s concussion, Starks showed glimpses of the running back that rushed for more than 100 yards in the playoff against the Philadelphia Eagles in 2010. Starks capped off his great day of rushing with a 32-yard touchdown run to make the Packers lead 38-7. The Redskins did score touchdowns on their next two drives, but by that time the game was all but over. The Packers ran out the last 7:36 of the clock to earn a 38-20 victory, and win #1 on the season.
Aside from the 480 yards, Rodgers did have 4 touchdowns on the day, going 34 of 42. One concern for the Packers is that Rodgers was sacked 4 times. The good news is that three of those sacks came on the first two drives of the game, which means the offensive line did its job the rest of the game. The Packers defense did give up 320 passing yards, but most of those yards came later in the game when the defense was playing off the Redskins wide receivers. The main concern from this game for the Packers will be the health of Lacy. If Lacy can’t go, Starks did prove that he can shoulder the load if needed.
The Packers did what they needed to do to put the Redskins away early and were able to cruise to the important first victory. Next up for the Packers is a trip to Cincinnati to take on the Bengals. The Bengals will be coming off of a short week after playing the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday Night Football. This game against the Bengals will be the last of the Packers tough opening three game stretch and last game before their bye week. As long as they play like they did against the Redskins, that second victory could very well be there for the taking.