The past two weeks have been an absolute emotional rollercoaster for Packers fans everywhere. From Aaron Rodgers getting injured to a scorching tie against the Minnesota Vikings, this has been a tense few games. After a performance against the Vikings that was encouraging on both sides of the ball, that sort of effort was nowhere to be found this week, especially at the beginning of the game. Here are three takeaways from the Packers’ first loss of the season against the Washington Redskins.

 

1) The Packers came out FLAT

As it has seemed to happen with Mike McCarthy’s football teams, instead of coming out guns-a-blazing and ready to roll, it looked like the players had no spark to their game. Similar to Ha Ha Clinton Dix’s performance in the last regular season game last season against the Lions (he just didn’t care), it felt like that but for the entire first half for the Packers. Not that they didn’t care, but they just got steamrolled from the get-go. Giving up a huge touchdown pass on the first drive of the game is not how the Packers wanted to start the game and almost felt like Dom Capers had taken over as defensive coordinator. If the Packers are going to win games in the future, they need to come out fast-paced and ready to go.


2) Penalties and mistakes have no place in a winning formula

Another football game, another egregious penalty on Packers OLB Clay Matthews. The NFL has some serious issues with hitting the quarterback, and nobody really understands the proper technique anymore. After Aaron Rodgers got hurt last season on a hit from Anthony Barr, the NFL is taking the initiative to protect the QB, and it has gone too far. After the game, Matthews said: “Unfortunately this league’s going in a direction I think a lot of people don’t like. I think they’re getting soft,” Matthews said. “The only thing hard about this league is the fines they levy down on guys like me who play the game hard.” This sort of play happened last week, where Clay Matthews’ tackle on Vikings QB Kirk Cousins was flagged for roughing the passer and everyone went nuts. This is going to happen again on a weekly basis. This QB/roughing the passer controversy is far from over and unfortunate for the Packers, they have been hit hardest with it.


Holding calls on the Packers’ secondary needs to stop. Whether or not the secondary is playing well is beside the point here, they made mistakes that are inexcusable for a defense that is trying to hold QB Alex Smith and familiar foe RB Adrian Peterson in check. The Redskins offense has many different weapons, and the Packers saw that in week 3. The Packers’ secondary had three defensive pass interference calls called against them on one drive, allowing the Redskins offense to march all the way down the field with ease. These sort of mistakes must be fixed, and quickly.

Randall Cobb had one of if not the worst performance of his professional football career. Dropping passes and having balls stripped from him are cardinal sins of being a wide receiver. Cobb has been inconsistent the past few games. If he wants to keep his star role with the Packers, he will need to simply take care of the football. If he keeps that up, Geronimo Allison will be WR2 and expect rookie WR’s Marquez Valdez Scantling, and J’Mon Moore to get some playing time.

3) In a sloppy loss, there are still some positives

Undrafted wide receiver Geronimo Allison continues to shine in his role as the second wide receiver for the Packers. He showed his speed on a Jordy Nelson-esque play, scoring on a 64-yard touchdown pass from QB Aaron Rodgers. From G’mo’s punt block to his speedy touchdowns, he his carving himself a bright future with Green Bay Packers, let’s hope he continues to contribute.

The Packers got a spark plug back in their offense in Aaron Jones. After serving his two-game suspension for substance abuse, Jones rushed for 42 yards on only 6 carries. Why the Packers didn’t turn to Jones more is surprising, but it could have been the fact that they were playing from behind right off the bat and didn’t want to sacrifice time on the ground.

He may be gimpy and he may have had a few poor throws, but Packers future Hall of Fame QB Aaron Rodgers escaped with no further known injury. There was some speculation that he pulled his right hamstring, but he came out and said after the game that he did not, in fact, injure his right leg. The Packers are going to need Rodgers to play well going forward, and its not just his physicality that they depend on but it is the stuff that he sees at the line of scrimmage as well.

 

The Packers host the bills next week at home, and after a blowout win against the Vikings, the Bills will be ready for more. In order for the Packers to win next week, they will need all hands on deck.

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