Do we really have to get used to this? It was another week, another beat down for the Packers when they took to the field this week in Washington. The team had a very slow start overall, but when the offense started picking it up, the defense decided to continue their four week “Mannequin Challenge” and let the Redskins do as they pleased in almost every drive. The return of Clay Matthews was supposed to help the defense and bring back that great pass rush they so desperately needed. The defense only had two sacks, and four tackles for the loss in the game. When they did get pressure, the Packers brought the house, which left the secondary in man-to-man coverage. Washington was licking their chops when that happened and took advantage of it every time. Big play after big play killed Green Bay all night and it costed them the game.
- Aaron Rodgers looked great despite a slow start. Rodgers finished with 351 passing yards, 3 touchdowns, 33 rushing yards, and a 115 passer rating. While he did miss a few throws here and there, it was questionable whether that was the wind having an impact or not. At the end of the day, he did his part in getting the offense to put up points and move the ball. He was getting everyone involved and even managed to throw a touchdown pass with his helmet halfway off.
- Jared Cook finally showed everyone what he came to Green Bay to do. Create mismatches and bring back that explosive tight end that Aaron Rodgers missed so much. The big guy had a team high six receptions for 105 yards and scored his first touchdown in a Packer uniform. Cook came up with some huge catches on third down and Rodgers was looking for him immediately on some plays. If the Packers want any chance at turning this around, Cook needs to be healthy and on the field making that difference every week from this point on.
- In a game where the defense looked like swiss cheese, Julius Peppers showed up for what he was worth. Peppers made a few big plays and even came up with a nice sack in the second half. Peppers also reminded everyone that he is a former basketball player when he got way up like Giannis Antetokounmpo to deflect one of Kirk Cousins’ passes.
Negatives (do we have enough room?)
- Well, we can just go ahead and start with the obvious. The Green Bay Packers have one of the worst defenses in the NFL. Injuries have hit this team HARD, but every team has them and still manages to put out a respectable unit. This defense is just bad. The corners (what’s left of them anyway) can not cover anyone, and the linebackers can not cover anyone either. Haha Clinton-Dix and Morgan Burnett can only offer so much help over the top and can’t be everywhere on the field at once.
- Dom Capers just doesn’t seem to know how to adjust. From the second quarter on, the Redskins shredded the Packers defense up every way possible and the team just looked silly. Despite having plenty of evidence to show his corners can’t play man coverage to save their lives, Capers continued to have them in man during the game’s biggest plays. There still is little to no pass rush, and when there is it’s too late and someone ends up roughing the passer anyway. The defense has allowed 153 points in the last four games alone. Something has to change before it is too late.
- If you want a simple answer to give on where the Packers lost the game, it would be third down defense. Washington was 9/14 on third downs and had multiple 40 plus yard plays on third and long. This comes back to Capers running man coverage and bringing the house on these plays to try and manufacture a pass rush. I understand trying it once and getting burned, but to keep trying it over and over in big spots just killed the game. Green Bay managed to get the game down to six points twice in the fourth quarter however, both times that happened the defense allowed a 70 yard pass, and a 53 yard pass in the following drives. Green Bay just couldn’t get off of the field and you’re not going to win any games when that happens.
- If you see Jordy Nelson, please return him to Lambeau Field so the Packers can have him back and making plays. Oh wait? Im being told he in fact was at the game Sunday night and actually was on the field. In all seriousness, besides his touchdown reception in the first half, Jordy was nowhere to be found during the game. Davante Adams didn’t have a huge game either, but he was out there making plays and getting open. For another week, Nelson seems to be having trouble creating separation and cant get open for those big plays we used to see before his ACL injury last preseason.
- Jeff Janis made yet another idiotic play this week and it put the Packers in a tough spot when the last thing they needed was another setback. Patience is growing thin with Janis already and making mistakes like that is not going to help his cause.
The Packers now head back home for the week as they get prepared for a Monday night matchup against Carson Wentz and the Philadelphia Eagles. Philly is another team that can have an explosive offense at times which means the defense will likely be in for a lot of chasing guys like they were in Washington. Rodgers and company are going to have to bring their A game with no slow starts if the Packers want any chance at victory to keep the playoff hopes alive.