Redskins blown out by Packers, fall to 0-2

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Updated: September 15, 2013
Packers celebrate

The Washington Redskins were dominated and demolished in front of a record crowd at Lambeau Field today, as QB Aaron Rodgers led the Green Bay Packers over Washington with one of the best days of his great career. The Packers jumped on Washington early and often and led 31-0 in the third quarter before the Redskins offense finally managed to cross the goal line. The final score was 38-20 as the Packers improved to 1-1 and the Redskins fell to a miserable 0-2. Only 12 percent of teams since 1990 have made the playoffs after starting 0-2.

The Redskins defense has now given up 1023 yards in its first two games of 2013. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, only the 1967 Atlanta Falcons defense gave up more yards in the first two games of a season. So Washington’s defense is historically awful.

The good news for the Redskins, if there was any, is that the Philadelphia Eagles lost 33-30 to the San Diego Chargers and the Dallas Cowboys lost 17-16 to Andy Reid and his Kansas City Chiefs. Both teams fall to 1-1. If the New York Giants lose to the Denver Broncos in the Manning Bowl this afternoon, the Redskins would be only one game out of first place despite playing the worst football this franchise has seen in many years.

Rodgers completed 34 of 42 passes for a franchise-record 480 yards and 4 TD, with no interceptions. Rodgers was brilliant from the start, easily dissecting a hapless Redskins defense that briefly got pressure on Rodgers early, but otherwise could do nothing. Washington couldn’t stop the run either, giving up 132 yards on only 20 attempts to James Starks, Green Bay’s backup running back. It was Green Bay’s first 100-yard rusher in 45 games. Starter Eddy Lacy was knocked out of the game with a concussion in the first quarter by SS Brandon Meriweather, who led with his head on the play and will likely be fined by the NFL. Ironically, not long after that Meriweather led with his helmet again, this time knocking himself out of the game. Meriweather was sprawled on the sideline grass for some minutes before finally rising to his feet and walking unsteadily off the field. Meriweather did not return due to concussion-like symptoms and he may be fined for that  hit, as well.

Meriweather was eventually diagnosed with a concussion and he did not speak to reporters after the game. It could be that he was not capable of speaking to reporters.

I am left to wonder if Brandon Meriweather‘s brief and seemingly-cursed career with the Redskins is over almost before it started. He’s hurt constantly and with this concussion, if a concussion it is, we may not see him on the field for some time. I’m inclined to see the Redskins just give him an injury settlement and move on.

The Packers took the opening kickoff and marched easily down the field, but the drive stalled in the red zone when OLB Ryan Kerrigan posted back-to-back sacks to force Green Bay to settle for a field goal. That was the last time Washington’s defense made its presence known in the game. The Packers scored  again in the first quarter on a 4th down 35-yard pass over the middle from Rodgers to lead 10-0 after one quarter. Rodgers added TD passes of 14 yards to Jordy Nelson and three yards to Jermichael Finley [covered both times by DeAngelo Hall] in the second quarter to push the Packers lead to 24-0 at halftime.

“We do get embarrassed,” a grim Mike Shanahan said in his postgame press conference. Washington’s offense has now been out-scored 50-0 in the first half of games in 2013, but the embarrassment would continue in the second half.

Jordy Nelson caught his second touchdown pass of the day, a 15-yarder from Rodgers that put Green Bay up 31-0 in the third quarter. Then, with the game essentially decided and the Packers defense in relax mode, Washington’s offense finally started moving the ball and putting points on the board. On their next possession, which started from the 17-yard-line, RB Alfred Morris ran left, broke a tackle and busted into the secondary for a 32-yard run to midfield. Morris followed that up with a 7-yard run and then RG3 hit Pierre Garcon for 14 yards to the Green Bay 30.

Griffin then hit TE Logan Paulsen for 7 yards and then Garcon again for 13 yards to get the ball to the 10-yard line. After a 4-yard scramble by RG3, Garcon caught a pass near the goalline on third down and was pushed out of bounds. The play was originally called out of bounds inside the one-yard line, with a fourth down coming up. However, the Redskins challenged the call and the replay showed Garcon had leaned forward with the ball and pushed it across the goalline before going out of bounds. The call was reversed and Washington had its first points of the game.

However, the Packers came back with their own drive, which ended when James Starks ran 32 yards over left tackle and through a couple of feeble Redskins defenders for another touchdown, expanding Green Bay’s lead to 38-7.

Washington began its next drive at the 20-yard line and got a few short gains before  a 15-yard penalty on Will Montgomery put Washington in 2nd and 29. Griffin threw a short screen pass to Morris, who bulled ahead for 17 yards to bring up 3rd and 12 as the third quarter ended.

Griffin opened the fourth quarter by hitting Garcon for 25 yards to Green Bay’s 44-yard line. Griffin hit Aldrick Robinson over the middle on the next play, but Robinson coughed the ball up at the 31-yard line. However, replay showed Robinson’s knee was clearly down before the ball came out so the Redskins had first down at the 31. Griffin then connected with Josh Morgan over the middle and Morgan lowered his shoulder and pushed forward to the 10-yard line for a 21-yard gain.

The next play was busted, as the entire offense went one way and Griffin went the other before being tackled for a 4-yard loss. Griffin completed short passes of five and six yards to bring up fourth down at the three yard line. With no choice but to go for it, Griffin dropped back and waited until rookie TE Jordan Reed got open over the middle of the end zone. Griffin threw a laser slightly behind Reed, who made a nice adjustment on the ball to reach back and pluck it out of the air. The rookie had his first NFL touchdown catch and the Redskins cut the lead to 38-14.

The Redskins stopped the Packers quickly and after a bad punt, got the ball back on the Green Bay 45 yard line. Griffin threw a short crossing pass to Santana Moss, who outran his man to the sideline for 19 yards to the Green Bay 26. Moss then caught a 13-yard pass to give Washington a first down at the 13 yard line. After Reed made a great catch on a bad Griffin pass for a 4-yard gain, Griffin threw to Moss deep in the far corner of the Packers’ end zone. The play was originally called incomplete because Moss made the catch, but only got one foot down. However, Shanahan challenged the call and it was reversed on replay, with the officials ruling Moss got his second foot in for a 9-yard TD reception. The score was 38-20.

The Redskins tried for a 2-point conversion, but instead of trying to set up the possibility of an RG3 run for it — as Kirk Cousins ran for it against the Ravens last season — Griffin threw a tough pass to Reed in the end zone that was deflected away and the conversion attempt failed. No more points were scored by either team, but the Packers did move the ball deep into Washington’s red zone before kneeling down to end the game.

“We know this isn’t who we are as a team, and we’re going to work to figure this out,” Griffin said to the media after the game.

It remains to be seen if Griffin is correct. Right now, though, the Redskins look like arguably the worst team in the NFL.