The Green Bay Packers lost in overtime Sunday to the Washington Redskins by a score of 16 – 13. It was a loss that might factor mightily in the Packers’ once-promising season as the Packers continue to self-destruct and now the injury bug has bitten really hard.
The Packers started the game with a fumble. A leg injury to Jermichael Finley on the same play set the tone. But a swarming Packer defense, led by Clay Matthews, held the Redskins at bay. On the Packers’ next drive, Brandon Jackson scampered 71 yards setting up a short touchdown pass. Tramon Williams’ 52-yard punt return later set up a long field goal and the Pack took an early 10 – 0 lead. That was about the end of the good news in this game as the injuries mounted and the Packers’ fortunes turned south.
The Packers’ highly-touted offense couldn’t generate any traction throughout. Converting only 2 of 13 third down attempts will not win many NFL games, especially on the road.
Mike McCarthy planned to get the offense to the line of scrimmage sooner than they normally do Sunday, but the up tempo change-up seemed to mess up the Packers’ timing more than surprise the Redskins. Packer receivers dropped numerous balls and when the aerial game isn’t clicking, the Packer offense is in trouble. The Packers’ game plan to throw so much actually creates opportunities when they do run the ball, but the loss of Finley threw that plan off kilter. Greg Jennings has not been making plays the last two games for whatever reason and Donald Driver’s four dropped balls were totally out of context.
The Packer defense began to melt as the game developed and injuries took their toll. When Clay Matthews tweaked his hamstring in the second half, the Redskins took full advantage and pulled to a 13 – 13 tie with but a minute left on the clock. Rodgers and company got the ball into field goal range, but Mason Crosby doinked the winning field goal attempt off the left upright forcing the game into overtime. The offense couldn’t get the job done in overtime and an interception by Rodgers allowed for the Redskins to prevail.
As this season progresses, it is becoming apparent that if the 2010 Packers are to have a championship season a number of the still-healthy players are going to have to step up their efforts and numerous back-up players are going to have to contribute in the wake of a rash of injuries. Rodgers suffered a concussion and several other players were dinged-up as well. Rodgers, Finley, and Matthews are arguably the Packers’ best three players. As I write this, the status of those guys is unknown for next week. The news is not good in Titletown right now.
Cheeseheads hope the Packers regroup against the Miami Dolphins next week at Lambeau. The Dolphins are coming off their bye week. For that reason alone the Dolphins will be a tough opponent, but the Packers have to worry now about redefining their identity as a team. With all these key injuries their season is in grave danger of spiraling downward.