The Green Bay Packers rebounded nicely from the defeat last week in San Francisco. On the 57th home opener at Lambeau Field, the Packers trounced the Washington Redskins by a score of 38 – 20. The game drew an all-time Lambeau attendance record, as 78,020 patrons headed through the gates. The newly expanded south end zone addition now provides more seats for more Cheeseheads, which is a good thing.
Aaron Rodgers got it going early and had one of the better games of his career. By halftime, the Packers’ offense had exploded to a 24 – 0 lead. The Packer defense also played well in the first half although it was quite obvious that Redskin quarterback Robert Griffin III was not performing as he did last year, before he injured his knee. He played this game with a knee brace. The Redskins abandoned all their “read-option” plays that Griffin used to execute so well. Griffin is a once-in-a-decade talent who methinks should not be playing until his knee is completely healed.
But this game was about what the Packers could do offensively, and they are a very capable group when hitting on all cylinders. Randall Cobb, Jordy Nelson and Jermichael Finley all had receiving touchdowns in the first half, and James Jones would have had one had he not fumbled in the end zone. Rodgers set a Packer record for most yards passing in a half. In the second half, the Packers opened up a 31 – 0 lead when Nelson caught his second touchdown pass on the day. Running back James Starks also had a big day, running for over 130 yards and a touchdown. This was the first game in a long, long time where a Packer running back exceeded 100 yards in a regular season game.
With the outcome in hand, the Packers’ offensive play selection got too conservative and the Packer defense got sloppy, which allowed the Redskins to tighten up the score. However, when all was said and done, the Packers racked up almost 600 yards of total offense and had given their loyal fans a decisive win and a great home opener.
Rodgers was spectacular. Rodgers’ combination of throwing accuracy and quick release is only exceeded by his intelligence at reading defenses. Coach Mike McCarthy likes to use the hurry-up offense. Not all quarterbacks have the knowledge of the game and intelligence to orchestrate the hurry-up offense. Rodgers excels at it. In this game, Rodgers picked apart the Redskin defense with a variety of throws, many of which were of the quick-hitting type which Rodgers calls “inside leverage routes.” Whatever throws are called for, Rodgers can deliver. There is a reason why he is the highest paid player in the NFL.
Next week the Pack travel to Cincinnati where they will face a pretty good Bengals team. Morgan Burnett and Casey Hayward did not suit up again for the Redskins game. Let’s hope that one or both of them can return next week as the Packer defensive secondary is shaky without them, and the Bengals have a very good receiver in A. J. Green. Rookie tight end Tyler Eifert is another good target for Bengals’ quarterback Andy Dalton. Once referred to as the Cincinnati “Bungles,” they are no longer deserving of that moniker. The Packers have their bye week following the Bengals game and it would be much more desirable to be 2 – 1 going into the bye week rather than 1 – 2.