Packers 38, Redskins 20: Game Balls and Lame Calls All Green Bay Packers All the Time
Randall Cobb helped Aaron Rodgers tie Matt Flynn's franchise record of 480 passing yards.
Randall Cobb helped Aaron Rodgers tie Matt Flynn’s franchise record of 480 passing yards.

After suffering a close loss to the San Francisco 49ers on opening day, the Green Bay Packers bounced back with a dominant performance against the Washington Redskins in Week 2.

Aaron Rodgers tied a franchise record with 480 passing yards, and James Starks went over 100 rushing yards filling in for a concussed Eddie Lacy. Prior to Sunday, the Packers had never had a 400-yard passer and a 100-yard rusher in the same game.

In front of a new Lambeau Field attendance record of 78,020, the game began under sloppy conditions. Lacy suffered a concussion on his first carry of the game when Redskins forcefully led with the crown of his helmet.

But the guy who many considered to be as good as gone following the draft (Starks) filled in admirably, racking up 168 total yards on 24 touches.

Pushed by Lacy and fellow rookie Johnathan Franklin, Starks had likely his best training camp as a professional. But Starks, an athletic guy, always looks good in practice. For him, it’s just a matter of staying on the field.

It will be interesting to see how Starks’ big day plays into the running back rotation–if there is one.

I’m making it a rule that I can’t give out more than five Game Balls. And before criticizing me for being too nice and handing out the maximum, just remember that the Packers dominated this game. There was far more good than bad–at least from the Packers’ end.

Game Balls

Mike McCarthy

Anytime an offense threatens the 600-yard mark in total offense, the play-caller deserves a lot of credit. Despite losing his lead back early, McCarthy stayed loyal to the ground game, allowing Starks to crack 100 yards.

But McCarthy is what he is; he loves to throw the football. And as long as the Packers have Rodgers at the helm, they’ll throw the football plenty. The offense was phenomenal against Washington, and McCarthy was the man calling the shots.

Aaron Rodgers

In case anyone forgot, Rodgers is still the best quarterback in football. Last week, Rodgers was almost flawless against the best defense in the NFL, and this week, he was about as close to perfect as a mortal can be, especially when targeting James Jones and Randall Cobb.

According to Zach Kruse via Twitter, Rodgers was 20-of-22 for 306 yards when throwing to Jones and Cobb. What more can be said? The guy is really, really good.

James Starks

Not since the days of Packers legend Brandon Jackson in 2010 had a Green Bay running back went over 100 yards on the ground in the regular season. Starks was the last Packers runner to eclipse the century mark, rushing for over 100 yards against the Philadelphia in the playoffs later that season.

On Sunday, Starks wasted no time getting up field, gaining yards in chunks. His 32-yard touchdown run in the third quarter was something most Packers fans may have forgotten was even possible, and Starks may have earned himself some playing time with his performance against Washington.

James Jones

After not catching a single pass against the San Francisco 49ers, he caught a career-high 11 passes for 178 yards against the Redskins. Jones was simply too physical for Washington’s undersized cornerbacks, and his physicality was clearly a focal point of the Packers’ game plan.

Following the game, Jones told reporters he wasn’t worried about being shut out in the season opener. “One game, zero catches means nothing,” Jones said, according to “It’s a long season. Our quarterback is trying to get everybody the ball. He’s trying to win, we’re trying to win. You’re going to have days like this, you’re going to have days like that.” Jones gets it.

Dom Capers

Someone on the Packers defense deserves a game ball. Dom Capers’ crew held the Redskins scoreless for nearly three quarters of action; despite the fact that Robert Griffin III is still not at 100 percent, the Redskins still have plenty of offensive weapons around him.

But it wasn’t until garbage time that Griffin really started to move the ball down the field with ease. At the end of the day, Griffin had thrown for more than 300 yards and three scores, but those numbers are not indicative of how the Packers’ defense performed. Capers put together a solid game plan and gave his guys something to build on moving forward.

Lame Calls

Brandon Meriweather’s helmet

You can’t say someone deserves a concussion without sounding like a complete idiot. And while Meriweather may not have deserved a head injury when he struck James Starks with the crown of his helmet, he needed a reminder that he’s putting himself in harm’s way with the way he had been playing.

Basically, what I’m saying is exactly what Jason Wilde tweeted following Meriweather’s hit on Starks.

Earlier in the game, Meriweather was responsible for knocking Packers running back Eddie Lacy out of the game with a concussion. This is not a new thing for Meriweather; he’s a head hunter. And in the present-day NFL, it’s going to be tough for him to stay on the field and/or keep his entire paycheck if he continues to play this way.

First-quarter pass protection

Green Bay’s offense was golden throughout the afternoon, except for the first-quarter offensive line play. Rodgers was sacked on consecutive plays in the first quarter; at one point, he was sacked on three of four offensive snaps.

Had the pass protection not improved, the Packers would have struggled to win the game and/or put up 580 yards of offense. But following the first quarter, Don Barclay and Co. improved and the Packers won the game behind an offensive explosion.

Robert Griffin III’s final stat line

For someone who didn’t watch the game and will simply skim the box score in the morning, he or she would likely assume RG3 had his way with the Packers’ defense. But despite throwing for over 300 yards and three scores, Griffin and the Washington offense was shut out by the Green Bay defense for nearly three quarters.

When one team (Green Bay) builds a big lead, adjustments are made to the defensive scheme, which allows the other team (Washington) to put up some numbers in “garbage time.” Although RG3 hasn’t looked like himself through two games, his numbers don’t look all that bad. After two weeks, 2013 Robert Griffin III looks a lot like 2012 Carson Palmer.

Green Bay weather at kickoff

It wasn’t fun to be standing around in Green Bay prior to kickoff; it was cold and rainy. But at the same time, it felt like football. And this is Wisconsin, where weather is always a thing.

Indoors, the weather was just fine. And outdoors in the poor conditions, the Packers seemed to be unfazed.


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Marques is a Journalism student, serving as the Sports Editor of UW-Green Bay\'s campus newspaper The Fourth Estate and a Packers writer at Jersey Al\'s Follow Marques on Twitter @MJEversoll.


36 thoughts on “Packers 38, Redskins 20: Game Balls and Lame Calls

  1. A pretty good weekend for ‘Sconni sports.

    Packers kick @$$ and take names.

    Matt wins at Chicagoland.

    Stricker in 2nd place at the BMW.

    Brewers – ooops, who cares.

    Bucky wins game at ASU if they don’t get jobbed by the zebras.

  2. Off topic:

    The 49ers were manhandled on both sides of the ball. The Seahawks looked very solid.

    Just checked the schedule and the Seahawks not on it. That’s the good news out of this game.

    The Seahawks set a noise record; 131.9 decibels. That’s for all sporting events not just football – see below. 130.0 is the threshold of pain. Love to have a hearing aid business in Seattle.

    1. The Seahawks are a beast at home. They fly all over the field and play with reckless abandon. That said, they’re not the same team on the road. The fact that they handled SF last night isn’t super shocking (was I the only one smiling a little at that “What in the wide-wide-world-o-sports is a-goin on here?” look on Kaepernick’s face?) but it does give them a leg up in their divisional race…and probably a 1 seed.

    2. This game proved that Anquan Boldin, with solid defensive coverage, as slow as he is, can be held to seven yards and one reception. He is at best, an average receiver, not All-Pro, like our secondary made him out to be.
      Seattle appears to be the team with the superior defense, not the 49’whiners…

  3. At long last, MM was aggressive on 1st down.

    At long last, Capers mixed up personnel and defensive packages to defend BOTH the run and pass.

    My man Starks came through!

    Here’s hoping a quick recovery for Eddie Lacy. We want to see Eddie get a big game and to have a real two headed monster at RB.

    Boo to TT for cutting Vontae Leach and refusing to give a 3rd rd pick for Marshawn Lynch.

    Best QB on planet = #12. AROD.

    Nelson, Cobb, Jones and Finley = effective quartet, especially when Pack has credible run threat to play off of.

    Good day to be a Packer fan.

    Game at CINCY will be difference between 1-2 and 2-1 start. That makes it a real biggie.

    Good decision to let Burnett rest. Target him and Hayward for post-bye returns = 100% healthy. By then Pack will know what they have at S. I expect to see Pack to move a S and WR/Returner during the bye week.

    1. When you throw the ball like ARod did yesterday, I think the OL would generate holes big enough for people like us to average 5 YPC.

      As long as ARod is under center the Packers will be a “throw to run” team. Yesterday was a prime example of it.

      1. Yeah, throw to run and run to throw. Mix it up. Generally loved the mix of plays. So much better than the ineffectual first down runs we’ve gotten used to seeing. Here’s hoping MM keeps it up. The team was a lot of fun to watch yesterday.

  4. Can’t agree more with the lame call on Merriweather, there should hve been flags on both plays. The dude is a known head hunter, been fine before for it. He should have been flagged for the Lacy hit. He not only lead with his helmet, but he launched himself. The Stark’s hit he lead with helmet again. He’ll get fined for at least the Lacy hit, a flag doesn’t need to be thrown for the NFL to fine a player for dirty play. That’s the case with Merriweather with several priors for head hunting. Packer/Badger fans should know better than anyone, that the Refs miss most calls anyways!

  5. The only things I’m worried about are the poor tackling and relative lack of pressure on the other QB.

    But it’s early yet. These things can be fixed. And we’ll be getting Hayward and Burnett back soon. Woohoo!

    Off topic: I felt dirty, but I was rooting for the Vikings yesterday. This definitely has the feel of a Bears year that everything goes their way and they somehow wrangle up 10 wins even though they are decidedly mediocre. Looking forward to slaughtering them in week 7.

    1. Criticize the Bears, they found a way to win again, and against two playoff-quality teams in the first two weeks. Tim Jennings is All-Pro and they create big turnovers. ‘Decidedly mediocre’ I think not.

      1. What’s the saying that will pop up from analysts week after week? “You are what your record says you are.”

        Right now the Bears are 2-0, and if people don’t want to give them credit for beating the Vikes (a playoff team a year ago) then the Packers get no credit for beating Washington.

        The Bears are doing what good teams do: they’re winning at home. If the Cinci game or Vikes game had been played on the road, the outcomes might have been meaningfully different. Doesn’t change the fact that they won one game against a very good opponent (Cinci) and one against a 2012 playoff team.

        1. Vikings suck, Lions suck and Bears Still Suck. We’ll win the division again this year and it won’t be close. None of these other teams pass the sniff test.

    2. Hey Bearmeat, I was a little concerned too until I thought of WHO they were playing. Both QB’s tend to takeoff so I think it was still a more controlled rush, not as much as last week but still controlled. Each game they didn’t allow the QB to get around the corner and run. The sacks will come.

  6. I agree that RG3’s final stat line is a lame call. Shanahan was asking the Packers to run up the score. I am glad that MM showed more class than that.

    1. Right about that Mark and that last drive was beautiful. M.M. and Rodgers showed Shanahan that they’ll turn it on when ever they want. They used the passing game to get to the two minute warning, and flew down field to the red zone showing the Skins who they were F’ing with!

  7. How about some LOVE for the offense line which made enough progress during the game for the offense to operate as we would like to see it operate… I thought that CB Shields had a good game… I like the new kickoff scheme which does not give away field position.

  8. “It will be interesting to see how Starks’ big day plays into the running back rotation–if there is one.”

    He certainly said all the right things in post-game comments. I would not be surprised if Lacy sits next week, even if he’s able to play. Get him a bye on top of a week off and he’ll be better for it in the long run.

  9. Wouldn’t surprise me if MM held Burnett and Lacy out till after the BYE.

    Game @CINCY is the real deal for me i.e., if the Pack wins that one I’m officially on the GBP Super Bowl bandwagon. How CINCY lost to Bears comeback on opening day is a stunner. I see them annihilating the Steelers tonight and ready to make war with the Pack next Sunday. Packers better bring their A game. Dalton has weapons galore and a mighty good defense. Pack @Cincy is befitting of pre-Bye week. 2-1 and coming back healthy sounds mighty good to me.

    1. A win or a loss isn’t the true indicator. The GB O-line is the big question this year. The GB pass defense is the junior question. Early indications show GB’s run defense has improved noticeably. But the other two factors have not.

      The Packers destroyed a bad Redskins team at home. That was fun to watch. But the team which manhandled GB in week 1 was manhandled on the road Sunday night. Seattle’s O-line held off SF’s “best in the league” defense and its defense showed that Dom Capers’ “perfect” defensive game planning, wasn’t.

      look to see if there are a pair of Cincy pass rushers in Rodger’s face 2 seconds after the snap on most pass attempts. That is what we saw in SF. It’s not the number of sacks so much it is how fast the pocket collapses on a routine basis. If Cincy’s pass rush proves to be as disruptive as SF’s on opening day, think twice before paying for a SB hotel room.

      I feel annoyed this year because I feel I am watching a rerun of 2012 and 2o11. A great QB on a talented team is undercut by a terrible O-line and an under-performing defense. The run defense does seem better. But if we see Cincy gash the Packers’s pass defense on week 3, the signs for yeat another re-run in 2013 will be far too strong for my taste.

      A win or a loss isn’t the best indicator IMO. It’s these two phases of the game which will tell the tale.

      1. “But the team which manhandled GB in week 1 was manhandled on the road Sunday night. Seattle’s O-line held off SF’s “best in the league” defense and its defense showed that Dom Capers’ “perfect” defensive game planning, wasn’t.”

        You mean that Seattle team that barely beat a very pedestrian Carolina team on the road last week? The key for Seattle is winning their road games…they just won their hardest home contest.

        And you’re also talking about a Seattle OL that gave up 4 sacks, allowed Wilson to be hurried and flushed regularly (only a couple of those 10 carries by Wilson were designed runs), and only managed 3.7 YPC (a number that wasn’t good enough for the Packers a year ago?).

        If you compare the two games, the Packers OL didn’t fare much differently than Seattle’s did against the Niners…and Seattle had the benefit of doing it at home.

        I don’t think anyone here said Capers game planning was perfect, but we’ll see what the story is when Seattle–a very different team on the road–plays in SF later in the season.

      2. …a W or L is the ONLY meaningful indicator. There’s no columns in the standings for moral victories or close calls.

          1. This is the concept I was after. No so much moral victories but watching the matchup performance of key elements to team success.

            And to be clear I agree with the general power rankings which have GB around 7th in the league (or at least last time I looked). That is they are a good team, but not one of the 3-4 top teams that more often than not play in the SB.

            I’m seeing a reply of 2011 and 2012. It’s killing me to watch a great QB like Rodgers put in danger game after game by a bad O-line. If events prove me wrong no one will be happier to be proven wrong than I will.

      3. What game did you watch last week? The packers HAVEN’T been manhandled once this year. I can’t wait to play them again with Lacy having some experience, and Burnett, and Hayward on the field this time. That’s a huge difference. Anytime you have Bush playing DB you’re in trouble. Well that and blown calls by refs.

        1. “Manhandled” might be overstating the 49ers win over GB but the game was not nearly as close as the score. The 9ers pass rush took GB out of its normal offense. And we all know how often GB’s defense was gashed for big pass plays.

          Enirely forgotten on this fan site is the fact GB scored a TD with ~15 seconds left in the half and SF w/o timeouts. Yet the half ended with the a Hail Mary pass coming down in the end zone. Week Three 2012 should remind everyone how THAT can turn out.

          Any sports fan knows the final score can be deceptive. Week one was one of those weeks. Don’t take my word for it. Watch the game again. It will take you 35 minutes.

          Note how the Packers pass pocket collapses at about the same speed as a man can run. note how often that happens. Rodgers has 2 red shirts in his face on most every throw. GB was forced to go to snap-and-throws for 2-3 yards or intentional rollouts. That’s spells a big limitation on the full playbook.

          Cincy is supposed to have a big pass rush. If you see the GB pocket collapse in 2 seconds over and over, maybe K the T is onto something. If they hold off the rush maybe then I am full of it. But watching that will give you more insight into GB’s chances this year than just looking for a W or an L.

          1. “the game was not nearly as close as the score.” & “Any sports fan knows the final score can be deceptive. Week one was one of those weeks.”

            Really??? The Packers had the lead with six minutes left in the fourth quarter. This wasn’t the Washington game where the Redskins ran up a bunch of points in garbage time to make it look closer than it was. To say they were “manhandled” is ridiculous.

      4. Winning is the only indicator. I would rather win ugly than lose pretty. The stats are for the fantasy football leagues. By the way, the Redskins had only 6 first downs when the Packers were up 31- 0. Everything after that point is window dressing. Case Closed. Thanks, Since ’61

  10. Andrew Quarless needs a little love. He is starting to show in the run game what he was pre injury. DJ who?

  11. Finley physically looks like a completely different player than when he entered the league. As a rookie, he looked like a thoroughbred race horse, long in the leg and lean. Now, he looks like a cavalier’s warhorse, thick, sturdy and strong.

    I had read he bulked up over the off season, but he really looked the part on sunday. What a change. He’s on pace for a GREAT year, probably another record year for a Packers TE.

    If things keep on going the way they are for a number of our players, it’s going to be a very interesting and heart-breaking off season seeing who the Packers can keep and who they have to let walk. So many contracts are up.

  12. Just think what opposing see – Rodgers, Finley, Nelson, Cobb, Jones, Lacey and now Starks. I might be just a homer, but I don’t believe anybody else has that much firepower They’re going to be tough to slow down. Health holding out and If the defense and special teams can be just capable, not great, we are destined for a fun ride this year. Any hint of dominance from those groups, well, I want to stay tuned in. Look out bears, Vikings and lions

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