The Green Bay Packers laid the wood to the Washington Redskins NFL football team 38-20 in the Packers home opener at Lambeau Field today. The game was not as close as the final score would indicate. The Packers led 24-0 at halftime. By then QB Aaron Rodgers had rung up 335 yards and three TDs.
This game was a fun one to watch for Packers fans. It featured the first 100-plus yard rushing performance in what seems like forever (45 games) by RB James Starks. Aaron Rodgers tied the Packers club record for passing with 480 yards. WRs James Jones and Randall “Cobbernicus” Cobb combined for 306 of those yards. WR Jordy Nelson caught two TDs.
The defense pitched a shutout in the first half and played bend-but-don’t-break football in the second half. They gave up a grand total of 1 yard to the vaunted running quarterback RG III. There were big defensive plays all over the field today. Make no mistake…Washington moved the ball but was never a threat to score enough points to beat Green Bay today.
Like I always say…it’s more fun to write about a win than a loss. That said, it’s even more fun to write about a blowout win!
Here are my Chest Bumps and Thumps from the Washington – Packers game:
Chest Bump- to James Jones. Jones, as I predicted before the game, had a monster effort against Washington. His YAC were fantabulous and he made tough catches, finesse catches, and catches in traffic all over the field today. His only gaffe was the fumble through the corner of the end zone nearing the end of the first half which resulted in a touchback. But it was an effort play and in the final analysis I can’t gig him too hard for it. Nice job 89! We see you now.
Thump- to the Packers O line. This was kind of an up and down game for the O line. I thought they were trying to get Rodgers killed a couple of times in the first half, allowing consecutive sacks and in general not getting much done in pass pro. They ended up allowing four total sacks, which is four too many. However, they did open up some nice holes for Starks to chug through and they somehow managed to give 12 enough time to light up Washington for 480 yards. Uneven performances are substandard on this team though. They need to tighten things up. It’s still early, and they haven’t played together for long. I expect their performances to improve week to week all season long.
Chest Bump- to Aaron Rodgers. While scrambling for his life Aaron put those 480 yards on Washington. He also did a great job of handling wet footballs and adapting to the change from Lacy to Starks without missing a beat. 12 is the best QB in the league. Bar none. Performances like his today bear that out. Did it look to any of you like Rodgers was putting numbers like that up? It sure didn’t to me. I won’t use effortless to describe it, but I could. This just in: Aaron Rodgers is very very good. Let’s keep him upright please.
Thump- to Washington S Brandon Merriweather. Merriweather was involved in two egregious helmet-to- helmet hits against Packers players. The first was a straight up helmet-to-helmet spearing of Packers RB Eddie Lacy delivered early in the game during the first Packers possession. When Lacy was hit he was already in the grasp and the hit was not only completely against NFL rules, it was completely unnecessary. It made me hopping mad, and a lot of the fans of other teams around us where we watched the game thought the same thing. Reprehensible. Did he show any concern for Lacy as he lay there wondering where he was? Not at all. The hit knocked Lacy out of the game with a concussion. Did the officials flag Merriweather’s hit? Of course not. Will Merriweather be fined for it? He’d better be!
Then, during the Packers first possession of the second quarter, James Starks was targeted by Merriweather for exactly the same kind of illegal helmet-to-helmet hit. Starks had taken a handoff on a 2nd and 4 play, turned the corner, and was running down the sideline when Merriweather launched himself directly at Starks’ helmet. But Starks was prepared, lowered his own pads and helmet, and it was Merriweather who ended up flat and still on the Packers sideline instead of Starks. The hit could have knocked Starks out of the game with a concussion, but it did not. It knocked Merriweather out of the game. No better illustration of the power of karma has ever been seen. Did the officials flag Merriweather’s hit? Of course not. Will Merriweather be fined for it (even though he was the one who ended up concussed)? He’d better be!
Chest Bump- to the entire Packers sideline. Immediately after Merriweather went limp in mid-air and landed face down on the Packers sideline, Packers trainers were checking him out and waving Washington medical personnel over. Packers players and coaches stood vigil while Merriweather laid there, obviously concerned about him. When he eventually got to his feet, Packers players and coaches applauded and showed their concern for him. He was marched directly off the field and as far as I know didn’t come out of the locker room after that. The Packers again showed that they are not only one of the best teams in the league, they are the classiest. Nobody stood over Merriweather and applauded the fact that he was down…even though he had already put one Packers player out of at least the rest of this game. They’re classier than me. At the time I tweeted “I hope he’s not dead but I don’t care if he’s out.” Does that make me a bad person?
Thump- to the officials. See how all this ties together? At least two completely obvious and illegal helmet-to-helmet hits were made by Merriweather. No flags came out for either one of them. So the NFL wants to outlaw these hits, but I guess the zebras didn’t get the message. There were a bunch of other obvious holds, facemasks, and blocks in the back that didn’t get called…almost all of them would have been against Washington. Case in point: I saw a run play where a blocker had both arms around Clay Matthews’ waist from behind like he was being measured for a cummerbund. In what universe is that not a hold?
Chest Bump- to James Starks. 44 did a great job today. When he was called upon to replace Eddie Lacy he did not disappoint. He had 132 yards rushing, a 32 yard touchdown run to make him the first Packers RB to go over 100 yards since Brandon Jackson did it 45 games ago, 36 receiving yards, and obviously he had a harder head than Merriweather. In all honesty I was not surprised when Starks had to come in. He earned a spot on this roster by being capable of doing what he did today. He definitely earned his keep.
Chest Bump- to Mike Neal. Neal seems to be growing into his hybrid DE / LB position nicely. He made the most of his limited opportunities today, picking up two tackles and picking off RG III when he caught a pass tipped by the intended receiver. Nice play and nice effort 96!
Chest Bump- to Davon House. House has been lit up in pass defense plenty but in this game he played much better D and also had a sack of RG III. He also had two tackles in run support and in general played his best game of his career. He’ll need to maintain that effort level while the defensive backfield waits for injured players to get healthy, but he has shown that he is not necessarily the liability he appeared to be in previous games.
Chest Bump- to Jordy Nelson. Jordy contributed “just” three catches for 66 yards, but two of them were touchdowns. Actually three of them were touchdowns but one was called back for a holding call on Bakhtiari. Nice early season job by Nelson. Hopefully he can stay healthy and keep making defensive backs shake their heads and kick at the dirt like he did today.
Chest Bump- to Randall Cobb. Cobbernicus had another monster day today. He hauled in nine catches for 128 yards, none of them more important than the late first quarter touchdown pass on 4th down and 3 to make it 10-0 Packers. Cobb made it look easy. He and the rest of the receivers made some very nice YAC. A bunch of those 480 yards Rodgers put up were after catch yards. Well done 18!
Thump- to Washington LS Nick Sundberg. I don’t pretend to be a stat memory machine. I’m not that guy. Not at all. But I can’t remember ever seeing a long snapper getting called for two penalties in one game before, let alone on the same play. But Sundberg did just that. On the first play of the second quarter, Sundberg was called for both unnecessary roughness during the punt itself and then defensive holding during the fair catch by Cobb of that same punt. Of course both penalties were not enforced, but the unnecessary roughness was enforced and the drive eventually resulted in the first of Nelson’s TDs. File that one away fans…you might not ever see it again.
Lambeau Field looked simply awesome for this game today…NBA player Kevin Durant, who was on the sidelines with Washington, tweeted the following late in the game: I Love my skins!! Win or lose. Being at Lambeau for the game was one of the best experiences ever! Green Bay is a legendary town! #respect…My son and I were at our usual hangout watching the game today and my predictions about what that would be like were exactly right…I heard that local coverage in some of the game in some regions shifted away late to the Dallas at Kansas City game, which would suck for Packers fans…the wet weather didn’t seem to affect either team at all today…Sam Shields had his hands on two passes he could have picked off…at one point the Fox cameras showed a shot of Washington D Coord Haslett, showing him to be both stymied and shell shocked…Fox also treated the audience to a close up / slow motion shot of Shanahan saying something he probably shouldn’t have said but all I can tell you is he could use some work on those lower teeth…I didn’t think the last Washington TD pass that was reviewed was a TD catch. Moss didn’t have control of the ball until it hit his thigh, and by then his first foot was off the ground. Both hands on it yes…control…no.
With regard to the Fearsome Predictions I made prior to the game, I can honestly say once again I nailed more of them than I missed. See for yourself. OK…so I had Lacy with the yards on the ground and not Starks, but anybody could have missed that one. I even nailed the Packers points total…for the first time ever. Watch out readers. You can’t stop me from making Fearsome Predictions. You can only hope to contain me.
The 2013 Green Bay Packers are now 1-1 after their first two games. With Cincinnati coming up they have an opportunity to get a second win in a row and put themselves at 2-1 going into their very early season bye week. Against Washington they showed what they can accomplish even when they don’t play their best defensive football and don’t have all of their best defensive backs. They need to go into Cincy and come away with a win, get some injured players back during the bye week, then come out strong for the push toward Super Bowl XVIII.
Go Pack GO!
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