The Green Bay Packers became football’s version of a buzzsaw Sunday, as a record crowd at Lambeau Field witnessed the offense tally 580 yards and the defense take a shutout bid deep into the third quarter during a comfortable 38-20 win over the Washington Redskins in Week 2.
It was over when…
…Jordy Nelson caught a 15-yard score from Aaron Rodgers that put the Packers up by 31 points early in the second half. But that’s only in theory. Green Bay kicked Washington in the teeth from the opening kickoff on, and the Redskins couldn’t muster much of a counter punch until the game’s outcome had already been decided. In reality, this one was over early.
- Aaron Rodgers: At times Sunday, Rodgers made playing the most difficult position in sports look so elementary. Only eight of his 42 attempts didn’t end in a completion, and his 480 passing yards tied Matt Flynn’s franchise record. Rodgers’ passer rating of 146.0 was his highest since Week 7 of 2011 (146.5 vs. Minnesota) and the third highest of his career. This was a master chef cooking up his finest meal.
- James Jones: After being shutout in San Francisco, Jones exploded for 11 catches and a career-high 178 yards Sunday. Being matched up on Redskins rookie David Amerson was borderline stealing for most of the afternoon, and Rodgers continued going back to the well time and time again. By the half, Jones had already set new career bests in catches and receiving yards.
- James Starks: Go figure. The same guy that looked on the brink of losing his roster spot in mid-August became the first Packers running back to rush for 100 yards since October 2010, a stretch of 45 games. Starks, who filled in for Eddie Lacy after the rookie left in the first quarter with a concussion, ran hard and decisively against an overmatched Redskins front. His burst was there, too. The roller coaster ride that is Starks’ NFL career took an unexpected upswing Sunday.
The Packers’ 580 yards of total offense was the most by Green Bay since 1962 (628 vs. Philadelphia), and the second-most in franchise history…For the first time in franchise history, the Packers had a 400-yard passer and 100-yard rusher. Rodgers went for 480 while Starks had 132…Green Bay had two receivers go over 100 yards for the second-straight week. Jones led the way with 178, and Randall Cobb chipped in 128. Overall, Rodgers was 20 of 22 for 306 yards and one score when targeting the duo Sunday…The Packers had 283 yards after the catch, the most in the NFL since 2007…Green Bay has now won 21 of its last 22 games at Lambeau Field…By catching a first-half score, Jermichael Finley matched his 2012 touchdown total. The Packers tight end had just two last season, but has two through two games in 2013…Finley’s 65 receiving yards moved him into second place in Packers history among tight ends. He passed Ron Kramer…By scoring 38 points, the Packers extended their franchise-record streak of home games with at least 22 points to 17. No other NFL team has a longer active streak…The Packers had 28 first downs over 70 plays, but went just 4-of-10 on third down.
– Defensive coordinator Dom Capers dialed up some first-half blitzes that were big factors in getting the Packers off the field on third down. I wrote earlier this week that the Packers needed to blitz Robert Griffin III, and the fruits of that theory were on display Sunday. It was a gutsy effort from the defense for the better part of three quarters.
– Jermichael Finley looks like a completely different player. He might not be the out-of-this-world, position-changing player he was late in 2009 and early in 2010, but Finley has put together an impressive start to this season. He’s been impossible to tackle and much better as a blocker.
– The young offensive tackle duo of David Bakhtiari and Don Barclay settled down nicely after a shaky start. Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan aren’t slouches, and they took advantage of the two tackles at times in the first half. But you don’t complete 81 percent of your passes for nearly 500 yards without pretty good protection up front.
– One week after battling field position all afternoon in San Francisco, the Packers turned the tables on Washington. Green Bay started six of its 11 drives at the 25-yard line or better. It might not have mattered with the defense Washington played Sunday, but no offense likes playing in the shadows of its own goalposts.
– Cobb, Jones, Finley and Jordy Nelson each had over 60 yards receiving. How do you realistically take away all four? There aren’t many quartets in football that can match the talent and production of Green Bay’s current group.
– The Packers travel to Cincinnati for a tricky Week 3 matchup next Sunday. The Bengals will be coming off the Monday night game, but this is a talented roster with difference makers all over the field. Getting to 2-1 will be a stiff test on the road.
Zach Kruse is a 25-year-old sports writer who contributes to Cheesehead TV, Bleacher Report and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He also covered prep sports for the Dunn Co. News. You can reach him on Twitter @zachkruse2 or by email at email@example.com.