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Packers Suffer First Loss of the Season, Fall 31-17 to Redskins

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Packers Suffer First Loss of the Season, Fall 31-17 to Redskins

A win, a tie, and now a loss. After starting the season with a thrilling comeback in week one, a roller coaster of a game that ended in a tie in week two, the Packers (1-1-1, 1-0-1 NFC North) could not find their rhythm in week three, and fell to the Redskins (2-1, 0-0 NFC East) 31-17 at FedEx Field in Maryland Sunday afternoon.

In what was a rainy NFC matchup, Green Bay was shaky from start to finish. On the Redskins first drive, quarterback Alex Smith threw a 45-yard touchdown to Paul Richardson, exposing the Packer’s safety play right from the start. On the next defensive drive, there was three separate defensive pass interference penalties on Green Bay, which allowed Washington to easily move into Green Bay territory and make it 14-0 early. That was not the end for the penalties for Green Bay, per the FOX Broadcast, they racked up a total of 11 penalties throughout the afternoon, which ultimately accounted for 115 yards.

What we learned: We still don’t know what roughing the passer really is.

Another week, another controversial roughing the passer penalty on Clay Matthews. In the 3rd quarter, the linebacker broke through Washington’s offensive line and wrapped up Alex Smith for a sack on what would have been a huge stop for the Packers, but then the flag was thrown. It looked as though Matthews did everything he could to make a clean hit. You can clearly see him lift his hands after he makes the hit on Smith below. 

“As soon as I hit the ground you see me try and put my hands out. You know obviously when you tackle the guy from the front you’re going to land on him,” Matthews shared in a post-game interview with Josina Anderson. “You know, I don’t, I understand the spirit of the rule, I said that weeks prior, but when you have hits like that it’s a football play.”

What went right: Aaron Jones

Running back Aaron Jones made his season debut for the Packers Sunday after missing the first two games due to violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy and he did not disappoint. The 23-year-old was exciting to watch, and honestly, the Packers should have utilized him more than they did on Sunday. Jones was electric on each of his runs and seemed to bring a spark that was missing in the Packer’s run game the first two weeks of the season. According to ESPN, Jones averaged 7 yards on each carry and led the team in rushing for 42 yards on only 6 attempts. Jones also rushed for the longest carry on the day for 17 yards. With a lot of negatives that stuck out in Sunday’s loss, Jones’ play was something that Packer fans should be looking forward to after a strong showing last season.   

What went wrong: 1st Half Defense and Randall Cobb

Giving up 28 points in the first half to a team that only scored 9 points total at home last week is well, not good. The Green Bay defense struggled tremendously in the first half, especially with safety coverage.  With starting cornerback Kevin King ruled out with a groin injury, defensive coordinator Mike Pettine had to make some adjustments with coverage, but in the first half it looked as though nothing was working. In addition to coverage the Packers struggled to stop running back Adrian Peterson in the first half. The veteran running back looked like he was in his prime Sunday rushing for 120 yards on 19 carries for 2 touchdowns, according to ESPN. Luckily, the defense was able to make the correct adjustments at half, only allowing a field goal in the second half. Regardless, it is just simply unacceptable to give up that many points in one half, no matter who your quarterback is and how many points he and the offense may be able to put on the board on a good day. In addition to the poor play, the defense lost a valuable player in defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson, who was ruled out of the game, and taken to the hospital with an ankle injury according to the FOX Broadcast. 

In addition to the defense struggling, wide receiver Randall Cobb had an extremely rough day as well. Cobb dropped two very critical passes and then was stripped for a fumbled in the fourth quarter on what was a crucial drive for the Packers to try and stay in the game.

Offensive Player of the Game: Aaron Rodgers

Despite a little bit of a slower start for 12, Aaron Rodgers continued to play well through his knee injury in week three. You could clearly see him struggling to be mobile at times, skipping when he ran out of the pocket and gingerly getting up when he was hit, but that did not matter. According to ESPN, Rodgers threw for 265 yards and 2 touchdowns with about a 62% competition rate. He found wide receiver Geronimo Allison, who has also proved his consistency for Green Bay this season, for an impressive 64-yard touchdown in the first half.

Rodgers’ toughness has shown the last three weeks, as he has still put his team in the best position that he can when he gets the chance to make plays. Sunday, his targets just could not finish the job for him. In the fourth quarter, Rodgers scrambled and found tight end Lance Kendricks deep for what would have been a huge 3rd down play, but Kendricks dropped the wide-open pass and the Packers had to punt it away.

Defensive MVP: Kenny Clark

Speaking of consistency, defensive tackle Kenny Clark proved once again this week that he is a consistent force on Green Bay’s defense. He led the team in tackles Sunday with 9 total on the day, 6 of which were solo, according to ESPN. On a day where the defense struggled, Clark was still able to come up and make plays and he stepped up even more when Wilkerson exited the game in the first half. Linebacker Blake Martinez had another strong showing this week as well and alone the two combined for 10 tackles according to ESPN.


Up next, the Bills, who squashed the Vikings 27-6 at Minnesota today, travel to Lambeau Field to face off with the Packers. Kickoff is set for 1 PM EST.

Sarah Kelliher is a contributor for CheeseheadTV. She can be found via Twitter @sarahkelliher4


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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (47) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

kevgk's picture

hate to see an ugly loss against a beatable team, but the rest of the division is giving me hope. Holy cow the Vikings looked bad today.

barutanseijin's picture

Yes, and the refs seemed to have it in for Barr. He definitely deserved some of the calls, but you had the feeling they were going to flag him no matter what. Lots of flags and ref involvement just like the NFL ordered.

zoellner25's picture

I will continue to watch the Packers because I love my team. But I will absolutely NOT watch any other NFL game this season because of their stupid rules.

Boycott as much as you can, no other games, no NFL shopping, just make it all go away

Big Moe's picture

I agree, no more pre game shows either, only the Packer games, this was despicable today, I have never seen a team targeted by refs like this.

bjkdad44's picture

IF... and that’s a real big if!... I could actually get the games on tv... I get to watch the crap out here on the east coast ALL the time... but I do agree with you...

Coldworld's picture

Poor play, poor coaching strategy, poor officiating, injuries galore.

Not much to say in the positives column other than is noted above, but I do want to mention Williams (RB), Whitehead and Allison as well.

Coaches and officials (and those who wrote and interpret the rules) should hang their heads in shame. A good half of the players should too. Perhaps they shouldn’t have practices off again.

zoellner25's picture

Good point, I bet 80% of guys writing the rules never played it, or played defense

Joshua Bergner's picture

You could stream it, that's what I do here in West Texas.

wildcat1's picture

Refs are screwing the game up in a hurry compliments of the rule changes!! Aaron Rodgers was a big part of the sack rule being changed and he seems to be the recipient of no calls!! Relayed the first quarter and the sack on Aaron by #93 put his 300 plus on top of him crash pad style!! This rule is subjective and the NFL needs to bring in the white hats in and at least try to get it right!! This SUCKS and the NFL has created this monster now FIX it fast before we All revolt!

Since '61's picture

Exactly what revolt would that be. The league doesn't care what the fans think. Thanks, Since '61

Lare's picture

Really, with the refs deciding the outcomes of almost every game, why even watch the NFL games anymore?

I'm not.

Bure9620's picture

Defense played well in the 2nd half, Aaron Jones looked great, and was taken out.......where is Marcedes Lewis??? Does he exist? Refs were garbage, saw quite a bit of defensive holding, The Payne suplex is NOT roughing the passer and CMIII hit was?????? I litterally do not know what roughing the passer is now. Cobb can't catch, why is Kendricks playing ahead of Lewis?? And Tonyan?? Spriggs is Fackrell, he ends every play on the ground. Brice is not the answer at Safety. Need to get Graham involved more

Kb999's picture

Well said Sarah. Putting aside the bad officiating, we stunk it up in every aspect of the game. How did the coaching staff prepare for this game?? Then there was the drops and NO "D". Embarrassing!!

Lphill's picture

We deserve better this should have been an easy victory for the Packers but it seems the Redskins prepared better and came to play. Please get Earl Thomas .

Nick Perry's picture

Sure would like to see what Lewis could bring to the passing game because Kendricks doesn't bring a thing.

How in the hell through 3 weeks with all the trips to the Red-Zone do Graham and Lewis not have a TD catch. For a HC who publicly whined for a TE he sure in the hell doesn't know what to do with them once he does have them. My God would I love to see some creative play designs in the end zone taking advantage of the "Twin Towers" the Packers are fortunate to have but have been rendered useless more less in McCarthy's red zone offense.

Cut Brice, sign Eric Reid. HOW MUCH MORE DO YOU NEED TO SEE?

There should be NO question who the Packers starting RB should be next week to 31 Head Coaches in the NFL. Unfortunately the Packers employ the only HC who it remains a mystery too.

I'm too negative today to post, sorry guys and girls.

Bure9620's picture

Agreed, Marcedes Lewis exists?? Where is he? Kendricks should be TE #4, put Tonyan ahead of him

Lare's picture

Good players sitting on the bench, ineffective players on the field constantly, poor play calling, bad time management, terrible blocking, tackling and protection of the football.

If I didn't know any better, I'd say they were trying to lose.

bjkdad44's picture

They wouldn’t know what to do with a 1st in the draft pick... sadly

buckyor's picture

Kentrell Brice is a Conference USA safety and plays like it. He might be able to cover the neighborhood kid in a wheelchair on a good day. He can hit but his ball skills are high school level.

wildcat1's picture

Safety play has been questionable in at least 2 games. Most of you know in what direction that comment is aimed . EARL THOMAS IS AVAILIBLE and the Pack is hurting back there!! GET OFF our pocketbook and GO GET HIM!! Preseason was the proving ground , not regular season !!!

Lare's picture

This team has below average players in so many areas, what's one player going to do?

Joshua Bergner's picture

Ed Reid is available, like actually available. Would cost us next to nothing and solve more problems than Earl Thomas as he can also play ILB.

LambeauPlain's picture

He is mostly an ILB now. He can't run. And if he gets on a team he is going to demand to play S and if he doesn't he will be a cancer in the locker room.

Green Bay Shareholder's picture

Who are the only coaches we haven't got rid of ? I can see the ghost of Vince Lombardi rolling over in his grave.

Since '61's picture

Very sloppy game today, too many dropped passes, too many penalties, and just bad defense in the first half.

Good to see Aaron Jones back and the defense adjust and recover in the 2nd half but it was too little to late.
I can't keep watching these terrible calls by the refs. What's the point? Thanks, Since '61

Lphill's picture

Seems like Dallas is leading in Earl Thomas sweepstakes's plus he asked Jason Garrett to trade for him.

Lare's picture

Can't fault Thomas for not wanting to come play for this Packers team.

Big Moe's picture

Ugggly game, we were not great, but without the onesided officiating this game was one we could've won, sad to see Clay being targeted by the Refs, a lesser man would flat out destroy a QB, why not if he's going to be flagged everytime he tries to do his job anyway.

If this continues I'll have to just listen to the radio, the announcers are far better anyway, screw the tv $$$ Make advertisers notice if you truly want change!

arthurl's picture

I wish people would just stop complaining about the refs and except the fact team played like crap and didn't deserve the win. Defense gives up 28 points in first half pretty much sealed the defeat. Very disappointed as I was expecting something different with new DC. Brice isn't a starter and the OLBs are below par. House shouldn't be on the field period. Maybe it will take time for DC to get them playing better, I can only hope.

Offense is too predictable and playing from behind in two games already. I believe O will get their act together though.

Need to bounce back versus Bills.

Bure9620's picture

Yes, we got beat, but I don't neccessarily think people are making excuses about the officiating, just calling a spade a spade, a bad call is a bad call, but no this does change the outcome today, I agree here.

PAPackerbacker's picture

And don't think those Bills will show up just to lose. Not being prepared and taking your opponent lightly will result in another defeat. The Redskins game should be good proof of that fact.

barutanseijin's picture

Packers were terrible and deserve their loss.

Still, all the flags and reviews break the flow of the game and make watching games tedious as all hell.

Get rid of ref mikes, lose the dull ex-ref blatherers on the broadcasts, & above all lose video reviews. I want to watch football, not officiating.

Tarynfor12's picture

" A win, a tie, and now a loss "....

Less see if the Packers can't get the equivalent to a baseball cycle....

A win, a tie, a loss, and a total no show next week.

Get those excuse cards may need extra space for this one....geez!

Bure9620's picture

Are you actually a sad clown in real life?

Pachyderms's picture

i bet there would be very little complaining about officials if the pack was 3-0.

barutanseijin's picture

Wrong. I saw the Vikings game and very much enjoyed the outcome. However, it wasn't a fun game to watch due to all the flags.

cinpackback's picture

Thanks for the concise roundup of the game for those of us who didn’t get to see it.

Pierre's picture

Packers making Adrian Peterson and Vernon Davis looking like they are 24 again!! Hard to figure such ineptness on both sides of the ball.

Pigskin's picture

I've always liked seeing the Defensive Coordinator on the sideline, with his guys. The offense flourish on timing and finesse. The defense, with attitude.

Tundraboy's picture

I don't even know where to begin,so I won't. On to next week.

PAPackerbacker's picture

Next week is the Bills, and look what they did to the mighty Vikings and on the Vikings home turf!! Another lackluster game and the Packers will be 1-2-1. Do NOT look beyond the next game on the schedule. One game at a time and the Packers can get right back on track. Go! Pack! Go!

JLab3's picture

In the last two NFL drafts, excluding free agents, the Packers have drafted eight running backs/wide receivers, eight defensive players and two offensive linemen, neither of which are on the team. Trying to protect the most expensive player in the game with a patchwork OL makes no sense. Sitton and Lang were never replaced and now we're paying the price.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

I have gotten busy on Sundays, so I have put the game on DVR. Today I watched the game in two hours flat, so I think I am missing some of the finer points.

I am surprised that with Daniels, Clark and Wilkerson teams are able to run on us. Clark and Martinez were singled out, but AD ran for 120 yards. Part of it is failing to limit his gains due to poor tackling. Brice whiffed on at least four tackles (not even talking about coverage issues). I'll have to watch this game again. Stopping the pass first is fine if the team does it, but failing to stop the pass AND getting gashed in the running game leads to allowing 28 points in a half. Washington was able to ignore Chris Thompson for the most part since running AD was working. There is a concept: keep doing what is working.

carlos's picture

Some random thoughts: 1. Never was a fan of Kendrick’s from day one. I’ve mentioned that here several times. 2. Why do other teams look so fast and we look so slow, even after drafting fast players. Is it the play book. 3. Always liked Cobb, but haven’t seen his value the last few years. Yesterday was sad. 4. Bears and Lions are coming on thanks to some young minded smart coaching. Vikings are always a handful. 5. Why do we draft talented players who have a history of injuries. 6. Years are going by too fast for Rogers who seems to be our only hope. 7. We wait all spring and summer in anticipation for football only to have our hearts broken and full of frustration. 8.Refs aren’t wrecking the game- they’re destroying the product. 9. Football is a tough mans game. No one is forced to step on the field. 10. Is Petine the answer or is it too early to judge yet? 11. Safety play-won’t say anymore. 12. Not sure on McCarthy anymore. ???

carlos's picture

???? Question marks for the ones I missed above. ???? Question marks for my feelings of frustration this early morning. Why do I even let this carry over to the next day? Maybe because I love the game and hate to see the direction it’s going. At least my high school games I see effort and the football I remember.

LambeauPlain's picture

The NFL is now a game of "zebras"...almost unwatchable.

And I won't be watching other NFL games besides the Packers. I didn't last year and did not miss it at all.

It is becoming like WWF and NBA....predictable and boring.

Touchdown Fan's picture

Still looking for more “quick” pressure to make the offense uncomfortable, and to cover some of the obvious deficiencies at safety.

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