The Green Bay Packers bounced back from a tough season-opening loss in style by pounding the Washington Redskins 38-20. The game was over in the third quarter and we’re having a hard time finding something to complain about.
Not even safety Morgan Burnett’s absence for a second straight week mattered, although the Packers did have trouble containing Pierre Garcon, who had 8 catches for 143 yards and a TD.
On the other side, the Packers played a complete game. Aaron Rodgers was Aaron Rodgers, going 34-for-42 for a career-high 480 yards and four touchdowns. James Jones bounced back from his no-catch game with a career high 11 receptions for 178 yards.
Randall Cobb (9 for 128 and a touch), Jordy Nelson (3 for 66 and 2 TDs) and Jermichael Finley (6 for 65 and a TD) were all on. And surprisingly, James Starks, who was filling in for a concussed Eddie Lacy, ran for 132 yards on 20 carries and one touchdown. That’s a healthy 6.6 yards per carry and the first time the Packers have had a 100-yard rusher in, like, forever.
In the running game, the offensive line actually opened some holes. They did, however, give up four sacks.
The Packers defense showed us pretty much what they showed us last week. They were able to contain Robert Griffin III and Washington’s read-option offense, but couldn’t stop the opposition’s No. 1 receiver.
They also couldn’t contain running back Alfred Morris, who ran 13 times for 107 yards — 8.2 per carry. Plenty of missed tackles came into play there, which probably gave you flashbacks of last season.
A week after turning in a dominant performance, Clay Matthews was virtually invisible with just three tackles, although one was for a loss. First-round pick Datone Jones was also invisible for the second straight week, finishing with just one tackle.
Jones’ lack of impact could be chalked up to the Packers being better on the defensive line than they thought they would. Both Johnny Jolly and Mike Daniels continue to make plays.
If there was a defensive star, it was Sam Shields, who had eight tackles and broke up several passes.
So what do we know? The Packers defense still needs some work, but getting Burnett back and eventually, Casey Hayward, should help. The offensive line can be a liability at times, but if they can keep opening holes like they did on Sunday, that will take the pressure off Rodgers and keep opposing defenses honest.
If the Packers can beat a tough Cincinnati team on the road next week, then we’ll know they’re for real.