Jclombardi reviews and grades Packers loss to Redskins.
Guest senior writer jclombardi @ http://lombardiave.com
Summary: In a sloppy performance filled with big penalties, big turnovers, and key injuries, QB Rodgers threw a bad pass in overtime leading to the winning Redskins field goal for a final OT score of 16-13. The Packers had nine big penalties including two big defensive penalties in overtime allowed the Redskins get an easy field goal for the win. With the game on the line, K Crosby missed two field goals from 48 yards in the 3rd quarter and from 53 yards in the 4th quarter that would have won the game. Already beat up, the Packers lost TE Finley, DE Pickett, LB Matthews, TE Lee, DB Martin, and QB Rodgers to injuries. The Packers are 3-2 with two losses against a very soft schedule.
Game Balls: CB Williams. LB Bishop. LB Matthews. DE Neal.
Injury report: TE Finley: surgery; out for three to six weeks. LB Barnett: surgery; out for eight weeks; probably to I.R. TE Lee: chest sprain; probably out for two weeks. LB Matthews: pulled hamstring; miss some practice time; maybe a week. DE Pickett: ankle sprain; miss some practice time; maybe a week. QB Rodgers: concussion; miss practice time; maybe a week. DB Martin: serious knee sprain; out for weeks.
Report Card Grades–Good, Bad, & Ugly (LA vs. SE):
D vs D. In a pass heavy offense, the passing game had one of its worst games of the season. QB Rodgers did complete 27 of 46 passes for an early touchdown to TE Lee, but one big interception. Rodgers completed passes to 9 different receivers. WR Jones had 4 receptions for 65 yards, WR Driver had 4 receptions for 58 yards, rookie TE Quarless had 4 receptions for 51 yards, and WR Jennings had only 2 receptions for 22 yards. However, the unit was plagued by crucial dropped passes especially by WR Driver (four), WR Jones (two) and WR Nelson (one). With a halftime lead of 10-3, the Packers literally fell apart under prime time pressure failing to score on their final seven possessions in the second half, producing four punts, two missed field goals and an interception allowing the Redskins to score 10 points to tie the game. QB Rodgers threw the bad pass in overtime leading to the winning Redskins field goal, while he suffered a concussion for the defensive hit. In third down efficiency, the Packers were an awful 2 for 13. In the red zone efficiency, they were an awful 1 of 3.
Rush Offense—B- vs B. The ground game was productive, except in the red zone, getting 157 yards. RB Jackson rushed for 115 yards averaging 1.5 yards. He had 5 receptions for 25 yards. The problem was the red zone offense especially in two crucial goal-line series. In the first series, RB Jackson was stopped for a four yards loss from the 1. Then, in the second series, FB Kuhn and QB Rodgers failed to get across the goal line on back-to-back plays. It was not surprise considering past similar series in previous games.
Pass Defense—D+ vs C-. The Packers had good consistent pass rush pressure throughout the game until LB Matthews left with an injury. LB Matthews had 1.5 sacks with solid pressure, LB Bishop had 6 tackles, 7 assists, and a sack, and DE Neal and LB Poppinga each had a sack. They really held the Redskins in check until OLB Matthews left with an injury opening up the vertical game. Yet, McNabb still threw for 357 total yards even when the Packers sent at least five pass-rushers on 40 percent of the plays. In the second half, QB McNabb had a 141.4 passer rating. The Redskins turned the game around on two big pass plays against S Peprah leading to a field goal and to a touchdown. Further, the two key defensive penalties against LB Poppinga and CB Woodson in overtime helped the Redskins get their chip-shot winning field goal. CB Williams played a tremendous game getting an interception. All-pro CB Woodson struggled throughout the game giving up two big interference calls.
Rush defense–A- vs B+. The rush defense looked like its former stellar self limiting the Redskins rush offense to only 51 yards. RB Torain had only 40 yards averaging only 2.5 yards. The front seven played well including LBs Bishop (13 tackles), Hawk, and Jones.
Special teams–C vs C-. The special teams didn’t make any serious lapses or critical mistakes, but it did fail in the big plays. The punt coverage made a big mistake allowing PR Banks, who averaged 15.7 yards per return, to return for a 30-yard return along the sideline to set up McNabb’s touchdown throw to WR Armstrong. K Crosby missed two big field goals. On kickoff returns, both Lee and Nelson played too timid looking pedestrian. PR Williams had a good game, especially a 52 yard return.
Coaching–D vs C-. The Packers had more than enough firepower on offense and reinforcements on defense to get a victory against an inferior opponent, but it didn’t happen. Head coach McCarthy all but abandoned the run after Jackson’s 71-yard tote on Green Bay’s third play of the game. For as many times as the Packers were in pass mode, the curious run calls near the goal line backfired. Also, the offense was out of sync in having to burn two timeouts early in the second half that wound up affecting the Packers in how and where they set up Crosby for his ill-fated field-goal attempt. Defensive coordinator Capers was liberal with the blitzing. Nine big penalties speak to the coaches not getting the message of discipline through to the players.
Overall Game–C vs CBS Sportsline Overall Grade–C+. The Packers should have won this game going away considering they kept the Redskins to 13 points in regulation. But the Packers’ offense was terrible on third down and was plagued by several drops by the receivers. The Packers should be better than this.