Packers report card: Offense commanding in win
SEP 16, 2013 9:13a ET
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Handing out grades following the Green Bay Packers' 38-20 win over the Washington Redskins:
Passing Offense: A
The theme in this game was all about breaking records, and many of them came from the Packers' air attack. Aaron Rodgers completed 34 of 42 passes (81 percent) for 480 yards with four touchdowns, no interceptions and a passer rating of 146.0.
So, which franchise records and NFL records did Rodgers break or tie?
1. Rodgers tied Matt Flynn for most passing yards in a single game in Packers history.
2. Rodgers' completion percentage was the best in team history when attempting 40 passes, topping Brett Favre.
3. Rodgers became the second quarterback in NFL history to have at least 480 passing yards with four touchdowns and zero interceptions. It's the best single-game mark since Y.A. Tittle in 1962.
4. Rodgers had 335 yards and 26 completions in the first half, both career-highs for any single half.
5. Rodgers' first-half numbers added up to be the best statistical one-half performance in the NFL since Tom Brady in Week 6 of the 2009 season.
6. Rodgers tied his single-game career high with 34 completions.
7. Rodgers has now thrown at least three touchdown passes in five consecutive regular-season games, tying his own franchise record from 2011.
It would make sense then that Green Bay's receivers put up some big numbers, too. James Jones had a career-best day with 11 catches and 178 yards, while Randall Cobb had a career-high 128 receiving yards. As Rodgers pointed out after the game, many of his record-setting passing yards were due to the Packers' receivers doing a lot of damage after the catch.
The one slight negative in this game for Green Bay's passing offense was giving up four sacks. Rodgers was sacked twice on the opening drive, which forced a field goal. He was sacked again on the first play of the second offensive series. However, the Packers' offensive line got much better after that.
Rushing Offense: A
Eddie Lacy's debut at Lambeau Field is one he may not remember. After taking his first-ever handoff at his new home stadium, Lacy ran for 10 yards before being hit with helmet-to-helmet contact from Washington safety Brandon Meriweather. Lacy suffered a concussion and did not return.
This opened the door for James Starks, who ended the team's 44-game regular-season drought in which Green Bay didn't have a running back surpass 100 yards on the ground. Starks carried the ball 20 times for a career-high 132 yards (6.6 average) with one touchdown. It had been nearly three full calendar years since Brandon Jackson posted 115 yards, with every Packers runner since then not reaching triple-digit yards in a game.
Combined with what Rodgers did, the Packers became the first team in NFL history to have a 450-yard passer and a 125-yard rusher in the same game.
One concern for Green Bay now is that both Lacy and John Kuhn (hamstring) are injured. That leaves just Starks and Johnathan Franklin in the backfield at the moment.
Rushing Defense: B-
Washington running back Alfred Morris quietly had a really good game. He rushed for 107 yards on 13 carries (8.2 average). And, no, it wasn't all in the second half when the Packers had a big lead.
Morris had two separate 32-yard carries, one midway through the second quarter and the other early in the third quarter. Green Bay stopped him behind the line of scrimmage twice for losses. One tackle-for-loss was a combined effort from Clay Matthews and Mike Daniels, while the other was a solo stuff by Johnny Jolly.
Playing with the lead, the Packers -- like any team -- are going to give up some rushing yards if the opponent chooses to run it. Green Bay was often playing the pass in those situations and didn't mind as much to give up running plays because it takes more time off the clock. But allowing Morris to be so efficient is not a positive, no matter what the score is.
The Packers did a good job of not letting Robert Griffin III scramble. Griffin's mobility is in question being just eight months removed from major knee surgery, but he only rushed for one yard on four attempts. Considering that Green Bay also shut down Colin Kaepernick's rushing ability in Week 1, it's fair to conclude that defensive coordinator Dom Capers has a sound strategy in place of stopping mobile quarterbacks from gaining yards on the ground.
Passing Defense: B
One look at the box score for Griffin doesn't tell the full story. Griffin finished the game 26-of-40 passing for 320 yards with three touchdowns, one interception and a passer rating of 104.2. But the majority of his positive plays happened after the Packers took a 31-0 lead.
Washington scored a touchdown on each of its final three drives, totaling 208 yards in the process. It's not that those series don't matter, but with the game pretty much decided by that point, it somewhat changed the way the Packers' defense played.
When the score was still close, Green Bay forced four consecutive punts to open the game and then had an interception before halftime.
The Packers got seven QB hits on Griffin, but only Davon House was able to bring him down for a sack on a cornerback blitz.
Special Teams: B+
Perhaps the most notable special teams play was an impressive solo tackle by House in the first quarter. House continues to look like a natural in one of the gunner spots.
Tim Masthay also continues to boot the majority of his kickoffs through the end zone, showing impressive leg strength that displays why Green Bay took Mason Crosby out of that role. Masthay had four touchbacks in seven kickoffs.
Crosby's first -- and only, so far -- field-goal attempt of the year was a 28-yard make on the Packers' opening drive.
Jeremy Ross didn't have any questionable returns in this game, which is an improvement over his Week 1 performance.
A commanding home win over a conference opponent is a good bounce back for Green Bay after a Week 1 loss. Though Washington didn't look like it in this game, that's a playoff team from last season that the Packers dominated. The statistics indicate that making the postseason is very difficult after starting the season 0-2, so Green Bay avoided the possibility of having to overcome those odds.
When the Packers' offense is as good as it was Sunday, they're a very difficult team to beat. Rodgers didn't think particularly highly of his own individual performance, but he was on point. Green Bay's receiving corp was at its best, making defenders miss after nearly every catch. Even without Lacy, the Packers' running game suddenly looks like its greatly improved.
Scoring 38 points is already a lot, but Green Bay would've had at least 41 -- perhaps 45 -- if coach Mike McCarthy opted to keep playing it out from the 10-yard line with two minutes left in the game. Instead, Rodgers took a knee three times to run out the clock.
This was a step down in competition after playing San Francisco, but the Packers delivered a solid performance and easily took care of an inferior opponent.
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