The Green Bay Packers’ defense is a train wreck, both due to injury and poor play. Washington ran through them and passed over them repeatedly and with ease, while several players shuffled in and out of the lineup due to injuries on Sunday night as the Packers dropped a 42-24 decision and fell to 4-6 on the season.
Washington’s Kirk Cousins racked up 375 passing yards and three touchdowns on the day - including a 70-yarder - as his offense out-executed the Packers’ early and took advantage of a Packers’ turnover late in the game to officially put the game away. Aaron Rodgers completed 26 of 41 passes on the day for 355 yards and three touchdowns, and he led the team in rushing yardage with 33 yards on three carries.
Jared Cook was the Packers’ leading receiver, catching six passes for 105 yards and a touchdown. However, it was his fumble in the fourth quarter that negated the Packers’ comeback attempt and allowed Washington to close the door on the game for good.
The defense allowed over 500 yards of offense, its first such game of the year, and it failed to force a turnover for the third time in the Packers’ last four games, all losses.
Here’s how it went down.
The Packers and Washington traded three-and-outs to start the game, with the Packers failing to pick up a first down on either of their first two series. On their second drive, however, Washington started to move the ball. Robert Kelley picked up a first down on third-and-two, rumbling off the left side for 18 yards. After a catch by Pierre Garcon got Washington to midfield, though, the offense bogged down due to a drop by Jordan Reed, resulting in another punt.
A third straight three-and-out for the Packers let to yet another punt, and Washington finally took advantage with great field position. After a few passes got them to the 20-yard line, Kirk Cousins hit DeSean Jackson for a touchdown over the middle after he beat Micah Hyde on a double-move, giving Washington a 7-0 lead.
The Packers finally picked up some first downs on their next series, with Ty Montgomery catching a pair of passes for conversions early on the drive and Richard Rodgers adding one of his own. The Packers got bailed out later on the series, as a 4th-and-7 attempt was bailed out by an illegal hands to the face penalty on Washington cornerback Bashaud Breeland. They picked up another 4th-down conversion four plays later on a scramble by Rodgers, and then Jared Cook took a tight end screen to set up a first and goal. The drive should have ended in the end zone a few times, but it became a complete mess. Cook didn’t turn his head around on a wide-open potential score, then a TD from Aaron Rodgers to Ty Montgomery was overturned by a Don Barclay holding call. On the next play, Rodgers shrugged off a facemask and found Jordy Nelson in the back of the end zone. Nelson caught the ball but had it knocked out of his hands by Josh Norman; however, the referee in the end zone called the play a touchdown and the ruling was not overturned upon review.
Following a Washington three-and-out, the Packers got their offense moving again with some short passes. They also got helped out by a Josh Norman hissy fit-turned-delay of game penalty to get them into the red zone. However, a Ryan Kerrigan sack on third-and-five from the 8 set up a Mason Crosby field goal, giving the Packers a 10-7 lead.
Washington finally found Jordan Reed for a big play on their ensuing drive, converting a third-and-4 with a 26-yard gain. Once the clock ticked inside a minute left, they entered the red zone and took the lead back with a 10-yard touchdown run by Robert Kelley, giving Washington a 13-10 lead. They were stuffed on a two-point conversion, leaving the score at that point at the half.
The Packers took the wind in the fourth quarter and kicked off to start the second half. After holding Washington to a three-and-out, the Packers were flagged for a roughing the passer penalty that extended the drive. Another deep pass over the middle to Reed set up Washington in the red zone. However, a third-down sack by Julius Peppers held them to a field goal instead and a 16-10 lead.
On the ensuing kickoff, Jeff Janis had a massive brain cramp, letting the football fall and requiring Richard Rodgers to fall on it at the two-yard line. However, the Packers moved the ball well - Jared Cook made his first truly big play, hauling in a perfect over-the-shoulder pass from Rodgers for a 47-yard gain. Another big gain to Randall Cobb set up the Packers inside the 20, but the offense stalled out and settled for a 36-yard field goal attempt. Unfortunately, it was into the wind and Crosby’s kick went just wide left.
Washington struck again on the next drive. Cousins hooked up with Jamison Crowder for a 47-yard touchdown. Crowder burned Quinten Rollins, who looked like he was expecting safety help over the top.
Rodgers hooked up with Cook for another big third-down conversion on the next drive, another floater that went for 29 yards. On the first play of the fourth quarter, Rodgers then found James Starks wide open off play-action, and the running back rumbled untouched for a 31-yard touchdown, the Packers’ longest of the season. Mason Crosby’s PAT made it 22-17.
Two plays later, Cousins struck again. He heaved a deep ball into the wind and found Pierre Garcon, who beat LaDarius Gunter for the football and scored a 70-yard touchdown. That touchdown made the score 29-17.
Aaron Rodgers found Randall Cobb on a crossing pattern for a big gain on the next series, as Cobb shook off multiple tacklers en route to a 47-yard pickup. The Packers converted on this drive, as Cook scored his first touchdown as a Packer on a 6-yard score from Rodgers.
Washington then took a significant portion of the remaining time off the clock - they went for a fourth-and-one at their own 40-yard line and got it on a quarterback sneak. After Blake Martinez left the game and Carl Bradford nearly made a game-changing interception, Cousins hit Crowder with another deep pass (with Joe Thomas in coverage, for some reason), and the Washington receiver was taken down at the one-yard line. Rob Kelley punched the ball in on the next play for a 35-24 lead. Dustin Hopkins doinked his PAT off the right upright, though, keeping the score at an eleven-point margin.
The Packers got a 37-yard gain from Davante Adams to move them across midfield on the comeback trail, but bad Jared Cook reared his ugly head; Josh Norman punched the football out and Washington recovered with three minutes left in the game, which all but sealed the game.
What actually sealed the game was a 66-yard run by Robert Kelley, taking the football down to the 4-yard line.
Several players were injured for the Packers and did not return:
- RG Don Barclay (shoulder)
- CB Demetri Goodson (knee)
- S Kentrell Brice
- ILB Blake Martinez (knee)