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Insider: Green Bay Packers RB Brandon Jackson shows promise against Washington Redskins

Oct. 10, 2010
 
Green Bay Packers-Washington Redskins postgame ana...
Green Bay Packers-Washington Redskins postgame ana...: The Packers' offensive struggles stand out in Kareem Copeland's analysis of the Sunday's 16-13 overtime loss in Washington.
Running back Brandon Jackson, left, breaks free from Washington cornerback DeAngelo Hall for a 71-yard-gain during the first quarter of Sunday's game at FedEx Field in Landover, Md. Jackson's performance was one of the few bright spots for the Packers. Corey Wilson/Press-Gazette

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A closer look at Sunday's game between the Green Bay Packers and the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field in Landover, Md. The Packers lost 16-13 in overtime.

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The big picture

Packers coach Mike McCarthy had it right when he said ďyards donít mean anything; itís about points.Ē

The Packers can talk all they want about how they moved the ball up and down the field against the Redskins. They basically did the same thing two weeks earlier at Chicago ó and lost. Their two highest yardage outputs of the season ó 427 against the Redskins and 379 against the Bears ó have come in their two losses.

The Packers arenít finishing drives or getting off the field on third down. Until they do, theyíll just be a team that puts up gaudy stats but loses at the end.

Thumbs up

Itís no time to crown Brandon Jackson the next franchise halfback, but at least Ryan Grantís replacement showed a little something for a change.

For the first time since Grant was lost for the season after a Week 1 ankle injury, the Packersí running game showed some pop. Though Jackson had only 10 carries, he rushed for 115 yards. Most of it came on a 71-yard scamper in the first quarter ó a run on which Jackson showed just enough patience to wait for a small hole to open, then slithered through it and turned on his speed. The run set up the first touchdown of the game.

Jackson still has bad runs on which he isnít decisive enough and or doesnít put down his foot quickly enough and make a cut ó like his 4-yard loss on the same drive ó but he also showed some vision and burst on gains of 7, 15, 7 and 9 later in the game.

However, Jackson probably should have gotten more than 5 yards on the screen pass on the second possession of overtime on the play that preceded Aaron Rodgersí interception that set up the game-winning field goal.

Thumbs down

McCarthy made two questionable tactical decisions in the first half.

Just how costly they were is debatable, but perhaps things might have gone differently had he taken the almost sure-thing field goal instead of going for it ó and failing ó on fourth-and-goal from the Redskinsí 1-yard line early in the second quarter and if he hadnít called a timeout with 3:39 left in the second quarter.

McCarthy argued he got the three points anyway after his defense held on the next drive and punted the ball back to the Packers, who then kicked a field goal on their ensuing possession. Still, he threw away points at that moment. They still might have gotten that field goal on the following drive. Maybe in the second half, itís a better gamble. But early in the game, on the road and leading just 7-0, the field goal feels like the better call.

McCarthy called the timeout after Desmond Bishop sacked Donovan McNabb to set up a third-and-18 at the Redskinsí 12-yard line. The thinking is the defense will get the stop on the next play and by calling a timeout, it will give the offense more time to score before halftime. However, the stop is never a guarantee no matter the down-and-distance.

Perhaps the break gave the Redskins time to find the right play, and sure enough, McNabb avoided a sack, and then Santana Moss beat safety Charlie Peprah deep down the right sideline for a 52-yard completion. The Redskins then kicked a field goal with 13 seconds left. Perhaps they wouldnít have had time for that kick had McCarthy not called the timeout.

Play of the game

Itís a simple corner route designed to pick up 8, maybe 10 yards. And itís a play Rodgers and Greg Jennings have connected on time and again. But this time, in overtime, it went haywire. Rodgers got drilled by defensive end Jeremy Jarmon (a play on which Rodgers sustained a concussion) and had to throw quickly. He also threw off target and instead of hitting Jennings, who had broken toward the sideline, his throw went to the inside, where safety LaRon Landry picked it off at the Packersí 39-yard line to set up the game-winning field goal.

Turning point

A week earlier, the Packers ran out the final 6 minutes, 32 seconds to secure their 2-point victory over the Detroit Lions. On Sunday, they got the ball with 6:39 left with another opportunity to melt the clock away and walk out with a 13-10 victory. But a holding penalty on rookie tight end Andrew Quarless and a sack forced the Packers to punt and give the Redskins life.

Did you notice?

♦ Pat Lee replaced Jarrett Bush as the third cornerback in the nickel package. Lee played mostly in the slot, where Charles Woodson typically plays, and Woodson played outside in the spot where the third corner usually plays.

♦ Defensive coordinator Dom Capers played only one snap of his Psycho package, but linebacker Brady Poppinga got a sack out of it to force a punt on the Redskinsí first possession of overtime.

♦ The Packersí first possession of overtime ended when Redskins defensive end Brian Orakpo beat left tackle Chad Clifton and sacked Rodgers on third-and-12. The Redskins rushed just three, but Orakpo beat Clifton with an outside speed move.

By the numbers

♦ 2 -- Receptions by Jennings, who after catching 148 passes in the previous two seasons combined has only 14 catches through five games.

♦ 2 -- Road losses, in three games away from Lambeau Field. The Packers lost only three times away from home all of last season.

♦ 157 -- Net yards rushing by the Packers, their highest total since Dec. 13, 2009, when they rushed for 158 yards against Chicago.

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If you've ever answered "Who has the ball?" with "It's halftime," you might recognize The Airhead. Check out the characters in our cartoon gallery of oddball fans.

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