Insider: Thumbs up to Packers' final drive, down to Meriweather's cheap shot on Lacy

Sep. 15, 2013

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Green Bay Packers receiver Randall Cobb (18) tries to stay in bounds after making a catch past Washington Redskins safety Brandon Meriweather (31) in the first quarter during Sunday's game at Lambeau Field. / Evan Siegle/Press-Gazette Media


Big picture

There’s a wide gap between the haves and the have-nots in the NFC. The Packers are clearly one of the best teams in the conference, while the Redskins have a long way to go to be part of that conversation. The Packers’ lopsided victory over the defending NFC East champions is an indication they will be a force to be reckoned with all season long, particularly at home. The Packers are only 1-1 and not even in first place in the NFC North, but it should only be a matter of time before they rise to the top of what looks like modest competition in their division.

Thumbs up

It was midway through the fourth quarter, the Packers were leading by 18 points, and James Starks had just run into a Redskins’ 8-man front for consecutive 1-yard gains when some in the Lambeau Field crowd started to boo the home team. Fans were unhappy the Packers were sitting on their lead and playing too conservative. The Packers proceeded to take the leash off their offense, put the ball back into the hands of Aaron Rodgers and chew up the final 7:36 of the game. After taking their foot off the gas with a three-and-out series to open the fourth quarter, the Packers’ offense came back to life when Rodgers connected on five consecutive passes to end whatever slim comeback hopes the Redskins harbored and put an exclamation point on a stellar offensive performance. “That was really important for us, (to) finish the game with the ball,” Rodgers said. “We kind of got rolling there and stayed aggressive, which I don’t think they were expecting, up by 18. Got to give Mike (McCarthy) credit for that.”

Thumbs down

Halfback Eddie Lacy got his first and only carry of the game on the fifth play of the game-opening drive. Lacy ran off left tackle for 10 yards when Redskins safety Brandon Meriweather crashed into him on a brutal helmet-to-helmet hit. Lacy was knocked senseless, suffered a concussion and didn’t play again. Inexplicably, no penalty was called on Meriweather in an era when the NFL is cracking down on players who use their helmet as a weapon. What goes around comes around, because later in the first half Meriweather was knocked from the game when he attempted to tackle Lacy’s replacement, Starks, on another helmet-to-helmet hit. This time, it was Meriweather who suffered a concussion and left the game for good. Whether he’s injuring other players or himself, the league needs to come down hard on Meriweather’s head-hunting ways and sock him with a stiff fine.

Turning point

The Packers were held to a field goal on their first series and had to punt on their second drive after a three-and-out. On their third possession late in the first quarter, they faced a fourth-and-3 at the Redskins’ 35-yard line, and it was put up or shut up time for the offense. Credit McCarthy for taking the aggressive approach and going for a first down. The rest was left up to Rodgers and Randall Cobb, who connected on a 35-yard touchdown pass. Cobb found a gap in the middle of the Redskins’ defense and was never touched on the play. That sent the Packers on their way to a 10-0 lead, and the momentum carried over when they scored touchdowns on their next two possessions and all but put the Redskins away by halftime.

By the numbers

580 — Total yards generated by the Packers, second-most in franchise history behind the 628 yards recorded in a 49-0 victory at Philadelphia on Nov. 11, 1962.

1 — The Packers became the only team in NFL history to have a 450-yard passer (Rodgers) and 125-yard rusher (Starks) in the same game.

3 — Games in which Rodgers has thrown for 400 or more yards, including his franchise-tying 480-yard performance against the Redskins. No other Packers quarterback has more than one 400-yard game.

44 — Consecutive regular-season games dating to October 2010 in which the Packers failed to produce a 100-yard individual rusher before Starks ended the drought against the Redskins.

Did you notice?

• Don Barclay and T.J. Lang got beat on back-to-back first-quarter sacks by Redskins linebacker Ryan Kerrigan, forcing the Packers to settle for a field goal after they faced a first-and-goal at the 9. Rodgers was sacked four times.

• Cobb caught a pair of 35-yard touchdown passes in the first quarter, but only the second one counted. On the first catch, the “Bang the Drum All Day” touchdown music was fired up but officials ruled Cobb stepped out of bounds at the 18-yard line.

• Like Cobb, Jordy Nelson caught two first-half touchdown passes but only the second one counted. Nelson did a Lambeau Leap after a 10-yard TD pass from Rodgers in the second quarter but a David Bakhtiari holding penalty nullified the score. Three plays later, Nelson caught a 14-yard touchdown pass from Rodgers on a slant.

• Cobb and Jeremy Ross continued to share return duties on punts and kickoffs.

• Four of Tim Masthay’s seven kickoffs resulted in touchbacks.

• Redskins kicker John Potter, who was signed to replace the injured Kai Forbarth, wasn’t close on a 50-yard attempt in the third quarter, which begs the question: why didn’t they sign Packers training camp leg Giorgio Tavecchio?

What's your take on the Packers Family Night change?

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Watching practice is fine.(Your vote)
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I'd rather watch a scrimmage.(Your vote)
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I don't want to pay to watch practice.(Your vote)
1025 votes
It doesn't matter to me.(Your vote)
1279 votes

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Football fans

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.

Special Reports