Best and worst moments from Washington’s 38-20 loss to the Packers at Lambeau Field.
Worst First-Half Offense: Robert Griffin III’s awful beginning on Monday Night Football was chalked up to rust, especially when he settled in during the second half. But it happened again in Green Bay; the quarterback completed 6 of 13 passes with an interception during a scoreless first half. Meanwhile, after going down 26-7 at halftime against the Eagles, the Redskins went down 24-0 at halftime to the Packers. The lone first-half touchdown in that span came from DeAngelo Hall. He doesn’t play offense.
Worst Stat: James Starks became the first Packers running back to go over 100 yards in 45 games. The last person to do it was also somebody generic, and it also happened against the Redskins. As Fox’s Troy Aikman pointed out when Starks reached the milestone, Joe Buck likely could have also scored on a rushing touchdown against this Redskins defense. It was also the first time Green Bay has ever had a 400-yard passer and 100-yard rusher in the same game. Like, ever. And Green Bay has been playing football for a while. Oh, and the Packers only needed 45 minutes to accomplish that feat.
Worst Brace: For the second week in a row, Robert Griffin III had some issues with his knee brace. Last week, the NFL incorrectly instructed him to tuck the bulky piece of hardware into his pants. This week, Griffin repeatedly fiddled with the monstrous knee contraption during the second half. Will to Win is being foiled by a dang knee brace.
Best Bright Side: Nah. Not this time.
Worst Trend: Racking up incredible offensive statistics in the second-half of blowouts is a great way to make fantasy football players happy. It doesn’t do much for fans, though.
Best Defender: In the first half Sunday, it was probably the end zone pylon. After James Jones fumbled the ball late in the half, the pylon cleverly knocked the ball out of bounds, leading to a touchback and saving the Redskins’ defense from more damage. It was a play that came out of nowhere, a play that saved seven points and kept the deficit at least somewhat reasonable at halftime. The pylon didn’t even celebrate its performance, nor did it talk trash to Jones. For its performance, the pylon was given a game ball and offered a special parking space over the next week. Expect a run on “Pylon” jerseys this week. Man, I love that pylon.
Worst Disrespect: London Fletcher’s pre-game speech to his fellow defenders focused on how the Packers were so clearly disrespecting the Redskins by scheduling “homecoming” celebrations against them, with plenty of the team’s alumni all over Lambeau Field before the game. The thing is, the Redskins proceeded to play like a homecoming opponent. Of the FCS variety.
Best Tweet: It’s a fair question.
I wonder if Pierre Garcon still thinks this will be the most explosive offense of all time.
— HogsHaven.com (@HogsHaven) September 15, 2013
Worst Storyline: After Chip Kelly’s offense carved up Washington in week one, everyone assumed the Eagles were set to revolutionize the NFL. Turns out it might be the Washington defense set to revolutionize the NFL. Washington gave up 322 yards in the first half against Philadelphia, and 373 in the first half against Green Bay. You don’t really want to adopt the 695-yards-in-60-minutes defense. At least that means fewer people will write great things about Philly.
(Second) Best Tweet: Yup.
The big yellow letters describes the entire game for me… pic.twitter.com/ZwCaLE32ku
— Doug Ramey (@fatpickled) September 15, 2013
Best Obsession: For a while, the Fox ticker thought every player in the NFL had the last name of “Griffin.” That’s kind of like my dreams. The bad ones. Nightmares, they’re called. I transcribe 4000 interviews, all by Griffin, about Griffin, sponsored by Griffin industries. Operation Griffin. Will to Griffin. Hail to the Griffins.
Worst Discipline: Washington had three personal fouls in the game’s first 33 minutes. There was also a 15-yard facemask call late in the third quarter. The company line during the preseason was that this was a team filled with smart, high-character players who were ushering in a new era of NFC East dominance. Teams like that don’t kill themselves with repeated 15-yard penalties.
Best Breakout: In Green Bay’s first game, James Jones caught zero passes for zero yards. (Funny how that works!) Against the Redskins, he had a career-high 9 catches for a career-high 152 yards. In the first half. He set his career highs for everything, in only half of a game.
Worst Matchup: Perry Riley vs. Randall Cobb is probably not a matchup that will lead to everlasting success and happiness for the Redskins. In the first quarter Sunday, it helped lead to a 35-yard touchdown catch on a 4th-down play for Cobb. He also wound up with a career high in receiving yards. Heck, the cheese curd vendors wound up with career highs in receiving yards.
Worst Breakout: Remember when Fred Davis was insulted that he didn’t get a massive free-agent deal and vowed to make the rest of the NFL regret their horrific mistake by finally turning in a full, 16-game season of awesomeness? (I’m paraphrasing.) In his first game, he had two catches for 22 yards. Sunday, he had one catch for 3 yards. That ain’t a dang breakout. Two other tight ends on the Redskins finished with more receptions.
Worst Decision: Everything is easier in retrospect, but when you have a 4th-and-7 at the other team’s 33-yard line, and you’re facing an explosive offense, and you’re down by 10 points, and your punt game has been terrible, and you need something positive to build on, I’d favor going for it. My second choice would be attempting the field goal. My third choice would be punting. Mike Shanahan punted; after a personal foul during the punt, Green Bay took over at the 25, or eight yards away from Washington’s line of scrimmage. Of course, later in the first half, the Redskins went for a 4th-and-5 in a similar situation, and Griffin was intercepted.
Best celebrity: NBA superstar and lifelong Redskins fan Kevin Durant was everywhere before the game, posing for photos with Chris Cooley, communing with Skins fans, doing an interview with Comcast SportsNet, showing up on Fox’s broadcast, and professing his love for the team to every reporter who asked. Which was a lot of reporters.
Best Sudsy Diversion: As things went south, and then further south, and then so south that they crossed some sort of hemisphere and kind of became northy, I began drinking a Sierre Nevada Hoptimum Imperial IPA. If you like hop bombs, this is a nice one.
Worst Pointless Penalty: The Redskins defense took the field first for the second week in a row, and quickly forced Green Bay into a 3rd-and-6. Before Brandon Jenkins jumped offsides, leading to a 3rd-and-1 that Green Bay converted, en route to a game-opening field goal.
Worst Celebration: Eddie Lacy ran for 10 yards and a first down on Green Bay’s first drive. Brandon Meriweather tackled him and enthusiastically celebrated, which must have felt nice, since he’s been out for several millennia due to injury. Still, the Packers wound up with a first down, which is generally not a time for the defense to celebrate. The safety wound up injured later in the game when he lowered his helmet into a second Green Bay running back.
Worst Injury: With Kai Forbath injured, the Redskins appeared to have no faith in the kicking game under his replacement, John Potter. Mike Shanahan passed on two opportunities to attempt long field goals, then gave Potter a 50-yard attempt in the second half, which he promptly missed by about 75 yards. Get well soon, Kai.
Worst Analysis: ”It looks like his season’s gonna be over again,” Dr. Troy Aikman said in the second quarter, when Meriweather went down. Maybe yes, maybe no, but that’s a tough diagnosis to make in a matter of 10 seconds from a broadcast booth.
Best Analysis: “They’re kind of making RGIII look a little bit like R2D2, you know what I mean?” Michael Strahan said at halftime. Well, maybe that’s not great analysis, but it was more entertaining than what came before it.
Worst Tackling Technique: Using your head to tackle another guy by his head is not the recommended method. The Meriweather thing just isn’t a great long-term strategy in the modern NFL. Arms and shoulders are allowed. Why did he tackle two different running backs using head-on-head?
Worst Tackling Execution: David Amerson on James Jones. Sure, he’s a rookie, but darn if it didn’t seem like Amerson and Jones conducted several square dancing maneuvers as they waltzed together down the field. Yes, that’s a mixed dancing metaphor. That game scrambled my dancing knowledge. Also, Josh Wilson and 14 or so friends bounced off Jermichael Finley at one point in the second half.
(Third) Best Tweet: Larry Brown, everyone. Not right now he isn’t, anyhow.
#Redskins I am not certain that RGIII is comfortable as a pocket QB.
— Larry Brown (@LarryBrown43) September 15, 2013
Best Domination: On back to back plays in the first quarter, Ryan Kerrigan insisted on blasting past offensive linemen to sack Aaron Rodgers, leading to a 1st-and-goal from the 24-yard line. It doesn’t appear to matter who or how many are blocking Kerrigan; he still moves forward.
Worst Punt: Sav Rocca’s first punt sailed 25 yards and then out-of-bounds. Every Redskins fan in the world asked for the team to win the field-position battle this week. Giving Green Bay the ball at the 35 does not qualify. On the Packers’ ensuing punt, the Redskins were penalized for an illegal block, and thus began at their own 7. Since the sports Internet thrives on instant overreaction, let’s say this: Washington’s special teams have not shined in the first two weeks since Danny Smith’s departure.
Worst Call: Pierre Garcon’s third-quarter catch was very very very clearly a touchdown. It was conducted directly in front of an official. The man couldn’t have had a better angle. But the official decided it wasn’t a touchdown. The call was correctly reversed on replay, but that was a bafflingly poor call. (Via @recordsANDradio)
(Fourth) Best Tweet: Can’t argue with this one, either.
DC Sports needs more documentaries on young players, that seems to help their teams do better
— Chris Ford (@DCSportsNexus) September 15, 2013
Best Sign: Ok, Landover doesn’t quite have the history of Lambeau, but this was a nice offering from some of the Redskins fans who were in the building. Via @shannshep.
Worst Other Stat: Over the next seven days, you will see this statistic cited four billion times: Since the playoffs expanded to 12 teams in 1990, 0-2 teams have gone on to make the playoffs just 11.6 percent of the time. I took that from NFL.com in this case, but you will be able to take that from every other D.C. sports web site in the world within moments. The Redskins, by the way, are now 0-2.
Best quote: “You can’t overreact, but you know there’s a sense of urgency,” Mike Shanahan said. I actually agree with that sentiment entirely.
Worst Enjoyment: The amazing thing about the NFL is that every game — even those between league powers and league dregs — is competitive. Well, almost every game. As ESPN 980′s Kevin Sheehan pointed out, every 1 p.m. game on Sunday finished with a one-score margin of victory. Besides the Redskins’ game.
Worst Thing: The Redskins are 0-2 for the first time 2006. The year before, Washington had stormed into the playoffs with boundless potential and optimism. That next season started poorly, and ended poorly. There will be better days ahead, but this wasn’t how this season was supposed to begin.