When the visitors’ locker room opened at Lambeau Field following the Washington Redskins’ 38-20 loss to the Green Bay Packers, barely a sound could be heard. Some players dressed in silence. Others sat in their lockers entranced, replaying the game in their heads, miffed that they had put on another disastrous performance on both sides of the ball.
Eventually a few here and there began speaking because reporters approached them, asking for their takes on what had gone wrong. But the Redskins could offer few answers.
All agreed that an inability to sustain drives was to blame, but they didn’t know why they had whiffed on their first seven third-down conversion attempts. On defense, poor coverage and tackling enabled the packers to pile up 580 yards and 38 points. But no defensive players knew why they had executed so poorly.
“I think there was a clear difference between this week’s first half and last week’s first half,” quarterback Robert Griffin III said after he slowly dressed in silence and finally made his way to the podium. “We hurt ourselves a lot on turnovers last week, you know. And this week, it wasn’t necessarily turnovers. But talking to guys in the locker room, we can’t really put our finger on what it is, and that’s the real frustrating part.”
Griffin completed only six of 13 first-half passes, and threw incompletions on all but one third-down play. That one completion was stopped short of the first down marker, however. The line struggled to protect the quarterback on his drop-back passes, and Griffin and his receivers seemed out of sync. Some passes went behind receivers while the pass-catchers dropped others.
“We just didn’t make plays. It’s nothing they did do,” wide receiver Pierre Garcon said. “I guess it was we didn’t convert on third downs, need to play basic football, got to make plays for the quarterback. I’ve got to make plays, make catches, get first downs, make plays. We left a lot of points out there that gave the ball back to Green Bay. We’ve got the talent in the room to make plays. We just have to work hard throughout the week to make drives.”
For a second straight week, Griffin and the offense got things going in the second half once they found themselves facing a large deficit.
Garcon said Green Bay continued to blitz and remained in man-to-man coverage just as the unit had in the first half. So, Griffin said that he couldn’t really pinpoint what changed in those late stages in the game.
Said safety Reed Doughty: “I don’t know what specifically each individual team is doing, but it feels like the big thing is third downs right now, and just not getting off the field. I don’t know what the percentages are right now, but we were not on punt return team a whole lot. So, we were getting some okay stops on first or second down, but we could not get off the field.”
The Packers in the first half converted three of six third downs for first downs. But they also scored quickly needing only four plays to score on four different possessions, and less than 10 plays to score on three others.
“It is frustrating because we feel like we’ve got the talent and the coaching to be a good defense,” linebacker Ryan Kerrigan said. “We haven’t played like that. So we have to get better.”
Asked if he knew how he and his teammates could get better, Kerrigan said. “Not right now,” and added that they first needed to watch film from the game.
Griffin said the team can’t lose faith.
“You’ve got to trust your preparation, and I think we do that,” he said. “We trusted our preparation for the first game, and it didn’t work. We trusted our preparation for the second game, and that didn’t work. So you just can’t totally jump ship. It’s not that time, and I don’t think this team will ever do that.”