Washington Redskins’ first-half struggles continue in 38-20 loss to Green Bay Packers

September 15, 2013

The pattern has become all too familiar to the Washington Redskins only two games into their season: They start so slowly they’re out of games by halftime.

The Redskins allowed the game’s first 31 points here Sunday, 24 of them in the first half, and their record dropped to 0-2 with a 38-20 loss to the Green Bay Packers.

“That’s exactly what’s happened these first couple games,” linebacker Ryan Kerrigan said. “We’ve dug ourselves too big a hole. It’s offense. It’s defense. It’s the whole team. So we’ve all got to pick it up.”

The Redskins have been outscored, 50-7, in the opening halves of their first two games. They trailed the Philadelphia Eagles, 26-7, at halftimelast Monday night. They were behind the Packers, 24-0, on Sunday at Lambeau Field.

“We’re trying to figure it out. . . . We just have to start the game off as if we’re down 14-zip or something,” wide receiver Pierre Garcon said. “We just have to make plays at the beginning of the game. We have to make the tough catches. We have to gain the tough yards. We have to make plays to get the energy of the offense up.”

The Redskins’ only first-half points in their two games came on a bizarre fumble return by cornerback DeAngelo Hall in the opener after a would-be pass by Eagles quarterback Michael Vick was ruled a lateral and no Philadelphia players even chased Hall.

“We’ve just got to be able to get out here and get going,” cornerback Josh Wilson said. “We get some stops here or there. But we’ve got to make sure it’s consecutive. We’ve got to get off the field on third down, fourth down. We’ve just got to get off the field. It’s a group effort that we’ve just got to make plays.”

The defense struggled in the opener to deal with the fast-paced offensive system of Chip Kelly, the Eagles’ first-year coach. It struggled even more Sunday attempting to slow down Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. He threw for 335 yards and three touchdowns in the first half.

“Philly is a great scheme,” Wilson said. “The Packers is a great quarterback. At the end of the day, I’m glad we got this early. I’m glad that we got this test early that we get to really make sure that we’ve got all our T’s crossed and I’s dotted as the season goes on and we make this right and take it all the way to January and February.”

Redskins players said they were at a loss to pinpoint specific reasons for the slow starts.

“I couldn’t tell you what’s the reason,” wide receiver Santana Moss said. “I’m just trying to make sure we don’t get in that situation. That’s all I can tell you.”

But several players and Coach Mike Shanahan expressed the belief the team will get its problems worked out, just as it did last season when it followed a 3-6 start with seven straight wins.

“Our football team, you get in here and you do get embarrassed,” Shanahan said. “This team has been very, very good. I think we’ve got the mind-set, the toughness in our football team to get back to work on Wednesday, look at it very hard, be tough on ourselves and get ready for Detroit.”

The Redskins host the Detroit Lions next weekend.

“We just need to go ahead and be us,” Wilson said. “We need to go out there and do what we know we can do, what we’re capable of doing. We have the talent. We have the team to go out here and be great. We’ve just got to step up to the plate and do it.”

But nose tackle Barry Cofield cautioned that the Redskins can’t just assume that another turnaround will happen. They have to do the things necessary to bring it about, he said.

“It concerns me because it doesn’t just happen,” Cofield said. “We made a choice last year. We did things to get better, and we went out and executed. So it wasn’t just the seasons changed and all of a sudden things got easier. We had to play better. We had to do better. We’ve got to make that choice, and we’ve got to go out there and execute. Until I see us put together a full game, I’m going to be concerned.”

Mark Maske covers the NFL for The Washington Post.
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