Deep shots pay off: After Alex Smith dinked and dunked his way to 292 yards passing on 46 attempts against the Colts, the Redskins faced questions all week about why they didn’t take more shots downfield. Smith, who is known for his patience and his take-what-the-defense-gives-you approach, suggested that he could’ve been more aggressive last week. He didn’t waste any time taking a chance against the Packers. The Redskins needed only four plays to march 75 yards for a touchdown on their opening possession. They scored on a 46-yard pass from Smith to Paul Richardson Jr., who was well covered when Smith released the ball. Later in the quarter, Smith looked Richardson’s way again and drew a 22-yard pass interference penalty on rookie cornerback Jaire Alexander that helped set up Washington’s second touchdown. Smith finished with 220 yards passing — all but six of them in the first half — on 20 attempts. That’s efficient.
Defense gets pressure: The Redskins entered the game with the NFL’s No. 1 ranked defense, and while their performance wasn’t flawless, they did more than enough to earn a win against one of the league’s best quarterbacks. Greg Manusky’s unit, which managed only one sack against Andrew Luck last week, got to a hobbled Aaron Rodgers four times. Matt Ioannidis had his third sack in three games, Jonathan Allen had two sacks and his former Alabama teammate, rookie Daron Payne, registered the first sack of his career. Washington benefited from several Green Bay miscues, including two bad drops by Randall Cobb and a drop by Lance Kendricks that hit the tight end directly in the hands, but the Redskins’ defense also made opportunistic plays when it needed to. Josh Norman’s fumble recovery after Fabian Moreau stripped Cobb of the ball late in the fourth quarter all but iced the game.
Second-half sluggishness: For the second time in three weeks, the Redskins’ offense looked unstoppable in the first half and inept for most of the second half. During the season opener at Arizona it didn’t much matter, as Sam Bradford and the Cardinals’ offense played just as poorly after halftime, but with Rodgers on the other sideline, Sunday’s outcome was in doubt until late in the fourth quarter. Washington ran 13 plays for 21 yards on their first four possessions of the second half, all of which ended in punts. With games against the Saints and Panthers looming after the bye, the Redskins have two weeks to figure out how to put a complete game together.
Game highlights and analysis
It’s in the books: Jonathan Allen sacked Aaron Rodgers to set up fourth-and-22 on Green Bay’s final desperation drive and a Rodgers heave on the next play fell incomplete to turn the ball back over to the Redskins on downs. (Redskins 31, Packers 17, 0:46 4th Quarter)
Redskins extend lead to 31-17: Dustin Hopkins drilled a 35-yard field goal after the two-minute warning to give Washington a 14-point advantage. (Redskins 31, Packers 17, 1:58 4th Quarter)
Washington burns clock: For the first time in the second half, the Redskins have put together a drive of more than four plays, and that could spell the end of the Packers’ comeback hopes. Adrian Peterson is finishing strong and is up to 120 yards rushing on 19 carries. At the two-minute warning, Washington faces a fourth-and-nine at the Green Bay 17-yard line. (Redskins 28, Packers 17, 2:00 4th Quarter)
Redskins come away with a turnover: Washington’s first takeaway of the game came at an opportune time and Randall Cobb’s day went from bad to worse. With less than six minutes to play, Redskins cornerback Fabian Moreau ripped the football out of Cobb’s hands as he went to the ground after a short completion and Josh Norman recovered for Washington at the Green Bay 46-yard line. (Redskins 28, Packers 17, 5:23 4th Quarter)
Still a lot of time: The Redskins ran three plays and burned only 1:31 off the clock on their latest possession. Adrian Peterson has rushing yards in the second half after 87 in the first two quarters. It’s Green Bay’s ball again. (Redskins 28, Packers 17, 5:55 4th Quarter)
Pressure pays off: With the Packers facing third-and-five from their own 46-yard line and less than eight minutes remaining, Ryan Kerrigan drew a holding penalty on Packers’ guard Lucas Patrick. Green Bay’s Ty Montgomery and Jimmy Graham were looking for flags for defensive holding on the play, but none came, Washington declined the penalty and the Packers, for some reason, decided to punt. (Redskins 28, Packers 17, 7:26 4th Quarter)
Another Redskins punt: After a three-and-0ut, the Redskins have run 10 plays for 17 yards and Alex Smith has six passing yards since halftime. Can the defense hang on? (Redskins 28, Packers 17, 10:34 4th Quarter)
Big drop bails out the Redskins: Aaron Rodgers’ receivers aren’t doing him any favors. On third-and-10 from the Green Bay 16, Rodgers bounced around in the pocket before lofting a perfect pass down the right sideline to Lance Kendricks. The ball hit the tight end directly in the hands, but Kendricks couldn’t hang on, and the Packers’ fourth drop of the day led to another punt. (Redskins 28, Packers 17, 12:37 4th Quarter)
Packers force a punt: The Redskins failed to capitalize after the gift roughing the passer penalty on Clay Matthews. A holding penalty on Vernon Davis and a false start on Ty Nsekhe put Washington in a third-and-long situation and the Redskins were ultimately forced to punt the ball away. (Redskins 28, Packers 17, 14:35, 4th Quarter)
Controversial call benefits Redskins: Clay Matthews can’t buy a break. The Packers’ linebacker was whistled for his third roughing the passer penalty of the season for landing on Alex Smith with his full bodyweight (ridiculously, that’s a penalty now) after a sack late in the third quarter. The same penalty call on Matthews cost the Packers a win against the Vikings last week. On Sunday, it negated what would’ve been a 17-yard loss and moved Washington into Green Bay territory with an 11-point lead. Matthews and Packers Coach Mike McCarthy were both irate, and for good reason. (Redskins 28, Packers 17, 1:50 3rd Quarter)
Clay Matthews was running directly at Alex Smith, tackled him and landed on him. There was no way not to land on him. Meanwhile, Aaron Rodgers was spun to the ground and thrown down earlier with no call. There has to be a consistent standard.— MarkMaske (@MarkMaske) September 23, 2018
Important call goes Redskins’ way: With 2:33 remaining in the third quarter, Green Bay went for it on fourth-and-two from the Washington 43-yard-line. Aaron Rodgers hit Randall Cobb for what was ruled a completion on the field, but the Redskins challenged the call, as Cobb didn’t catch the ball cleanly and it appeared to hit the ground as he went to the ground. The call was overturned upon replay review. Earlier in the drive, Redskins rookie Daron Payne registered his first career sack. After that play, Rodgers complained to the referee, who left his mic on, that Payne slammed him into the ground. (Redskins 28, Packers 17, 2:33 3rd Quarter)
Referee leaves mic on, picks up Aaron Rodgers saying after sack by Daron Payne: “I don’t want to complain for a call, but he kind of slammed me on my head on that one.”— MarkMaske (@MarkMaske) September 23, 2018
Redskins go three-and-out: Green Bay’s defense got the stop it needed, forcing a Tress Way punt for only the second time today. The Redskins’ defense didn’t get much of a rest after being on the field for more than seven minutes on the Packers’ previous possession. This feels like an important series. (Redskins 28, Packers 17, 5:33 3rd Quarter)
Packers open second half with a touchdown: Despite being in obvious pain, Aaron Rodgers led the Packers on a 15-play, 75-yard touchdown drive on their first possession of the second half. Green Bay converted four third downs on the drive, with Rodgers scampering, knee brace and all, 10 yards on third-and-three from the Washington 25-yard line. Rodgers found Davante Adams on a two-yard touchdown pass one play after a 13-yard completion to Jimmy Graham on third-and-10. (Redskins 28, Packers 17, 7:58 3rd Quarter)
Injury updates: Fox’s Pam Oliver reports that Packers defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson was taken to the hospital with an ankle injury and is out for the remainder of the game. Green Bay tackle Bryan Bulaga’s is questionable to return with a back injury, while Redskins tackle Morgan Moses is out with a concussion.
Halftime: Redskins 28, Packers 10
Well, that was something. The Redskins continued their Jekyll and Hyde act, looking much more like the team that dominated the Cardinals in Week 1 than the team that struggled to do much of anything offensively against the Colts last week. And unlike the Cardinals, the Packers are supposedly good. Alex Smith passed for 215 yards and two touchdowns and Adrian Peterson rushed for 87 yards and two touchdowns in the first half to account for Washington’s scoring. Packers’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers is 9 for 15 for 126 yards, with more than half of those coming on a 64-yard touchdown strike to Geronimo Allison.
Skins have 28 points, 323 yards and are averaging 9.8 yards per play late in the first half against Green Bay. If you say you saw this coming, I'm filing perjury charges.— Jerry Brewer (@JerryBrewer) September 23, 2018
Wild first half ends with a botched field goal attempt: The Packers lined up for a 61-yard field goal attempt with three seconds remaining before halftime, but a bad snap didn’t give Mason Crosby a chance.
Redskins extend their lead before halftime: Defense is optional and age is just a number at FedEx Field today. The Redskins answered Green Bay’s four-play touchdown drive with a well executed two-minute drill that resulted in a touchdown of their own. Alex Smith’s 50-yard pass to 34-year-old Vernon Davis down the right sideline was the key play of the drive, which was capped by a short touchdown run by 33-year-old Adrian Peterson. Fox rules expert Dean Blandino said Peterson appeared to be down short of the goal line, but officials determined there wasn’t indisputable evidence to overturn the call on the field. Peterson’s second touchdown of the game stood.(Redskins 28, Packers 10, 0:21 2nd Quarter)
Aaron Rodgers and the Packers answer: The Redskins had to have been feeling pretty good about themselves after taking a 21-3 lead with less than five minutes remaining in the first half, but no lead is safe against Aaron Rodgers. Just ask the Bears. On the fourth play of Green Bay’s ensuing drive, Rodgers hit wide receiver Geronimo Allison in stride for a 64-yard touchdown before the two-minute warning. There seemed to be some miscommunication in the Redskins’ secondary on the play, as Allison ran right past Josh Norman and D.J. Swearinger, neither of whom showed any intention of defending him, to get open. (Redskins 21, Packers 10, 2:15 2nd Quarter)
Redskins add to their lead with Jamison Crowder touchdown catch: Backed up at their own 2-yard line, the Redskins mounted their most impressive drive of the young season. A 34-yard completion to Jordan Reed on third down from the shadow of their own end zone, a 41-yard run by Adrian Peterson that prompted Fox play-by-play man Kevin Burkhardt to wonder ‘Is this 2012?’ and a seven-yard scramble by Alex Smith to pick up a first down in the red zone were the key plays of the drive. Smith capped it with a nine-yard strike to Jamison Crowder for the slot receiver’s first touchdown catch of the year. (Redskins 21, Packers 3, 4:26 2nd Quarter)
Washington’s defense holds: The Packers failed to capitalize on the first turnover of the game, as the Redskins forced a punt after Aaron Rodgers overthrew Randall Cobb on third-and-long. Washington’s defensive line has done a better job of generating pressure against Rodgers than they did against Andrew Luck last week. On Green Bay’s latest drive, Matt Ioannidis registered a sack for the third consecutive game. (Redskins 14, Packers 3, 7:40 2nd Quarter)
Redskins’ thin offensive line gets thinner: Morgan Moses is officially out for the rest of the game with a concussion.
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix gives Green Bay the ball back: Alex Smith won’t go the entire season without committing a turnover. One play after a 15-yard completion to Jordan Reed, Smith looked the tight end’s way again, but Reed appeared to stop his route as Clinton-Dix made an easy interception along the sideline at the Green Bay 45-yard line. (Redskins 14, Packers 3, 11:20 2nd Quarter)
Mason Crosby puts the Packers on the board: Green Bay entered the red zone for the first time on its third drive, but a holding penalty on Bryan Bulaga negated a long scramble by Aaron Rodgers on third down and the Packers were forced to settle for a 41-yard Mason Crosby field goal. Green Bay running back Aaron Jones, who is making his season debut after being suspended for the first two games, had two carries for 18 yards on the drive. The Packers have already been penalized five times for 57 yards. (Redskins 14, Packers 3, 12:52 2nd Quarter)
Redskins take a 14-0 lead on Adrian Peterson touchdown run: A lot happened on the Redskins’ third drive, a nine-play, 77-yard march that culminated in the 101st rushing touchdown of Peterson’s career. A 15-yard taunting penalty on Vernon Davis early in the drive threatened to slow Washington’s momentum, but the Packers — and the officials — were in a generous mood. Pass interference penalties on Green Bay cornerbacks Jaire Alexander and Tramon Williams on consecutive plays gave the Redskins a first-and-10 on the Packers’ 28-yard line. Five plays later, including an Alex Smith scramble to move the chains on third down, Packers cornerback Davon House was whistled for pass interference in the end zone while defending Josh Doctson. That set up the TD run by Peterson, who already has more rushing yards in one quarter today (34) than he had all last week (20). Redskins tackle Morgan Moses was injured during the drive and taken to the locker room to be evaluated for a possible concussion. (Redskins 14, Packers 0, 2:14 1st Quarter)
Another drop, another punt: Blame it on the rain? It would’ve been a difficult catch, but Green Bay’s second possession ended when Davante Adams dropped a pass thrown slightly behind him by Aaron Rodgers. The Packers’ QB is 1 for 4 for eight yards thus far. (Redskins 7, Packers 0, 8:18 1st Quarter)
Redskins go three-and-out: Washington’s second possession went nowhere. A one-yard Adrian Peterson run was followed by a pair of Alex Smith incompletions, the second forced by Clay Matthews’ pressure up the middle. Green Bay’s second drive will start at the Washington 23-yard line after a block in the back penalty on Randall Cobb’s punt return. (Redskins 7, Packers 0, 9:49 1st Quarter)
Packers forced to punt: Green Bay picked up one first down on its first possession on a 10-yard run by Jamaal Williams, but the Redskins, who boast the NFL’s top-ranked defense after two weeks (really), responded by putting the Packers behind the chains with Jonathan Allen’s seven-yard sack of Aaron Rodgers. Randall Cobb let what would’ve been a first-down completion slip through his hands on third-and-long, leading to the first punt of the game. (Redskins 7, Packers 0, 10:55 1st Quarter)
Redskins take an early lead on Alex Smith’s long touchdown pass: That was fast. After answering questions all week about why they didn’t take more deep shots in last week’s loss to the Colts, the Redskins are apparently determined to take a different approach against the Packers. One play after Alex Smith and Vernon Davis hooked up for a 20-yard completion on third down, Smith found Paul Richardson Jr. deep over the middle. Richardson fell down three yards short of the goal line, but was never touched, and had the sense to get up and dive into the end zone for a 46-yard touchdown. Washington couldn’t have asked for a better start. (Redskins 7, Packers 0, 12:54 1st Quarter)
Packers win the toss: Green Bay deferred to the second half, giving Alex Smith and the Redskins’ offense a chance to set the tone early. Last week, the Colts marched 75 yards down the field on their opening possession for a touchdown and never trailed.
Pregame Washington’s honorary captain for the game is Wizards point guard and Cowboys fan John Wall.
The Redskins’ inactives don’t feature any real surprises. Running back Kapri Bibbs, recently promoted from the practice squad, is active, while Samaje Perine is not. Newly acquired wide receiver Michael Floyd is also inactive.
The forecast calls for steady rain at kickoff and intermittent showers throughout. It would be a good day for the Redskins to establish the run, which is easier said than done given how the offensive line performed last week.
Washington Redskins (1-1) vs. Green Bay Packers (1-0-1) Kickoff: 1 p.m., FedEx Field TV: Fox | Radio: 630, 980 AM; 92.7, 94.3, 105.9 FM | Line: Packers by 3 Box score: Updates every 60 seconds here
After being limited to three field goals in last week’s loss to the Colts, the Redskins’ offense will look to rebound at home against the Packers. Washington’s running game, which was dominant in Week 1 at Arizona, was non-existent in Week 2, with Adrian Peterson and Chris Thompson combining for 21 yards on 15 carries. Meanwhile, Alex Smith passed for fewer than 300 yards and no touchdowns on 46 attempts, many of them of the dump-off variety to Thompson and tight end Jordan Reed. The last time the Packers visited FedEx Field, on Nov. 20, 2016, Kirk Cousins threw for 375 yards and three touchdowns in a 42-24 Redskins win on “Sunday Night Football.” Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers threw three touchdown passes in that game as well, and while Rodgers is dealing with a sprained MCL suffered in the season opener, he looked sharp in last week’s tie against the Vikings. If the Redskins are to improve to 2-1, it will likely require getting more pressure on Rodgers than they managed against Andrew Luck, who was sacked only once. This post will be updated throughout the game.
An earlier version of this story stated that the Redskins improved to 2-1 for the first time since 2008.