I wrote Friday that it wasn’t out of the question that we would see a “good old ass-kicking” on Sunday. Let me tell you what an ass kicking is exactly what was handed in on Sunday. I was there, it was what happened. The Green and Gold dominated both sides of the ball after a brief slow start offensively. Aaron Rodgers was superhuman. James Starks ran behind an effective offensive line and James Jones had a career day. Sunday was a historic day for offensive production. The team’s MVP Rodgers tied Matt Flynn’s single game passing yardage record. He was the first player in the last 50 years to pass for 480+ and throw 4 TDs with no INT. The Packers became the first offense in league history to have a 425+ yd. passer and a 100 yard rusher in the same game.
Offensively the Packers got whatever they wanted after a sluggish first quarter. The offensive line shook off some early protection problems to keep Rodgers upright and he delivered. Aaron Rodgers got rid of the ball in an average of 2.5 seconds, which is the best way to “protect the protection”, and make a young offensive line look good. Jordy Nelson showed yesterday why he is truly elite as a red zone weapon, Cobb continued his tear, and Finley got in the end zone as well.
Defensively the Packers were dominant. Don’t let RGIII’s 300 yard day or Alfred Morris’ 100 yards rushing fool you, the Redskins got nothing for the first 3 quarters of play. The defensive line rotation is just awesome. Bringing in the BIG 3 (Jolly, Raji, Pickett) on running downs is really causing a problem and I’m in love with Neal’s new hybrid role, as he got his first career interception on Sunday. Mike Daniels is playing well also. The back end had some struggles towards the end of the game, but they eagerly await the returns of Morgan Burnett and Casey Hayward. Watch what happens this week when the opposing QB isn’t a running threat and the defensive front gets to “jet” rush.
Quote of the Week:
“Yeah, 480 yards, but how much of that was after the catch?” – Aaron Rodgers
He sure sounds like a crappy leader who has a bad relationship with his receivers. Hey Greg, if you think this is bad (and it is), just wait 2 years until Adrian Peterson is washed up!
1. Aaron Rodgers- Good lord is he good at football. In person it was sure something to see but when I went back and watched the tape, Rodgers really is a special talent throwing the football. He (correctly) gave his receivers a ton of credit for YAC, but one of the big reasons that his receivers are so successful getting yards after the catch is because of how well 12 is able to hit his receivers in stride. He allows the receivers to protect themselves over the middle and make people miss. The one play that truly showed how awesome he is was the second Nelson touchdown. The Redskins play a cover 2 scheme, but don’t overtly show it pre-snap. The corner covering up Jordy allows him an outside release and crashes flat to cover Ryan Taylor. Redskins S Baccari Rambo had Nelson’s deep responsibility and would have got there in time, but Rodgers uncorked a perfect laser to the front pylon on Nelson’s back shoulder. Touchdown.
2. Run blocking- The Packers finally broke their streak of not producing a 100 yard rusher, and instead of promising rookies Eddie Lacy or Jonathan Franklin, it was none other than old
unreliable, Mr. James Starks. I’m not going to discredit Starks’ game, but wow did the line block. the interior of Sitton, EDS, and Lang are improved over last season. Sitton is still getting used to playing on the left side, but Lang is playing very well at RG. He and Barclay are a good combo on that side. Bakhtiari is by no means dominant, but the improvement he brings over Newhouse in the running game is palpable.
3. Secondary- It’s crazy what happens when Jarrett Bush doesn’t play defense, right?! In all seriousness, the Packers shut down the Redskins passing game the entire time that the outcome was even remotely in question. When you see that the Packers were without 2 of their best 4 DBs and were still able to play that well without a real pass rush was remarkable. Davon House played particularly well, even forcing Micah Hyde off the field in some nickel situations and picking up a sack on a corner blitz. This unit could be scary when the pass rush picks up and Hayward/Burnett return.
1. Pass rush- I’m a little worried. I’m a little worried because I don’t know when the lights are going to come on for Datone Jones. It flat out takes defensive lineman at least a year to really “get it” on the NFL level with very few exceptions. (Side note: people giving up on Jerel Worthy because he’s “unproven” are insane). So if they are going to send out Jones and Mike Neal (who all of a sudden is undersized as a DL) to team with Perry and Matthews, the honus is really going to be on Nick Perry to fix the pass rush. He has to be able to get to the QB against one on one blocking so the offensive line can’t take away Matthews. Datone Jones is going to be a good (if not great) NFL player but it might not happen next week and it might not happen this season. I’d like to see the Packers use Raji and Daniels a little bit more than they are in sub.
2. Brandon Meriweather- I hate to say it, but he’s a dirty player. I also hate to say it, but he kinda got what he deserved on Sunday. He was fined $50,000 in 2010 for helmet to helmet contact and he continues to be a problem. He knocked Eddie Lacy out of the game by launching himself at the rookie runner’s facemask. He then knocked himself out by trying to do the same thing to James Starks. His kind of targeting is unsafe for the rest of the league (and himself) and he needs to be fined heavily for being a repeat offender.
3. Pac 12 officiating crew in Tempe- People of Wisconsio, I bleed for you.
Bottom Line: This game confirmed a lot of my thoughts about this year’s team. First of all, I believe this team to be elite. They partially proved it by sticking with the NFC champs on the road, and they proved it yesterday by destroying a playoff team from last season. The most exciting part about the 2013 Packers is the fact that they are going to improve and develop as a football team every single week. Every single week David Bakhtiari gets better. Every single week Sitton and Lang become more comfortable in their positions. Every single week MD Jennings and Jerron McMillian learn what it takes to play safety in the NFL. Every single week Nick Perry becomes more comfortable as an OLB. I watched the Bengals on Monday night, and they might be good, but they aren’t in the same class as the Packers.