ReFo: WAS @ GB, Week 2
Well that was easy. For the Green Bay Packers at least. Fans of Washington will no doubt have found that viewing as tough as their team found tackling in a pitiful display of making life easy for your opponent.
But let’s not take credit away from a ruthlessly efficient display from a near-perfect Packers team who moved the ball at will on the ground and in the air. It was a timely reminder to any foolish enough to write them off after a loss in San Francisco that they’re still a team to watch.
Let’s look at the most noteworthy performances.
Washington – Three Performances of Note
It wasn’t all bad for Team Shanahan mind you. One performance stood out as something really quite special as Trent Williams (+5.6) coped with Clay Matthews. He was perfect in pass protection and allowed no pressure whatsoever in 46 pass blocking situations. It’s just a shame he didn’t have more than 15 plays in the running game to strut his stuff with some of his work being of top quality. While it’s hard to tell whether Johnny Jolly was injured during the block or at the end of it, there’s no denying the dominance exhibited by Williams with 8:08 to go in the third quarter. He drove Jolly back 10 yards and then finished it by putting him on the ground as his back scampered for a 32-yard gain.
When you’re starting life out in the NFL as a cornerback, you can expect days not to go very well. But you hope they don’t go as badly as this one did for David Amerson (-5.5). To say it didn’t go well would be an understatement as he was picked on to the tune of four receptions for 126 yards, with a penalty thrown in for good measure. It wasn’t just getting beat for yardage that was the problem, but two missed tackles were on him and he was saved from giving up a touchdown by an offensive holding call at the line of scrimmage. He’ll have nightmares with Jordy Nelson and James Jones in them.
It’s not often I devote a paragraph to tackling, and I don’t use this word lightly. But the effort of Washington to bring down the Packers’ ball carriers was pathetic. Nothing quite summed it up as well with 10:09 to go in the third quarter when Jermichael Finley broke three tackles in about three seconds. The team combined for a terrible 16 missed tackles with Reed Doughty and Josh Wilson missing 10 of them. That’s not good enough, and when you combine that with a feeble performance from their inside linebackers (rarely have I seen Perry Riley look so tentative while London Fletcher failed to shed any blocks of note), you understand why they provided the shot in the arm that ignited this Packers’ rushing attack.
Packers – Three Performances of Note
We’ve seen Aaron Rodgers (+4.6) play better, but he may never have made it look so easy as he did against a woeful Redskins’ defense. Clearly the Packers are working to get the ball out of his hands and the end game is that 33 of his 46 dropbacks saw him get rid of the ball within 2.5 seconds. That 71.7% score is the highest of any quarterback in Week 2.
In any case, he often let his playmakers do the damage with 280 of the Packers’ receiving yards coming after the catch. That’s not to say Rodgers didn’t make some sublime throws like his back shoulder touchdown pass to Nelson (8:20 in Q3), because he did. Instead it’s more to point out that the coverage never really tested him as others have. Green Bay won’t mind and will be hoping for more of the same going forward.
Pass Rushing Impotency
If there was one disappointing thing, it was how little pressure the team generated. Despite the Redskins dropping back to pass on 44 occasions, they were only faced with pressure on 10 plays. Nothing highlighted this quite as much as the one pressure from Clay Matthews that came late in the game. It’s not like they didn’t have time to rush the passer with Robert Griffin III averaging 2.5 seconds to throw per dropback (with 16 over 2.5 seconds), it’s just that they couldn’t find a way through the Redskins’ line.
Lining up to be Stars
They’ve come in with a lot of criticism recently but it’s only fair to recognize just how well the Packers’ offensive line played. They regularly dominated the Redskins at the point of attack, getting the kind of lateral movement that set up big cutback lanes for James Starks to reach the second level and make Washington pay. While the unit would pick up a +6.3 rushing grade, the star of the show was T.J. Lang (+4.8). Featuring a near-flawless display, he was perfect in pass protection and added some good work in the run game. Whether it was sealing at the line or getting to the second level (Q1, 13:08) he was a big part of the Packers breaking their 100-yard rusher drought.
– RG3 was only pressured on 10 plays and could only average 4.3 yards per attempt when he was.
– After picking up two early sacks, Ryan Kerrigan could muster just one more pressure on his 38 total pass rushes.
– Rookie Datone Jones rushed the passer 18 times and didn’t generate a single pressure.
He was efficient in dissecting the Redskins’ defense. He, of course, is Aaron Rodgers.
Follow Khaled on Twitter: @PFF_Khaled