GB-WAS Grades: Packers secondary forces a bad game out of Cousins

The top takeaways and highest-graded players from the Packers 35-18 win over the Redskins.

| 1 year ago
(AP Photo/Bob Leverone)

(AP Photo/Bob Leverone)

GB-WAS Grades: Packers secondary forces a bad game out of Cousins

Here are the top takeaways and highest-graded players from the Packers’ 35-18 Wild-Card win over the Redskins.

Green Bay Packers

–After the turnstiles at left tackle the past few weeks without David Bakhtiari, J.C. Tretter and his +.4 overall grade was exactly what the offense needed. The early safety the left tackle ceded wasn’t a particularly bad beat, and after that he didn’t allow a single pressure the rest of the game. The offensive line as a whole allowed a mere four pressures the entire game in what was as dominant a pass blocking effort as I’ve seen all year.

–Even though Green Bay put up 35 points, it wasn’t because Aaron Rodgers (-1.9) suddenly fixed his inaccuracy issues. The QB had nine of his 33 passes arrive off target, a very high rate. He struggled throwing the corner route in particular. Outside of the gimme touchdown to Davante Adams, Rodgers overshot three open corner routes to Randall Cobb. The big difference in the offense was their playmakers living up to that namesake. James Jones (+3.1), Randall Cobb (+1.8), and Davante Adams (+1.0) all graded positively for the first time since week 9.

–The newfound offense will grab the headlines, but the Green Bay secondary was the real story of this game. Casey Hayward (+3.2), Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (+3.5), and Quinten Rollins(+2.0) combined to allow 39 total yards on 6-12 targets. Hayward himself totaled five defensive stops to lead all defenders in the game. Micah Hyde (-2.6) was the only member of the secondary to truly struggle after he drew the short straw of having to guard Jordan Reed all day.

Top performers:

FS Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (+3.5)
CB Casey Hayward (+3.2)
WR James Jones (+3.1)
LG Josh Sitton (+2.8)
RG T.J. Lang (+2.3)


–It certainly wasn’t a pretty day from Kirk Cousins (-4.7). His accuracy down the field was night and day from the quarterback we’ve seen the past few weeks. On passes targeted between 10-20 yards down the field, Cousins was only 2-of-10 passing for 36 yards. Green Bay forced check down after check down from Cousins and continually made the play. 17 of Cousins 29 completions came between the numbers and within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage.

–Jordan Reed (+2.5) was seemingly the only person on the Redskins offense capable of making plays Sunday. Even he had his miscues though, with an early drop on third down and a false start penalty late in the game. The good considerably outweighed the bad for him though, as he saw a third of the Redskins targets (15) and turned them into over a third of the Redskins receiving yards (120).

–After being a solid replacement for so much of the season, Will Blackmon (-4.4) chose the wrong time to play his worst football of the season. The corner allowed 6-10 targets for 88 yards and a touchdown. His effort on the Packers two point conversion was also less than stellar. The struggles in the secondary were at least in a way tied to the complete lack of a pass rush. No player on the Redskins had a pass rushing grade higher than +.1 and only four total players even recorded pressures.

Top performers:

TE Jordan Reed (+2.5)
RG Brandon Scherff (+2.5)
RT Morgan Moses (+1.7)
ILB Mason Foster (+1.6)
FS DeAngelo Hall (+1.3)

| Senior Analyst

Mike is a Senior Analyst at Pro Football Focus. His work has also been featured on The Washington Post, ESPN Insider, and 120 Sports.

  • Hagai

    Something is badly broke in this grading system if Bridgewater is graded better than Rodgers for their games yesterday.
    No logic at all in their respective grades.

    • Mike

      I agree that the system seems broken but to complain about Rodgers’ grade? He was off again yesterday…

      • Samuel Myers

        The problem is no one has a convincing system for grading QBs. PFF has some merit in that they rate the accuracy and value of throws, not just the outcome — an incompletion that is on-point can be a positively graded play, while a poor throw into coverage that the receiver rescues can be negative. Likewise, a beautiful 30-yard pass right into the receivers’ hands receives a higher grade than a short pass that results in a 30-yard gain — part of the problem here though is that QBs that consistently make accurate short passes and give receivers a chance to make a play by virtue of placement and timing are actually much rarer than the PFF-system seems to indicate. Recognition of the best opportunity to generate yardage is a fundamental skill among all great QBs and one that most mediocre or replacement-level QBs cannot display consistently.

        Also, fumbles, interceptions, and inaccurate throws seem to carry too much grading weight when compared to good decisions that result in points. There also is no bump in grade for the game situation, at least I don’t believe so, and that limits the clutch factor. With all that said, Rodgers had an up-and-down game; the running game and the defense won the game last night.

        • Hagai

          I agree with you mostly, but let’s take the TD to Adams for example.
          Adams was wide open and I’m sure Rodgers didn’t get a positive grade for a gimme throw, but looking closely at the play it was all Rodges eyes and head that got Adams free.
          Rodgers was looking at the flat all the way and as a result the D left Adams alone.
          As for the running game – it was the passing game that demanded at last the D’s respect and opened the lanes for the RB’s. Although You can’t grade Rodgers for it, we can atleast give him credit for a very good game (which the media acknowledge BTW).

          • Tadams

            This is one of the great things about football – We get to discuss the nuances of the game.

    • bigtrip

      I thought Rodgers was terrible yesterday. In his 1 of 8 start he never set his feet and threw the ball while drifting backwards on several of those throws while missing wide open guys. He looks like a guy that is gun shy from all the hits he has taken in recent weeks.

      • Hagai

        Yeah, and after that he was 20 of 28 and elowing his recievers plenty of time to get open with his feet (with the help of the OL).
        He was great for 3 qtr and led his team to 35 pts in 2 quarters more or less with most of the 4th not needing to throw.
        You don’t do that if your QB isn’t great.
        I’m starting to lean towards ESPN’s QBR more than PFF in reflecting what my eyes see on the field.

        • Backinmd

          The second half Rodgers couldn’t miss… He looked like the Rogers of old – Great ..The Ariz. game Rogers took a pounding and the second half, he was downright shell-shocked …The 1st half of Redskin game – well he didn’t play that well but made up for it in the second half — he couldn’t miss …

    • James Winslow

      Nah rodgers was bad last game there was nothing solid about his performance. But who cares, everyone else on the packers played well.

    • lewk

      I’m curious how much outside of pure passing is graded. Rodgers accuracy was definitely not what we’ve come to expect, but other aspects of his game have been superb. I wonder if he’s getting credit for all the offsides and 12 men penalties, penalties which a lesser quarterback probably doesn’t capitalize on. The success of the run game late in the game was in many ways a byproduct of Aaron’s ability to run the offense at that pace. I don’t think everything he does for the team can be measured.

  • bigtrip

    Washington’s defense was the issue not Cousins as the article implies. Washington didn’t get any pressure on Rodgers and couldn’t stop the run against a bad OL. Some of Cousins’ and Rodgers’ accuracy issues were due to the high winds.

    • SeattleSteve

      packer’s offensive line isn’t that bad, they’re just battered as heck with injuries.

      • ss

        You’re misconstruing what he said. The Packers Oline was bad because the players they had playing were bad. He’s obviously referring to the guys on the field. Not the one’s in the trainer’s room.

        • John Cuevas

          The guys playing on the line were 4 of the 5 preferred starters of the Packers…you don’t know what you are talking about

  • Justin O’Donnell

    The problem with this model, this time around, is that it doesn’t account for the extreme wind gusts from the game. The author should have at least mentioned it as a caveat. That’s what was to blame for both Cousins’ and Rodgers’ inaccuracy.

  • Backinmd

    Rogers played two different games ..1st half he was below average ..2nd half he looked like the rogers of old — Great ! ….Lacy looked slow, fat and out of shape but Redskins defensive like made him look like an All Pro on that long run in the 2nd half …. ..

  • Backinmd

    Bridgewater didn’t impress me — seemed kind of gun shy before he threw the ball ..Rodgers was the better player QB overall, especially in the second half …