Monday, January 11, 2016

2015 Wild Card: Packers Beat Redskins in D.C. 35-18

The first 17 minutes of their playoff game felt like a lot of recent Green Bay Packer games. The offense couldn't get anything going, and the pass protection was letting QB Aaron Rodgers down (new starting LT JC Tretter was bull rushed for a sack and safety in the 1st quarter). At that point it was Redskins 11, Packers 0, and it should have been even worse if not for a missed extra point and a poor job by WR DeSean Jackson to not reach for a touchdown.

But then the Packers offense scored on their next 5 possessions for 32 points. This touchdown was the point at which I felt like they were going to win.
On offense, what went right was their offensive line. They're probably as healthy as they've been in several weeks and subbing JC Tretter in at left tackle instead of moving Josh Sitton over from left guard finally gave them their best lineup, so long as LT David Bakhtiari is still injured. I wasn't excited to hear that Tretter was starting, he was a minor disaster at tackle in 2014, but that early safety was the only sack, and the Redskins only recorded 2 QB hits, for the game. They had been really good at getting to the quarterback over their last few regular season games. Once the passing game got going, the running lanes opened up (good run blocking led to some huge cutback lanes) and the rout was on.

On defense, it was the Packers pass rush. The Redskins had some success running the ball, but that usually happened when Dom Capers got caught in the wrong defense and had an undersized unit on the field (on QB Kirk Cousins's TD run, the only defender over the interior lineman was DB Micah Hyde). But their offensive line had no answer for the Packers' defensive rush. LBs Nick Perry and Mike Neal have had forgettable regular seasons, but both came up huge in this game. The Redskins were able to get open and beat the Packers' coverage but sacks (and one lost fumble) killed their offense.

This was one of their best overall games of the year, and it came at just the right time. Hopefully their injuries aren't too serious (WR Davante Adams hurt his knee (he said it's only sore) and it's unknown at this time if CB Quinten Rollins has a serious groin injury) and they'll make it back on the short week. Unlike in this game, when they were steamrolled in the opening quarter, they can't get blown away for one quarter and expect to beat the Cardinals. They'll have to play well over the course of an entire game, which isn't something they've done often this season.

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