Nothing takes the sting out of an opening week loss in the NFL quite like a return home.
Oh, and a dominating win over a good opponent.
For the Green Bay Packers on Sunday afternoon at Lambeau Field, it was a case of check and (discount) double check.
The Pack rode the arm of Aaron Rodgers and the legs of James Starks to victory. The Packers amassed over 600 yards of offense en route to a 38-20 win over the Washington Redskins.
Robert Griffin III, RGIII, still showed a little tentativeness in his return just eight months after ACL surgery.
It was Rodgers, weathering three sacks in the opening drive, picking apart Washington on nearly every possession.
There was no hint or residue of the ‘three and outs’ that plagued Green Bay in the loss to San Francisco.
From the start it, looked like it would be another long year for Aaron Rodgers behind his youthful offensive line.
A-Rod was hurried.
He was knocked down.
And he was sacked.
Three is too many for an entire game.
The word ‘unacceptable’ doesn’t even approach the gravity of this issue.
Keeping Rodgers vertical is key to the Packers’ success.
The porous O-line turned what had been a smooth drive and a first and goal from the nine to a third and goal from past the 30.
The would-be touchdown was turned into a 28-yard Mason Crosby field goal.
Left tackle David Bakhtiari and right tackle Don Barclay did a good job patching the hole and they kept Rodgers upright to do damage the rest of the way.
Rookie running back Eddie Lacy suffered what looked like a concussion on a burst on that same drive.
And just like that, Green Bay’s rejuvenated running game took a major hit.
He was shaken, taken off the field and out of the tunnel to the locker room for evaluation.
Washington’s Brandon Meriweather was also sidelined with a concussed head.
With the focus on head injuries in the NFL and new guidelines for these incidents, it could be a bit before he will again be running north and south.
After containing an obviously diminished Robert Griffin III, Rodgers went back to work and put together a nice drive, culminating in a 32-yard TD pass to Randall Cobb.
The quarter ended 10-0 in Green Bay’s favor.
The Pack dominated the second quarter scoring on successive possessions.
Rodgers was on fire hitting Lacy’s replacement, James Starks, Cobb and then Jordy Nelson for the final 14 yards and a 17-0 bulge at the 11:20 mark.
Nelson scored about a minute earlier, but it was called back on a holding call.
Another smothering series for the Packer ‘D’ led to another scoring drive.
With Starks racking up rushing and receiving yards and Rodgers playing like a Super Bowl MVP, Green Bay looked unstoppable.
A-Rod, forced to his right, came back across the middle to Jermichael Finley from the four.
The TD pass made it 24-0 with 7:07 to play.
Rodgers threw for a record, 301 yards passing yards in the half connecting on 23 of 28 missives.
A fourth touchdown chance went by the boards when James Jones fumbled after a catch.
The ball hit the end zone pylon and by rule went to the Redskins on the 20.
Neither team had it going on early in the third quarter, swapping three and outs.
The Redskins got a little traction but stalled and the 50-yard field goal attempt went farther to the right than Rush Limbaugh.
The Packers took advantage of the great field position and Starks, Finley and Nelson did the rest.
Rodgers to Nelson accounted for the last 15 yards and the 31-0 lead with 8:16 left in the third.
While Green Bay’s defense was focused on RGIII, Alfred Morris had racked up over 100 yards by midway through the third stanza.
Washington finally broke through on its next possession.
RGIII, seeming a bit more comfortable, utilized the read option and put together a solid drive, narrowing the gap to 31-7 with 4:05 left in the third.
Rodgers went back to work getting a big chunk of yards on a pass to Nelson.
But it was Starks, on the ground galloping the remaining 30+ yards for the score.
More importantly, he broke a 45-game streak without a 100-yard rusher for the Green & Gold.
That made it 38-7 at the 2:41 mark.
The Redskins tried to make it interesting as Green Bay took its foot off the gas.
They scored twice, the last from RGIII to a streaking Santana Moss across the end zone.
That strike, successfully challenged by head coach Mike Shanahan, closed the breach with 7:36 left.
The two-point conversion, which would’ve made it a two-score game, was no good.
Washington will entertain the Detroit Lions next week.
The Packers go on the road to take on the Cincinnati Bengals in the Queen City on Sunday, September 22.
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