Back-to-back disappointing losses to the New York Giants and the New York Jets puts the Green Bay Packers on the verge of panic mode as they travel to Washington D.C. to take on the Commanders for their last chance to get back on track before facing a slew of tough opponents. Carson Wentz was ruled out for the game, leaving back-up quarterback Taylor Heinicki to captain the Washington offense. With Green Bay’s defense struggling to stop the run, Washington will most likely look to pound the rock and tire the Packers defense out, meanwhile the Packers offense will hopefully look to feed Aaron Jones more and get the offense in a groove.
The Packers looked okay the first half of the game. After punting on their opening drive and their defense forcing a quick 3-and-out, the Packers drove down the field on their second drive and Aaron Rodgers connected with Aaron Jones to open up the scoring and put the Packers up 7-0. The Packers defense would hold Washington to another 3-and-out on the following drive, but Amari Rodgers would muff the punt, and gift-wrap Washington the ball at Green Bay’s 17 yard line. Luckily, the defense would hold and only allow a field goal. Green Bay’s offense would punt on the following drive, but their defense came up BIG on the ensuing drive as De’Vondre Campbell would intercept Heinicki and take it 63 yards to the house to put the Packers up 14-3. The defense looked great to that point, Heinicki had only completed one pass on six attempts, but that would be the end of their defensive domination, as Heinicki would lead the Washington offense down the field 83 yards and connect with Antonio Gibson for their first touchdown of the game. Washington would go on to miss a field goal on their next drive, and both teams would trade punts for the remainder of the half, Packers up 14-10.
I’m not sure how many different ways I can write this but Green Bay would fall apart in the second half. Washington would possess the ball only four times in the second half. Those four drives resulted in a touchdown and two field goals on three straight drives. No answer from Green Bay’s offense meant that Washington was up 23-14 with under seven minutes left in the game. Green Bay would finally answer with a touchdown drive that was kept alive by multiple defensive penalties and Aaron Jones showing off his athleticism as he went up and over the defender to make a grab in the endzone for his second touchdown of the game. The defense would force a Washington punt the next drive but only after they had used all three of their time-outs and went past the two-minute warning. With only 23 seconds left in the game, the Packers could only get two plays off, and a great backyard football-style lateral effort that made it all the way to Washington’s 21 yard-line wouldn’t be all for naught, as the Packers would lose 23-21, dropping their third straight game.
Player of the Game
I’m still questioning why LaFleur doesn’t give Aaron Jones the ball more. Every week he is the most efficient with the ball, more than every other player. Jones was responsible for both of the Packers’ touchdowns this week, one rushing and one receiving. With 76 yards on 15 total touches, for an average of just over five yards a touch, Jones should be getting the ball 20+ times a game until teams sell out to stop him.
Allen Lazard left the game with a shoulder injury and was questionable to return.
Rashan Gary left the game and was evaluated for a concussion, he did not return.
Last week, I argued that it wasn’t yet time for Green Bay to hit the panic button. Today I say get ready to slam your fist on the button. A third straight loss to yet another team that has a less talented roster than the Packers do is pitiful. This four game stretch, starting with the game against New England, was Green Bay’s best, and maybe only chance to figure out their offensive identity before a stretch of games that would really test their ability to win games. In the next four weeks, the Packers visit Buffalo and Detroit, then come back to Green Bay to host Dallas and Tennessee, before visiting the currently undefeated Philadelphia Eagles. If Green Bay can be competitive against the Super Bowl favorites in the Buffalo Bills, I would have some confidence in their ability to turn the season around. However if they get blown out, it’s time to make some serious changes, and the Packers have a lot to work on before their Sunday Night Football matchup against the Bills.
The offense today was atrocious today, taking the entirety of 3 quarters to put up even 100 yards. Even on 3rd down conversions they were terrible, failing to convert a single one on 6 attempts, the first time they failed to convert a 3rd down since 1999. In addition, they failed to convert their only 4th down attempt, a short 4th and one with the game on the line. Once again Matt LaFleur seemingly refuses to run the football. The Packers only had 12 TOTAL runs, compared to 35 passing attempts. It is still mind boggling to me that they refuse to run the football when you have one of the best running back duos in the league in Jones and AJ Dillion. You simply do not have the wide receiver corps at this present moment to get away with a 3:1 pass-to-run ratio every week. Unless the Packers front office trades for a wide receiver, the offense better start running the ball more. If Allen Lazard is out long-term, the Packers can no longer choose to not trade for or sign a receiver.
The offensive line did improve from last week. While they were without David Bakhtiari today, they moved Elgton Jenkins back to left guard, had Yosh Njiman start at right tackle, and rookie Zach Tom start at right tackle. This lineup did not allow a single sack, but only helped get a little over three yards a carry. Without a doubt an improvement from the struggles they faced last week, and they will no doubt be even better next week if Bakhtiari is able to return to left tackle.
Meanwhile on defense, their second half play these past couple weeks have been problematic, allowing 68 points during this four game stretch, compared to allowing only 18 points the first three weeks. Some of this could be attributed to being on the field longer due to the offense not being able to maintain long drives to give them rest. Regardless, with the talent on the defense, they absolutely NEED to play better and they are capable of doing that. Rasul Douglas alone had three dropped interceptions, holding onto even just one of those completely changes the dynamic of the game. The Packers definitely missed Rashan Gary when they needed him most, so lets hope he didn’t suffer a serious head injury.
Another week, more disappointment as the Green Bay Packers fall to the Washington Commanders 23-21 to drop below .500 with a record of 3-4. With a date with Buffalo (5-1) next Sunday kicking off a difficult stretch of games, this David vs Goliath matchup could spell out how the rest of the season will go for the Packers. The Packers are running out of time to turn the season around and compete for a playoff spot.