Packers Make Bad Redskins Offense Look Bad

Bill Huber

GREEN BAY, Wis. – For the second week in a row, the Green Bay Packers’ defensive performance comes with an asterisk.

Last week, it was the three interceptions of rookie quarterback Daniel Jones. On Sunday against Washington, it was a generally overwhelming performance against rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins and the league’s worst offense in Green Bay’s 20-15 victory.

It was a performance that linebacker Blake Martinez understood comes with something of a “yeah, but” attached to it.

“One hundred percent,” he said. “All of us are competitors, all of us are smart people. We understand what this was. We went against – not saying they’re a bad team – but we know we’re better than them. We didn’t show our full potential. For us, I think we’ll be disappointed because of it. We have to fix those things, especially when we play teams that are the same caliber as us.”

Individually, Haskins entered the game as by far the lowest-rated quarterback in the league, his 58.5 mark lagging a whopping 21 points behind Cleveland’s Baker Mayfield’s next-to-last rating. Haskins finished 16-of-27 passing for 170 yards with one touchdown, one interception and a 74.6 rating. Even those mediocre numbers contained a lot of fluff, as he drove the Redskins 75 yards for a touchdown in the final moments. The score came on a bad throw but incredible one-handed catch by fellow rookie and former Ohio State teammate Terry McLaurin. Haskins didn’t get past 100 passing yards until that drive (finished with 170), nor did the Redskins' offense get past 200 yards (finished with 262).

As a team, Washington entered the game scoring a league-worst 14.4 points per game. With the team’s second and third receivers, Paul Richardson and Trey Quinn, inactive and impressive second-year running back Derrius Guice lost before halftime with a knee injury, the underpowered Redskins had even less firepower than usual.

“I’m happy we held them to 15 points,” said defensive tackle Kenny Clark, who had 1.5 sacks. “We hold people to 15 points and we should win the game. We made plays when we had to and we’ll take wins however we can get them – pretty or ugly. That’s what we’re trying to do, just to get back to winning football. We made plays when we had to.”

Green Bay’s defense dominated from the start. Washington’s three first-quarter possessions ended in three-and-out punts. Its fourth possession ended in a punt, too, and the sixth ended with safety Adrian Amos intercepting a pass just before halftime.

Washington’s powerful running game, which churned out almost 250 yards last week against Carolina, was limited to 121 yards by the Packers. A big chunk of that came on Washington’s fifth possession, a 95-yard touchdown drive that started with seven consecutive runs that gained 66 yards. Washington’s only three runs of 10-plus yards – 11 and 13 yards by Peterson sandwiching a 23-yarder by Guice – came on the drive.

Otherwise, it was a good step forward for Green Bay, which entered the game ranked 25th in rushing yards per game and 28th in rushing yards per attempt. Next week’s opponent, Chicago, and the Week 17 opponent, Detroit, have feeble running games, but the Week 16 showdown at Minnesota will feature Vikings running back Dalvin Cook, who is fourth in the league in rushing.

“I think all of us slowly seeing how everything fits, how the pieces fit and how the defensive scheme is run to make the ball go where it needs to go. I think we’re going to keep getting better,” Martinez said.

Green Bay recorded four sacks, including one by Preston Smith against his former team to give him a team-leading 11.5. Amos had an interception and sack. Za’Darius Smith and Darnell Savage forced fumbles. Martinez, who had a team-high 10 tackles, would have had a great game had two sacks not been nullified by penalties and a forced fumble wiped away upon review.

Of course, it all comes with the caveat of playing a bad offense led by a bad quarterback and dealing with some bad injuries.

Anything less than Green Bay’s performance on Sunday would have been, well, bad.

“The defense did a nice job for the majority of the game,” coach Matt LaFleur said. “I think there was a 95-yard drive where they sprung a couple big runs, Guice got loose on a big one but, for the most part, I thought our defense played well. I liked the energy, I thought they prepared well all week, and we’ve got to make sure we build on that moving forward.”