To call the loss a heartbreaker for Green Bay Packer fans would be an understatement.
A 33-yard field goal in overtime sealed the game for Washington, giving the 'Skins solid momentum and keeping them at the top of the NFC East.
For Green Bay, it was a tale of two teams.
Across the board, it was anybody's game. At times the Green Bay offense looked exciting and multifaceted. Brandon Jackson finally showed some promise, rushing for 115 yards on just 10 carries. Aaron Rodgers threw more than one ball to eight different receivers, with a total of nine different people getting involved in the passing game.
At other times, the offense looked completely out of sync. Green Bay's receiving corps had more drops than a pee-wee football team, and the offense as a whole managed only two third down conversions in a baker's dozen.
Green Bay was dragged kicking and screaming into the fourth quarter, and after a few punts, an interception, and a missed field goal by Mason Crosby, the Green Bay Packers managed to grasp defeat from the jaws of victory.
The Green Bay defense stood tall in the first half, only to wilt under an impressive-looking display from Donovan McNabb and the Redskins in the second half. More penalties and obvious conditioning and depth issues only exacerbated things. Linebackers A.J. Hawk and Desmond Bishop stepped up on defense, combining for 22 tackles and a sack.
The holes in the Redskin line simply closed up in the second half, and McNabb and Co. took full advantage of the situation.
So what do you take from a performance as seemingly abysmal as this? Could a cloud this dark have a silver lining? Of course, all is not lost for the season, but the Packers are a long way from the Super Bowl contenders of the preseason.
So let's start with the bad news: The Packers almost have enough injuries to field a team at the hospital. Although there are no current updates as of late for injuries to Jermichael Finley, Clay Matthews, or on Rodgers' concussion, those are certainly crushing blows coming from a game that saw a total of six starters leave the game due to injury.
Then there are the penalties. Despite their best efforts, Green Bay only managed to give up 63 yards from nine flags. This brings the season total to 29 penalties to the tune of 247 yards—well on pace to lead the league in penalties for consecutive seasons.
Now that we're all worked up, let's look on the bright side: For the most part, backups have been stepping in admirably and holding the fort down. If proper adjustments can be made, the Packers should limp into their Week 10 bye in good shape for the playoffs. Furthermore, Green Bay only managed to give up 63 yards in penalties, so here's hoping that's one part of the game that continues to trend downward.
As easy as it is during the football season to be reactionary, perspective is always important. The Packers are firmly in second place in the NFC North, with a schedule full of teams as inconsistent as they are. Rodgers seems to be settling into the media lens he's found himself under, and his accuracy and poise will be the deciding factor of this injury-ridden offense.
Green Bay's defense is on the brink of becoming the dominating force in the NFC once again, but only healthy playmakers here can ensure success.
Overall, look for Dom Capers and Mike McCarthy to make a lot of adjustments during the week, and I'm confident the Packers can right the ship and make the plays they need to close out games early and often.
So take a deep breath, Cheeseheads—the sun will rise tomorrow. It was a heartbreaking loss to Washington, not the end of the world, and certainly not the end of the season.
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