Red Zone: Packers get defensive in Washington win

FOX Football Insider
Benkert shines in loss to Jets

Green Bay, Wis.  – Moments after the Packers’ 24-10 victory over Washington, Aaron Rodgers spoke live with FOX’s sideline reporter Pam Oliver at Lambeau Field as players from both teams streamed by headed to their respective locker rooms.

“It hasn’t been pretty, but that’s the exciting thing,” Rodgers said told Oliver.  “We haven’t played our best ball yet but we’re 6-1.”

Sunday’s performance was not a decisive complete team victory, but the Green Bay defense shined with a stellar red-zone performance to keep the game from becoming a nail-bitter.

The sixth straight win keep the Packers atop the NFC North by two+ games as Chicago and Detroit both lost while the Vikings were on a bye week.

Green Bay now faces a formidable challenge in flying west to face the 7-0 Cardinals on Thursday night.  The NFC showdown will be televised exclusively in Western Wisconsin on FOX 25/48.

And breaking news this afternoon is that star receiver Davante Adams was just placed on the COVID-19 reserve list.  Defensive coordinator Joe Barry was

Sunday was just another day at the office for Rodgers, who woke up with a bad back Sunday morning:  27 of 35 for 274 yards and three touchdowns.  No interceptions with a 127.6 quarterback rating.

On a day when the running game was nil—Rodgers was Green Bay’s second-leading rusher with 17 yards—he made the big throws at the critical moment to finish off three touchdown drives.

His falling-backward, 17-yard throw across the field to Adams in the underbelly of the defense for the Packers first touchdown was vintage Rodgers—as was Adam’s incredible leaping 26-yard reception over Kendall Fuller down the sideline to end the third quarter.

Linebackers Rashan Gary and De’Vondre Campbell spearheaded a strong defensive effort that turned back Washington four times in the red zone and twice stopped them on fourth downs.

Gary also made the game-changing play on the second play of the second half.  He bulled his way in from the right and hit quarterback Taylor Heinicke’s arm, forcing a fumble that Dean Lowry recovered at the Washington 27.

Three plays later, the offense capitalized on Rodgers’ 20-yard touchdown strike to Robert Tonyan for a 21-7 cushion.  Gary finished with seven total tackles, two sacks for 11 yards, a forced fumble, four quarterback hits, and a game-high 10 pressures.

“Everybody knows that we’ve been struggling a little bit in the red zone so that definitely was a point of emphasis coming in,” Campbell said.   “I  think today was definitely a step in the right direction.”

In his postgame press conference, Rodgers also smiled as he said it’s the perfect situation for coaches:  winning and still giving them something to pick at.

Strange but true:   It was a rare game of no punt returns.  Washington never punted and Corey Bojorquez made each of his three punts count with no returns.  He averaged 46.3 net and his first punt was a high 49-yarder that forced a fair catch.  His second was a booming 53-yarder under fire from the end zone that flipped field position.  Bojorquez’s finale was a perfect 37-yard Aussie-kick that hit just inside the goal line, bounced back, and was downed at the Washington 3.   

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