Stock Report: Refs, Rodgers combine to drop Washington to 2-5 originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The Green Bay Packers seemed fairly disinterested in beating the Washington Football Team on Sunday afternoon, but still accomplished the feat anyway.
Aaron Rodgers showed just enough wizardry to remind Washington fans just how far away they are at the quarterback position, and a series of zany plays and follies near the goal line served to illustrate that the Burgundy and Gold just aren't playing good football.
It wasn't as ugly as many thought, but that doesn't make it pretty either after a 24-10 loss. On with the Stock Report.
- Up-front charge - Washington's much hyped defensive line delivered a strong performance on Sunday. The group combined for three sacks and backup defensive tackle Tim Settle blocked a Green Bay field goal attempt. Rodgers was under duress nearly the whole contest and Jon Allen might have played his best game of what's been his best NFL season.
- Can't knock the hustle - Both Taylor Heinicke and Chase Roullier made savvy hustle plays with downfield fumble recoveries. Heinicke's was pretty remarkable as it came about 30 yards down field after a big gain from wide receiver DeAndre Carter. QBs aren't usually in the fray like that, especially after a big gain, but Heinicke is an unusual QB. Roullier's was nearer the line of scrimmage after a troubling fumble from Antonio Gibson. Also, considering the incredibly fluky nature of fumble recoveries and considering this is the second bullet point of positive news from this game it shows a lot about how bad this game was.
- Red zone defense - Sorry to be confusing but this is "stock up" for the Packers' red zone defense. Because Washington piled up more than 350 yards of offense but scored just 10 points. Heinicke had a red zone interception, the team had multiple failed fourth downs inside the red zone and new kicker Chis Blewitt missed a 42-yard field goal. Washington moved the ball well but did not finish well. At all.
- Lambeau Lump - Heinicke played fairly well on Sunday and Washington's offense moved the ball fairly well too. Except in the red zone where they managed zero touchdowns. And one play was particularly embarrassing when Heinicke attempted to dive into the end zone for a short running touchdown. It looked like a score and Heinicke - a noted Packers fan growing up - ran to the stands for the patented Lambeau Leap, jumping up into the Green and Gold crowd. He pulled off the Leap, drew some boos from the home fans and ran back towards the sideline. Except he never even scored. Replay would reveal he was down short of the goal line, and one play later, Washington turned the ball over on downs. It's a bold move for a visiting player to Leap in the first place, let alone Leap on a play that gets over-turned. Expect to see clips of this for a long time, and Heinicke to be embarrassed by the premature celebration.
- Refs and replay - While Heinicke shouldn't have leaped, the play also should have been a touchdown. Refs and replay officials and rules officials at the league level are just over complicating things at the goal line. It's too much and it's silly. That was a touchdown. Just use your eyes. Also would have helped if Heinicke just dove the whole way into the end zone. And on Washington's fourth-down attempt from the one-foot line, replay officials again botched a touchdown.
- Bratwurst fingers - Antonio Gibson's fumbles are becoming an issue. He's got three of them this season, all at terrible times, and he's fumbled twice in the past two games. Remember that Gibson was a wide receiver in college. He's an elite athlete with tremendous potential as a runner, but he's only got 15 career starts as a running back. It's possible he still doesn't know what to do with the ball in heavy traffic.