|Fans pose for a faux Lambeau Leap ahead of |
But in the first half, at least, it was the hometown Green Bay Packers who spent a lot of time visiting
Aaron Rodgers and company all but set up shop on the other side of the 50 in producing a 14-6 halftime lead. That development proved fortuitous – even if it was not fully taken advantage of – as the team did little offensively in the final two quarters yet still squeezed out a 20-15 win.
Offenses love short fields. The Packers had one on three of their four first possessions.
One could even argue it was four-for-four. Running back Aaron Jones ripped off his longest run of the season – a 42-yard scamper – that pushed Green Bay beyond the 50 as the team set sail for a fourth time.
Not counting Rodger’s kneel-down to end the half, the Packers (on average) began five first-half drives from roughly their own 39-yard line. Why the team didn’t tally more points is a concern the coaching staff needs to address or this club will be one-and-done in the playoffs.
Erving resurrected a punt return game that had netted negative-8 yards through 11 games. He set the team long with each of his first three returns: 10, 12 and 18 yards.
Scott’s punt followed a 7-yard sack of Rodgers. Linebacker Ryan Kerrigan dropped the quarterback after the Packers had moved to the Redskins’ 42.
Green Bay opened its
fourth drive, Jones’ 42-yard run carried the Packers to the Washington 46. Four plays later, Scott
punted for a second time as the team again sputtered.
Rodgers kneeled from his own 27 to end the half.
|Lambeau Field has its Christmas Tree.|
In all, the Green and Gold ran 21 of 29 first-half plays on the Redskins’ side of the field. That percentage (72.4) was the club’s highest since Rodgers became a starter in 2008.
It ranks as the team’s 11th best outing since the NFL-AFL merger of 1970.
Such a marked takeover of the opposition’s territory – even if only for the initial 30 minutes – has often been followed by victory.
Green Bay has been above
70 percent on 25 occasions in the first half since 1970, and its record in
those games is 20-5.
The team has been there seven times since 2008. Its only loss over that span was a 30-34 setback to the Bengals in 2013.
Given such prime real estate Sunday, the Packers lacked killer instinct. The 21 plays they ran from beyond the 50 in the first half produced 73 yards. The other eight yielded 120.
Had the team finished what it started by finding the end zone each time out, the score at halftime could have been 35-6.
That won’t cut it come January. Failing to take advantage of excellent field position against the likes of
Seattle or New
Orleans will almost assuredly lead to an early
effort – unimpressive as it was – sufficed against the 3-9 Redskins. Green Bay shut the door on Washington when Rodgers kneeled twice – from
the Redskins’ 47- and 48-yard lines – to run out the final 77 seconds.
The seven times
Bay has run more than 70 percent of its first-half
offensive plays from beyond the 50-yard line.
Date Opponent Pct. Plays Result
Dec. 8, 2019 Redskins 72.4 21 of 29 GB won 20-15
Dec. 8, 2014 Falcons 72.1 31 of 43 GB won 43-37
Sept. 22, 2013 Bengals 71.9 23 of 32 GB lost 30-34
Dec. 13, 2009 Bears 71.0 22 of 31 GB won 21-14
Oct. 24, 2010 Vikings 71.0 22 of 31 GB won 28-24
Dec. 29, 2013 Bears 70.7 29 of 41 GB won 33-28
Dec. 11, 2011 Raiders 70.6 24 of 34 GB won 46-16