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What ails Redskins begins with leaky 'D'

The SportsXchange

ASHBURN, Va. -- After the Washington Redskins fell behind 33-7 en route to a stunning 33-27 season-opening loss to visiting Philadelphia, the Redskins stressed their second half dominance even if most observers saw an Eagles team that both ran out of gas and took the pedal off the metal after halftime.

The Redskins weren't doing the same kind of whistling in the dark after outscoring the Packers 20-14 in the second half of a 38-20 spanking by the Packers at Lambeau Field on Sunday that dropped the defending NFC East champions to 0-2.

"You can't overreact, but you know there's a sense of urgency," said coach Mike Shanahan, who used the word "embarrassed" to describe what had happened to his team that had finished 2012 on a 7-0 tear and then enjoyed a 4-0 preseason.

In his first duel with reigning league MVP Aaron Rodgers, 2012 Offensive Rookie of the Year Robert Griffin III was badly outclassed. At halftime, Rodgers had passed for 326 yards and three touchdowns while Griffin had 107 yards and an interception as the Packers led 24-0 en route to winning for the 21st time in their last 22 regular-season home games.

"We've got to start the game off as if we're down 14-zip or something," lamented Redskins receiver Pierre Garcon, who like Griffin and running back Alfred Morris put up big, but ultimately meaningless, numbers in the second half.

"If we're not starting fast, it's my fault," said Griffin, whose three picks this season equals his total for the first seven games of 2012. "I'm the quarterback and the responsibility falls on me."

Perhaps that's true, but Griffin doesn't play defense.

"We've got to fix the tackling," said outside linebacker Brian Orakpo, who hasn't played in a victory since the 2012 opener after missing the final 14 games of last year with a torn pectoral muscle.

There is also the failure to cover receivers tightly. One of the Redskins guilty in that regard, cornerback Josh Wilson, maintained a brave face after the shellacking by Rodgers and Co, recalling that the Redskins were 3-6 last season and still won the NFC East.

"It's a lot easier to come back from 0-2 than 3-6," Wilson said. "0-2 isn't the end of the world."

No, especially in a division in which Dallas and Philadelphia are both 1-1 and the New York Giants are also 0-2. But as defensive captain London Fletcher said, Sunday's home game against Detroit's potent offensive triumvirate of Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson and Reggie Bush is looking like a must-win.

"They're probably smiling right now looking at our defense ... champing at the bit to get out there against us," said cornerback DeAngelo Hall.

Green Bay's 580 yards were the fourth-most surrendered by the Redskins in a regulation game, the second-most since 1962. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers tied the franchise passing record with 480 yards while James Starks became the first Green Bay running back in 45 games to top 100 yards, finishing with 132.

"We definitely had a lot of missed tackles and penalties," outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan said after the Packers became the first team in NFL history with a 450-yard passer and a 125-yard rusher.

"Last week we went against a great scheme," said, referring to Philadelphia first-year coach Chip Kelly's hurry-up offense. "This week we went against a great quarterback."

--Safety Brandon Meriweather, who had earlier ended Packers rookie running back Eddie Lacy's day with a blow with his helmet that produced a concussion, suffered his own concussion when he when he tried to tackle Packers running back James Starks along the Green Bay sideline. Seventh-year man Reed Doughty replaced Meriweather.

A two-time Pro Bowl pick with New England, Meriweather will go through the NFL's concussion protocol this week so it's too soon to say if he'll be available for Sunday's game at Detroit. Cornerback E.J. Biggers started in his place in the opener against Philadelphia instead of Doughty because of the Eagles' speed.
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