COMMENTARY | It doesn't get any more fun than this for the Green Bay Packers.
Forget about Green Bay's tough-to-swallow loss against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 1. All was forgiven after the Packers dismantled the Washington Redskins at the newly renovated Lambeau Field, cruising to a 38-20 victory.
And it wasn't even that close.
When Green Bay displays balance on offense, it might as well be unstoppable. The Packers more than established the run against the Redskins despite watching Eddie Lacy get knocked out of the game after just one carry. He was forced to leave the game with a concussion, giving way to James Starks.
Another key was the defense's ability to bear down on third down. Washington failed to convert in its first seven third down situations and was shut out in the first half in a vintage bend but don't break performance from Dom Capers' 3-4 defense.
It was difficult to choose just five stars from Green Bay's Week 2 victory over the Skins, but here are the players that made the cut.
When you tie a franchise record for passing yards in a single game, you probably had a pretty good day at the office.
That's what Aaron Rodgers did, matching former teammate Matt Flynn with 480 yards against Washington. He was precise -- an absolute surgeon with the football, spreading it out among his top four options and picking apart a beleaguered Redskin secondary. The former MVP completed 81 percent of his passes and threw four touchdown passes in a stupid-good performance.
The defense deserves some love for shutting out Washington in the first half before going into prevent mode, and a lot of that love gets shelled out to cornerback Sam Shields. For the second straight week, safety Morgan Burnett was unable to give it a go, but it felt like Shields covered for him on Sunday.
He not only led the Packers in tackles (8), but he defended three passes -- nobody else had more than one -- and was all over the field. Shields deserves a lot of credit for stymieing Washington on third down, a huge reason why Green Bay was able to build an insurmountable lead.
The Packers were set to hand off the ball to Eddie Lacy 20-25 times on Sunday, but they only managed to get him the ball once. That's because Lacy exited the game in the first quarter with a concussion, giving way to the injury-prone James Starks.
Here's the thing: Starks isn't injured right now, and it showed. He reached that 20 carry mark and amassed 132 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Starks was running hard and with a purpose, just like he did during Green Bay's Super Bowl run back in 2010. When healthy, he can contribute, and if he can stay on the field, the Packers may have no choice but to make him their No. 1 back moving forward. That "if" is a big one, indeed.
That's back-to-back 100-yard outings for Randall Cobb, who torched the Redskins from the slot all day long. In all, Cobb caught nine passes for 128 yards and a touchdown, and with all the hype surrounding the 23-year-old out of Kentucky entering the season, he's surpassing it.
Cobb was expected to fulfill a larger role after the departure of Greg Jennings in the offseason, and while he isn't getting as many opportunities in the return game, he's had a larger impact in the offense, which is where Cobb's services are really needed.
Oh yeah -- did we mention he's only 23?
Let's just say that two targets and a grand total of zero catches weren't exactly what James Jones had in mind for his output Week 1 against San Francisco.
Aaron Rodgers took note and made sure the player he once so adamantly went to bat for was happy following Week 2. You can see why Rodgers wanted Green Bay to bring back Jones two years ago based on his 11 catches and 178 yards against the Redskins.
Jones did have one blunder: a bizarre fumble that resulted in a touchback right before the end of the first half. But the Packers were already up 24-0. He was due for a bounce-back performance, and bounce-back he did.
Dave Radcliffe is a resident of a little known Milwaukee suburb who is an avid follower of Wisconsin sports. He has contributed to JSOnline, as a featured columnist on other sites and publications, and been a guest on multiple sports talk radio shows.
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- James Starks
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