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Rodgers, Packers manhandle slow-starting Redskins

The SportsXchange

GREEN BAY - Two weeks into the regular season, the Washington Redskins still don't feel like they've shown up for the first half, and they have an 0-2 record to show for it.

On Sunday, the Green Bay Packers took advantage in record-setting fashion. Behind the first 400-yard passing day and 100-yard rushing performance in the same game in franchise history, the Packers pounced on the slow-starting Redskins and went on cruise control for a dominating 38-20 victory at Lambeau Field on Sunday.

A week after falling behind 26-7 at halftime against Philadelphia, the Redskins found themselves trailing 24-0 at halftime against the Packers. Unlike last week, however, there would be no meaningful second-half comeback.

Rodgers passed for a career-high 480 yards and four touchdowns and backup running back James Starks rushed for 132 yards and one touchdown. Rodgers' passing total tied a franchise record. Starks snapped the team's 44-game regular-season streak without a 100-yard rushing day after replacing rookie Eddie Lacy, who left in the first quarter with an apparent concussion.

"Today was a good day," said receiver James Jones, who had a career-high 11 catches for 178 yards. "First time we had a 400-yard passer and a 100-yard rusher. I'd say that's pretty balanced. Hopefully we can continue to do that."

Quarterback Robert Griffin III failed to put the Redskins on the scoreboard during the first half for the second consecutive week. Griffin, who didn't play during the preseason while recovering from a torn ACL sustained in January, ended the game with 320 yards passing. But most of his production came after the game was out of hand.

"Collectively, you look at it and it's one or two guys, but when you look at where we're at and you look at the guys we got coming in, you feel good about the potential of our football team," Washington coach Mike Shanahan said. "Now, we got to get better day by day. We're 0-2 and I think everyone knows the percentages just like everyone knew the percentages last year when we were 3-6."

By winning a key game between reigning division champions, the Packers improved to 1-1.

"You're never satisfied, but that's my responsibility - pushing the team, pushing the coaching staff, pushing the support staff," coach Mike McCarthy said. "We'll be better this week. I think it's like any team transitioning out of training camp, it's not exactly how you want it. The energy is incredible, the guys are working extremely hard, I can't say enough about the players. There's a different personality to this football team. All teams have their personality, their way about them. This team has a chance to be really good. It has a lot of football in front of it. We need to continue to grow."

The Redskins fell to 0-2, a bad omen considering none of the 30 teams that started 0-2 over the previous four seasons reached the playoffs.

"Guys are a little down," said Redskins linebacker Ryan Kerrigan, who had two sacks. "It sucks losing a game in the NFL. We are 0-2 now and we want to get the taste of winning. The only way to do that is to go back to work tomorrow and start fixing things."

Using mostly short passes to offset the Redskins' pass rush, Rodgers completed 26-of-31 passes for 335 yards and three touchdowns in the first half. The Packers scored touchdowns on three consecutive possessions to take control. It could have been a wider margin at half had Jones not fumbled at the goal line late in the first half.

With Green Bay leading 3-0, Rodgers threw a 35-yard touchdown pass to Randall Cobb, who was matched on linebacker Perry Riley Jr. on fourth-and-3. Cobb caught the pass at the 26 and blew past Riley and a pair of defensive backs. Rodgers added touchdown passes to Jermichael Finley and then Jordan Nelson, which was set up by a 57-yard catch and run by James Jones.

Jones, who led the NFL with 14 touchdown catches in 2012 but didn't have a single reception last week at San Francisco, established new career highs of nine catches for 152 yards in the first half alone.

Trailing 31-0, Griffin finally got the Redskins on the move. Running back Alfred Morris and receiver Pierre Garcon each went over 100 yards on the day during a touchdown drive that Griffin capped with a 6-yard pass to Garcon.

The Packers answered with a 32-yard touchdown run by Starks. That put him over 100 yards for the day -- Green Bay's first 100-yard rusher since Brandon Jackson against Washington on Oct. 10, 2010. Starks got his opportunity when starting running back Eddie Lacy was knocked from the game with a concussion.

"This whole offseason I worked hard," Starks said. "I came into camp knowing all the work I put in and hoping that it paid off, and I was ready coming into this season. I'm just going to continue to focus on being a better player and continuing to keep everything rolling."

Griffin threw touchdown passes to rookie tight end Jordan Reed and veteran receiver Santana Moss in the fourth quarter to pull within 38-20 with 7:36 remaining. It was Moss' 65th career touchdown reception.

Notes: According to ESPN Stats & Info's Twitter feed, Rodgers was the first player with 335 passing yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions in the first half since Tom Brady in Week 6, 2006, vs. Tennessee. ... Lacy was knocked out of the game with a concussion after a helmet-to-helmet hit by safety Brandon Meriweather on the first series of the game. There was no penalty. In the second quarter, Meriweather knocked himself from the game with a concussion on a helmet-to-helmet hit on Lacy's replacement, Starks. There was no penalty for that hit, either. ... Redskins linebacker London Fletcher played in his 242nd consecutive game and made his 201st consecutive start. Among defensive players, Bill Romanowski holds the NFL record with 243 consecutive games and Derrick Brooks holds the NFL record with 208 consecutive starts. ... For the second consecutive week, the Packers were without two standouts in the secondary, with safety Morgan Burnett and cornerback Casey Hayward sidelined by hamstring injuries. ... With kicker Kai Forbath nursing a groin injury, the Redskins signed John Potter on Saturday and released quarterback Pat White. ... Lambeau Field's expanded south end zone made its regular-season debut. With about 7,500 additional sets bumping capacity to more than 80,000, a stadium-record 78,020 watched the game.
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