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. Rodgers had 335 yards and three touchdown passes at halftime.
"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."
Robert Griffin III threw for 320 yards and three touchdowns for the Redskins, but most of it came with the Packers ahead by multiple touchdowns.
What the Packers said
"Aaron spoils you," coach Mike McCarthy said. "He makes it look easy. He was on point all day. I thought the communication, just all the little things just went right. But he did a great job distributing the football and I thought our perimeter did an outstanding job breaking tackles, extending plays and then generating a lot of big plays."
What the Redskins said
"Yeah, it's frustrating, but I think there was a clear difference between this week's first half and last week's first half," quarterback Robert Griffin III said. "We hurt ourselves a lot on turnovers last week, you know, and this week it wasn't necessarily turnovers, but talking to guys in the locker room we can't really put our finger on what it is and that's the real frustrating part."
What we learned Sunday at Lambeau Field
1. Greg Jennings might be in Minnesota but the Packers' passing attack remains lethal. Aaron Rodgers completed 34-of-42 passes for 480 yards and four touchdowns. James Jones (11 catches, 178 yards), Randall Cobb (nine catches, 128 yards, one touchdown), Jermichael Finley (six catches, 65 yards, one touchdown) and Jordy Nelson (three catches, 66 yards, two touchdowns) provide an enviable group of targets. "They played a lot of one-high (safety)," Rodgers said. "They gave us some inside leverage routes ... we had a lot of yards after catch. It was 480 yards, but how much of that was YAC? Everybody got involved, everybody contributed."
2. This is what the Packers have been pointing to since the offseason with a productive running game. Coach Mike McCarthy doesn't care about balance, but the 132 rushing yards provided by James Starks takes some of the pressure off of Rodgers and a developing offensive line. "That's very big. Anytime you have a running back that's picking up yards and picking up first downs and getting the safety down into the box, that's going to help the passing game," receiver Randall Cobb said.
3. The Redskins are in deep trouble in a powerful NFC. From 2009 through 2012, 30 teams started the season 0-2. None of them made the playoffs and only two teams finished as much as .500. Washington rallied to a playoff berth last year by winning its final seven games. It's going to need another surge. Perhaps that starts next week with games at home against Detroit and at Oakland before the bye. "It is all right," said receiver Pierre Garcon, a bright spot with eight catches for 143 yards and a touchdown. "It sucks that we have lost to two NFC teams, but we will be back. I am going to continue to play hard and I will do whatever I need to do to get the team going early in the games."
4. The Redskins don't have a prayer of salvaging this season unless they show up in time for the opening kickoff. To get steamrolled in the opening 30 minutes for the second consecutive game shows that they're either not a very good team or there's a disconnect between the coaching staff and the players. They've been outscored 50-7 during the first half of their two losses, with the only points coming courtesy of the defense. On Sunday, Washington managed 155 yards in the first half but had just five first downs and went 1-of-4 on third down. The defense, meanwhile, allowed 373 yards, including a stunning 335 through the air by Aaron Rodgers. "We knew in order to win here in this venue we had to play one of our better games and we obviously didn't do that today," coach Mike Shanahan said. "I thought we almost had to play error-free football and probably did just the opposite in the first half