Rodgers has big day, Packers beat Redskins 38-20
Rodgers throws for career-high 480 yards
GREEN BAY, Wis. — Aaron Rodgers led the Green Bay Packers’ offense to a record-setting day.
Rodgers was 34 for 42 for a career-high 480 yards and four touchdowns, receiver James Jones had a career-best 178 yards and James Starks ran for 132 yards and a score in a 38-20 win over the Washington Redskins on Sunday.
According to the Packers, it was the first time in NFL history that any team had a 450-yard passer and 125-yard rusher in the same game.
“We were able to catch the ball well, had yards after the catch and we were able to run the ball better than we have in a long time,” Rodgers said.
Rodgers’ 480 yards passing tied a franchise record set by former teammate Matt Flynn on Jan. 1, 2012, against the Lions.
Sunday was also the first time that the Packers had a 400-yard passer and 100-yard rusher in the same game.
Rodgers had his big game after waking up with a stiff neck.
“I was hurting pretty bad. I wasn’t feeling great pregame,” Rodgers said.
What he termed as an “adjustment” from a trainer once he got to the stadium made him feel better.
“Once the adrenaline started going, I just kind got into a rhythm,” he said.
Especially in the first half.
The Packers started sluggish, allowing three sacks of Rodgers in the first 9 minutes, then responded with touchdowns on three straight drives.
The defense held Robert Griffin III in check in the first half, and Green Bay rolled to a 24-0 lead at halftime.
Green Bay (1-1) bounced back after a season-opening loss at San Francisco.
The Redskins (0-2) will need to regroup again after getting off to a slow start for a second straight week.
Last week, the Redskins fell behind 26-7 at halftime before rallying in the second half in a 33-27 loss to the Eagles.
“We can’t really put our finger on what it is, and that’s the real frustrating part,” Griffin said.
He finished 26 for 40 for 320 yards and three touchdowns, but most of that came in the second half with the Packers ahead by three scores.
“I thought we almost had to play error-free football, play one of our better games,” Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said, “and probably did just the opposite in the first half.”
Randall Cobb added nine catches for 128 yards and a 35-yard touchdown on a crossing route for a 10-0 lead on a fourth-and-3 play in the first quarter.
Rodgers added touchdown passes to Jordy Nelson and Jermichael Finley in the second quarter. The Packers led 24-0 at the half, and Rodgers already had 335 yards passing.
Rodgers credited his receivers for gaining lots of ground after catches against the Redskins secondary.
But coach Mike McCarthy knows what Rodgers means to the offense, too.
“You know, he spoils me. He makes it look easy,” McCarthy said.
“No doubt, Aaron is a special football player. He’s at the point of his career where he is about making other people better, pulling everybody up.”
Such as the time when he scrambled to his right while being chased by Brian Orapko. Rodgers waited just long enough to find Finley for a 3-yard touchdown pass.
Not that he watched it. Just at the moment Rodgers released, Orapko took him to the ground on a clean hit.
Just as the fans in the stands erupted with delight, Rodgers, on his back, pumped his fist in the air.
Griffin, in the second game of his much-anticipated return from right knee surgery, looked OK but didn’t resemble the quarterback who confounded defenses last year.
The Packers’ defense threw a couple of different wrinkles, including a sack on a blitz by reserve cornerback Davon House. Mike Neal intercepted Griffin after receiver Josh Morgan lost his grip on the ball after being hit by Clay Matthews.
Griffin’s most memorable play of the first half might have been when his helmet flew off while being tackled by linebackers Matthews and A.J. Hawk.
“We’ll be better moving forward,” Griffin said. “We’ll figure this out.”
Pierre Garcon finished with eight catches for 143 yards against a Packers defense playing again without injured safety Morgan Burnett. Alfred Morris had 13 carries for 107 yards for Washington.
Notes: Packers RB Eddie Lacy left the game early in the first quarter with a concussion after getting hit by Redskins S Brandon Meriweather, who also departed in the second quarter after suffering a concussion. Both players were hurt on apparent helmet-to-helmet hits … Redskins K Kai Forbath missed the game with a sore groin. He was replaced by John Potter, who was signed Saturday. Potter made two extra-point attempts and went wide right on a 50-yard attempt … The Packers extended their franchise-record streak to 17 straight homes with at least 22 points scored.