Facing an upcoming bye week, the mental toll of another loss, entering the break with a sub-.500 record would have been tough to handle.
The Redskins, too, insisted they were better than the team that was dominated last week against the Colts. Players blamed a “low energy” on the sidelines, but running back Adrian Peterson promised it wouldn’t happen again.
“You could see it during the week: the focus, the determination,” said Peterson, who rushed for two touchdowns. “Last week was an embarrassment. You could tell throughout the week that guys took it personal.”
Variety was the key to the Redskins‘ offensive success early. Through two games this season, the Redskins had run the ball 58 percent of the time on first down and the predictability of it allowed the Colts to shut down the Redskins‘ offense.
But against the Packers, the Redskins began the afternoon in shotgun formation and Smith hit tight end Jordan Reed for a seven-yard gain. Washington stayed aggressive. On the third play of that very same drive, the Redskins ran a play-action rollout to Vernon Davis, disguised as a fullback, for 20 yards.
Immediately after that, Smith threw deep — finding Paul Richardson for a 46-yard touchdown to put the Redskins ahead, 7-0. In all, the Redskins needed just four plays to jump out to a lead. Entering the game, they had gone six full quarters without a touchdown.
Peterson was the primary reason why. He burst through holes. He shed off defenders. The 33-year-old running back’s 120 yards on 19 carries was the 52nd time in his career in which he finished a game with more than 100 yards.
Washington even responded when absolutely necessary, overcoming mistakes.
On offense, Smith came back from throwing a horrendous interception to lead the Redskins on an eight-play, 98-yard drive that resulted in a Jamison Crowder touchdown to put the team up 21-3.
“That’s just how the game goes: You have to be resilient in this league,” Crowder said. “You’ve got to be able to respond. You’ve got to be able to deal with adversity. So we just have to ride the wave and I think we did a great job today and got a win.”
The defense wasn’t perfect, either. Following the Crowder touchdown, the Packers took advantage of a miscue from D.J. Swearinger and Josh Norman — as Rodgers found a wide-open Geronimo Allison for a 64-yard bomb.
With 5:32 left, cornerback Fabian Moreau stripped Packers wideout Randall Cobb and Josh Norman recovered. The takeaway allowed the Redskins to further take time off the clock, holding the ball for 3:34 until kicker Dustin Hopkins drilled a 35-yard field goal.
Rodgers was sacked four times, two of which belonged to defensive lineman Jonathan Allen.
Washington will now move forward and when they return, they’ll have a primetime matchup on “Monday Night Football” with the New Orleans Saints.
“We’ve kind of been up and down, so to speak, but I like the way we came out,” coach Jay Gruden said. “I [told] them today, we play with that type of energy and that type of effort every week, we’re pretty dangerous.”
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