Report card vs. Redskins

Defense receives the best grades; rushing offense and coaching get low marks

PASSING OFFENSE: C-minus -- Red-hot Brett Favre had his worst performance to date, barely completing half of his 37 passes for 188 yards and zero touchdowns. What's more, Favre was guilty of putting too much air under the ball on sideline heaves to wide-open James Jones and Greg Jennings, which allowed athletic Washington safety Sean Taylor to glide in from the middle of the field for two impressive interceptions.

A questionable holding call by RT Mark Tauscher wiped out a third-quarter touchdown throw to Jones. At least three drops exacerbated matters. TE Donald Lee was the shining rarity among the cast, releasing off the line on a Favre audible and snaring a pass over the middle that he turned into a 60-yard gain, the Packers' longest play from scrimmage this season. It led to the only offensive touchdown, a 3-yard run by DeShawn Wynn on the next play.

RUSHING OFFENSE: D -- The team's weakest area hasn't shown much through six weeks. In defense of the running backs, they had few opportunities to try to make something happen -- six runs to 23 pass plays in the first half and 20 carries for the game. Yet, it's a sad commentary on the unit's effectiveness when Favre tied for the team lead with a 7-yard gain on a scramble.

Wynn averaged only 2.8 yards in 13 carries, though he had powerful cutback runs of 5 and 6 yards on back-to-back plays late in the game before Favre's second interception.

PASS DEFENSE: B -- The good news for the Packers defense heading into the bye week is it gets a week off from trying to avoid being abused by a tight end. Chris Cooley was unstoppable in the first half with seven catches for 97 yards and a touchdown. A much-needed alteration in coverage responsibilities in the second half kept Cooley significantly quieter (two receptions for 8 yards).

A ramped-up pass rush played a crucial part in the Packers shutting out the Redskins the final two quarters. Ends Aaron Kampman (two sacks), Cullen Jenkins (one) and Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila, along with tackle Johnny Jolly, routinely won their battles down the stretch and didn't give Jason Campbell the time he had in the first half to set his feet and find an open receiver. Charles Woodson came up with his first interception off a deflection, extending the Packers' streak to a club-record 12 games with a pick.

RUSH DEFENSE: B-plus -- Woodson, with an assist from lineman Corey Williams, had the play of the game in a run situation. A slick turf caused Santana Moss to lose his footing as he cut on a reverse, thus giving Williams a perfect angle to punch the football. Woodson dived over Moss to gather the ball, rise to his feet and sprint 57 yards for the decisive touchdown late in the third quarter.

Later, SS Atari Bigby put a stick on Clinton Portis on a deep toss play, resulting in another Redskins giveaway. Until then, however, Portis, who had 20 carries for 64 yards, generated some substantial gains outside the tackles. Missed tackles and over-pursuit were culprits.

SPECIAL TEAMS: C-minus -- Two plays in a span of about a minute and a half late in the fourth quarter could have spelled disaster. A Redskins punt hit an unsuspecting Jarrett Bush in the leg as returner Woodson waved it off. Woodson saved Bush the embarrassing turnover by falling on the free football. Then, after Green Bay's subsequent three-and-out, rookie up back Korey Hall mistakenly made the call for long snapper Rob Davis to hike the ball to P Jon Ryan with oodles of time left on the play clock and the seconds ticking on the game clock.

The Packers' ability to hold on for the three-point win also took Mason Crosby off the hook. The rookie struggled with wet field conditions, slipping on a kickoff and missing two field-goal attempts to the left when he eased up on swinging away.

On the plus side, Ryan was mostly solid with his eight punts, averaging 39.1 net and keeping Antwaan Randle El (one return for 4 yards) from becoming a factor.

COACHING: C -- A knock against Mike McCarthy in the midst of becoming an early-season contender for NFL Coach of the Year is that he has a tendency to become too wrapped up in the doings of the offense, for which he calls the plays, and doesn't always have his finger on the pulse of the other two phases.

Sure enough, McCarthy admittedly turned his attention to what had just happened on third down and unknowingly allowed a cardinal sin to occur with the premature punt late in the contest with the game clock running and the play clock still at 17 seconds in the final 1:30. The extra time given to the Redskins didn't matter, much to McCarthy's relief.

Defensive coordinator Bob Sanders made the proper adjustments at halftime to devote cornerbacks who could stay with and contain the slippery Cooley. McCarthy went back to all but abandoning the run. He was smart in going away from the bread-and-butter slant passes, which the Redskins were out to stop, but an unusual ploy to take numerous vertical shots downfield had more negative consequences than positive.


Packer Report Top Stories