A review of four hot issues from the Packers’ 38-20 victory over the Redskins on Sunday:
Reviewing Rodgers: Quarterback Aaron Rodgers has had plenty of games where he’s taken more deep shots down the field, but against the Redskins he piled up his franchise-record tying 480 yards passing in a much different manner. He utilized short drops and relied on the hitch route to put the ball in the hands of his receivers and let them do the work. As ESPN Stats & Information told us Sunday night, 283 of the Packers’ receiving yards came after the catch. That was the most YAC by any team since the start of the 2008 season. According to ProFootballFocus, Rodgers got the ball out of his hands in 2.5 seconds or less on 33 of his 46 drop-backs.
Helmet hits: No one in the Packers locker room after the game was willing to come right out and say the two helmet hits delivered by Redskins safety Brandon Meriweather were dirty plays. But after the Monday film review, I suspect the Packers will be unhappy about them at the very least. Meriweather wasn’t penalized either time for helmet-to-helmet contact, the first of which knocked out running back Eddie Lacy in the first quarter; the second knocked out Meriweather himself in the second quarter after leading with his helmet against James Starks. Said Packers right guard T.J. Lang: “I saw the first play on the replay. I’m not really sure what happened there. I know Eddie was spinning off some tackles trying to get some extra yards, ended up jumping over the pile where he was met by the safety. It’s one of those plays where you don’t like to see helmet-to-helmet contact. It’s just one of those safety concerns that they try to eliminate from the game. I’m not going to tell the refs how to do their jobs. I don’t know if it should have been a penalty or not, but hopefully Eddie’s all right.”
Sharing the carries: Depending on the severity of Lacy’s concussion, which may not be known for several days, the Packers may want to divide up the running back duties more equally between Lacy and Starks. It was Starks’ 132-yard performance that snapped the team's ignominious streak of consecutive games without a 100-yard rusher at 44. “Maybe this will start a little string,” Rodgers said. Or maybe it will make coach Mike McCarthy decide to take some of the workload off Lacy, at least for a while. In the opener at San Francisco, Lacy handled 14 of the 15 carries by running backs and appeared to be headed for another busy day against the Redskins. A running back combination might not result in many 100-yard individual games, but it might be the best thing for Lacy at this point.
New special-teams standout: With special-teams ace Jarrett Bush (hamstring) sidelined for the first time since Week 16 of the 2007 season, the Packers may have found a new star on the coverage units. Cornerback Davon House, who had three special-teams tackles in the opener against the 49ers, had two more against the Redskins. On the Packers’ first punt of the game, House beat the Redskins’ jammer at the line of scrimmage and outran two Washington players down the field to tackle returner Chris Thompson after only a 3-yard return.