1:00 PM ET, September 15, 2013
Lambeau Field, Green Bay, WI
A quarterback known mostly for his mobility sat back and picked apart the Green Bay Packers' defense through the air last week, leaving half of the team's defensive game plan in ruins.
Green Bay faces a similar test Sunday, as Griffin looks to help Washington turn in a more complete effort on offense in his first visit to Lambeau Field.
While the Packers focused on keeping Colin Kaepernick in the pocket after he torched them for an NFL quarterback-record 181 rushing yards in January's NFC divisional playoff loss, Kaepernick was busy throwing for a career-high 412 yards and three touchdowns -- while totaling just 22 yards on the ground -- to help San Francisco beat Green Bay 34-28 last Sunday.
"When you're playing a quarterback that has those kinds of talents and can move around and has a strong arm, you've got to be able to (stop) both (aspects of his game)," defensive coordinator Dom Capers said. "We played one phase well, we didn't play the other phase well enough."
Griffin is considered one of those quarterbacks despite having offseason knee surgery after leading all NFL signal-callers with 815 rushing yards as a rookie in 2012.
But after taking zero preseason snaps, Griffin appeared rusty in Monday night's 33-27 loss to Philadelphia. A fumble, an interception and a botched pitch that led to a safety on the first three possessions forced Griffin to throw a career-most 49 passes while rushing for only 24 yards. He set career highs of 30 completions and 329 yards passing while tossing two touchdowns, but he also threw a pair of interceptions for the first time as a pro.
"I'm responsible for the way I play," Griffin said. "You move on from it. I'm not going to sit here and say I was rusty. I've got to be accountable."
Coach Mike Shanahan wouldn't bite on questions about Griffin's play.
"I don't critique players though the media," Shanahan said. "We didn't do the things offensively that we needed to do as a group."
Packers coach Mike McCarthy was more open about the challenges he faces attempting to stop Griffin.
"He's a mobile quarterback that has the ability to stretch the defense," McCarthy told the team's official website. "He has the ability to make plays in space and he can make all the throws. In any Mike Shanahan offense, it starts with running the football."
The Redskins, though, didn't do that very well Monday either, much to the disappointment of Shanahan. Their 74 rushing yards were far below last season's average of 169.3 that led the NFL.
Alfred Morris carried 12 times for 45 yards and a touchdown, fumbling on the first offensive play and combining with Griffin on the botched pitch in the end zone that led to a safety on the team's third possession.
When asked about the performance of the running game, Shanahan sarcastically asked, "What running game?"
Washington also had issues trying to slow Philadelphia's no-huddle, up-tempo offense, something it also should get a glimpse of from Green Bay.
McCarthy described his team's no-huddle offense as "up and down" in last week's loss. Four touchdown drives combined for 287 yards in 8 minutes, 21 seconds, but their remaining eight drives included going three-and-out five times.
Eddie Lacy ran 14 times for only 41 yards, though, as the Packers totaled 63 on the ground.
"It's one game, we lost, now we go back home," Rodgers said. "You want to look at the big picture but also address the things you did wrong. We're going to do that and be back next week."
Green Bay has won 20 of its last 21 regular-season games at Lambeau Field, with the only loss coming to San Francisco in last season's home opener. Redskins receiver Pierre Garcon, who caught seven passes for 64 yards Monday, knows his team is in for a tough environment.
"You never want to start 0-2," Garcon said. "I know it's going to be loud, it's their home opener and we're looking forward to a good game."
Packers safety Morgan Burnett didn't play last week due to a hamstring injury, and his status for Sunday is uncertain.
Washington linebacker Ryan Kerrigan passed concussion tests and has been cleared to play after taking a shot to the head near the end of Monday's game.
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|Avg Points Allowed||35.5||27.0|
Team Averages & NFL Ranks
|TEAM OFFENSE||TEAM||PER GAME AVERAGE|
|TEAM DEFENSE||TEAM||PER GAME AVERAGE|
|Pass Yds Allowed||WSH|
|Rush Yds Allowed||WSH|
Head to Head Matchups (Since 2001)
|Green Bay leads 5-1|
|Oct 10, 2010||WSH 16, GB 13|
|Oct 14, 2007||WSH 14, @GB 17|
|Oct 31, 2004||WSH 14, GB 28|
|Oct 20, 2002||WSH 9, @GB 30|
|Sep 24, 2001||WSH 0, @GB 37|
The Packers gained 283 yards after the catch Sunday, the most by any team in the last six seasons. Both James Jones (90 YAC) and Randall Cobb (78 YAC) set career-highs after the catch. The 8.3 average YAC per reception for the Packers Sunday was the best for any team with 30 receptions in a game in the last six seasons.
Slow starts are hurting Robert Griffin III and the Redskins. Washington has been outscored by a league-worst 43 points in the first half. RG III hasn't helped ... his total QBR in the first half is 1.9 compared to 75.9 in the second half.[+]
THIRTY-MINUTE MEN - REDSKINS OFFENSE THIS SEASON
Robert Griffin III had a Total QBR of 43.0 against the Packers, including 5.3 in the 1st half as the Packers built a 24-0 lead. Griffin has done most of his damage late in garbage time this season, as the Redskins haven't entered the 4th quarter this season with a win probability above 2%.[+]
Robert Griffin III Total QBR by Quarter, This Season
The Redskins' defense sent added pressure after Aaron Rodgers on only 7-of-34 dropbacks (21%) in the first half, one week after the 49ers held Rodgers to 1-6 for 3 yards and an interception using added pressure. Rodgers took advantage of Washington's standard pass rush, completing 23-of-25 passes for 259 yards and two touchdowns against four or fewer rushers in the first half and helping the Packers jump out to a 24-0 halftime lead.
The Redskins allowed 1,023 yards over their first two games, two shy of the most by any team in NFL history.[+]
Most Yards Allowed Through 2 Games - NFL History
The Redskins are the fourth team since the merger to be outscored by 43 points in the 1st half of their first 2 games of a season.[+]
Worst Combined Halftime Deficit in 1st 2 Games, Since Merger
James Jones set career highs with 11 catches on 12 targets for 178 yards on Sunday. Jones caught six passes that went for first downs, and had caught more than six passes in a game only three times in his career.
The Redskins used the zone-read three times in Week 2, with Alfred Morris gaining 14 yards on those plays. The Redskins have used zone-reads only five times this season (20 yards) after using them more than all but one team last season (Panthers).
Aaron Rodgers had an 80.9 Total QBR against the Redskins, he had a 98.0 QBR when the score differential was greater than 17, compared to a 65.0 Total QBR when the game was within 16 points. He was sacked 4 times, including back-to-back plays in goal-to-go situations in a 0-0 game, and once on 3rd down.
Robert Griffin III has faced at least five pass rushers twice as often as last season and has struggled to adjust. Griffin went 1-for-5 against such pressure in the first half against the Packers Sunday, all on third down.[+]
Robert Griffin III Facing 5+ Pass Rushers, Last 2 Seasons
ESPN Stats & Information