Three takeaways from the WFT’s disappointing 24–10 loss to the Packers

By Gibson Hirt

If you looked at the box score from Washington’s loss to the Packers and didn’t already know the result, you would think that Washington should have easily won the game. They led in total yards, time of possession and first downs — yet they still managed to get decimated by the Packers. Turnovers, redzone woes and poor decision making led to another disheartening defeat for Washington. 

Here are three takeaways from Washington’s disappointing performance:

The defense is ramping up

Last week against the Chiefs, the defense proved that they’re still capable of playing as a top ten unit, but their success only lasted for one half. This time around, the defense played well for the entirety of the game. They sacked Aaron Rodgers three times and got in his face on numerous other occasions. Jon Allen continued his impressive season, picking up his second and third sacks of the year. Penalties weren’t the defense’s Achilles’ heel for the first time all season; besides a pass interference call in the fourth quarter, they played the entire game without committing a penalty, a feat they have struggled to accomplish this entire year. Most surprisingly, Landon Collins actually did something productive and recovered a lost fumble by AJ Dillion. As a group, the defense didn’t allow the Packers to score on multiple possessions in a single quarter. Add in the fact that an offensive turnover gave Green Bay ideal field position right out of halftime, and it’s even more impressive that the defense essentially kept Aaron Rodgers and Co. to just 17 points.

Costly turnovers

Ball security has been an issue for Washington’s offense throughout the first quarter of the season, and it continued to plague them on Sunday. While they only allowed one fumble that Green Bay actually recovered, the ball hit the ground three other times. Taylor Heinicke struggled to hold onto the football all game long, losing two fumbles, one of which cost Washington a guaranteed touchdown. Later in the game, just two plays after Deandre Carter lost the ball on a jet sweep, Antonio Gibson coughed up the ball; thankfully, Washington fell on top. The final straw was a Heinicke interception late in the fourth quarter that thwarted any hopes of a comeback. It’s nearly impossible to win an NFL game without taking care of the ball, and with the rest of the offense struggling to put up points, these turnovers put Washington in a conundrum.

Redzone inefficiency 

Coming into the game, Washington was bottom five in red zone efficiency, but nobody expected the offense to play as horrendously as they did against the Packers. Green Bay’s defense had given up touchdowns on all 15 previous red zone drives, yet Washington still couldn’t find a way to get into the endzone on a single red zone possession. Six trips inside the 20 led to a total of three points. Let me repeat: three points. The only time a Washington drive ended in seven points was a 40-yard bomb to Terry McLaurin. Washington had what felt like an endless amount of opportunities to score, including what should have been a walk-in touchdown for Heinicke, but the score was called back because Heinicke gave himself up short of the goal line. To make matters worse, he tried a QB sneak on fourth and goal and fumbled the ball, resulting in another empty red zone trip that left fans flabbergasted. Washington didn’t send out the punting unit a single time on Sunday, yet they somehow amassed only 10 points. 

Washington has a chance for a “get right” game next week; they travel to Denver to take on the Broncos, who have lost four straight games after starting the season out 3–0. The defense needs to build on its strong play and the offense needs to flip the script if Washington wants to end their three game skid and get back in the win column.