The Washington Redskins’ 2015-16 season ended in defeat at the hands of Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. On Sunday night, Trent Murphy and Co. got some revenge, topping the Pack, 42-24, with a spectacular performance on both sides of the ball.
After a back-and-forth contest, Washington pulled away in the fourth quarter behind big plays from quarterback Kirk Cousins and running back Robert Kelley.
“We certainly had a sour taste in our mouths walking away from the game last season,” Cousins said. “When you watch the film, we felt like there were plays there to be made that didn’t get made. I think tonight you saw what we felt we were capable of doing last January and just didn’t get it done.”
After a slow start in the first quarter featuring three punts from each team, this game seemed destined to be a defensive struggle. At the end of the opening frame, the teams exchanged touchdowns. Washington scored on a 17-yard pass from Cousins to DeSean Jackson, who returned from injury this week.
The Packers tied the game on a James Starks run, and took a 10-7 lead minutes later on a 36-yard field goal from the leg of Mason Crosby. Not to be outdone, Washington struck 41 seconds before the end of the half on the first of two Robert Kelley rushing touchdowns. The halftime score was 14-10 in favor of Washington.
Aaron Rodgers was up to his usual elusiveness as the Green Bay signal caller, holding a talented Washington pass rush to two sacks (Ryan Kerrigan and Chris Baker). Trent beat his man off the edge several times and was able to hurry Rodgers from the pocket—though at times he was able to recover to make scrambles and positive-yardage plays.
“It’s a little frustrating” said DT Chris Baker, speaking on the QB’s elusiveness “you work so hard to get sacks and beat offensive lineman, but a guy like Aaron, he does a good job at keeping his feet alive and finding open holes…so you just got to be smart and rush with good lane integrity and when you get a chance to get to him, take him down.”
Washington added to its lead in the third quarter, tacking on a quick Dustin Hopkins field goal and forcing a Packers miss. On the ensuing drive, Cousins connected with a streaking Jamison Crowder on a 44-yard touchdown strike to increase the Redskin lead to 22-10. From the 2:00 mark in the third to 3:54 left in the fourth, both teams exchanged offensive outbursts, with Washington adding three touchdowns and Green Bay two of their own.
Cousins hit another accurate long ball to Pierre Garcon, this time a 70-yard connection, while Green Bay answered with a James Starks receiving score. The Pack also added a James Cook scoring reception before Josh Norman forced a key turnover and Robert Kelley tallied his second TD of the day to ice the game.
In the locker room following the win, many Redskins players had already turned their attention to next week’s challenge: the second matchup against Dallas, winners of nine straight games and leaders of the NFC East.
“It’s going to be a bigger stage” said Josh Norman “We’ve got our hands full, but it’s not a task I feel like we can’t take on.” Trent had two sacks against the Cowboys earlier this season.
The Redskins will face off against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving day, 11/24 at 4:30 pm.