Coach Mike McCarthy has christened this Team 93.
So, it’s an impressive feat when the Green Bay Packers do something for their first time in their championship-laden history.
The Packers crushed the Washington Redskins 38-20 at Lambeau Field, with Aaron Rodgers throwing for a career-high and franchise-record-tying 480 yards and four touchdowns and James Starks running for 132 yards and one touchdown. It marked the first time in franchise history that the Packers had a 400-yard passer and 100-yard rusher in the same game. Starks, meanwhile, gave the Packers their first 100-yard rusher since Brandon Jackson on Oct. 10, 2010, at Washington.
Reigning Rookie of the Year Robert Griffin III, on the other hand, failed to put the Redskins on the scoreboard during the first half for the second consecutive week. Griffin, who didn’t play during the preseason while recovering from a severe knee injury sustained in the playoffs. Griffin threw for 320 yards, but 203 came after halftime.
By winning a key game between reigning division champions, the Packers improved to 1-1. The Redskins fell to 0-2, a bad omen considering none of the 30 teams that started 0-2 over the previous four seasons reached the playoffs.
Using mostly short passes to offset the Redskins’ pass rush, Rodgers completed 26-of-31 passes for 335 yards and three touchdowns in the first half alone. The Packers scored touchdowns on three consecutive possessions to take control. It could have been worse had James Jones not fumbled at the goal line late in the first half.
With Green Bay leading 3-0, Rodgers threw a 35-yard touchdown pass to Randall Cobb, who was matched on linebacker Perry Riley Jr. on fourth-and-3. Cobb caught the pass at the 26 and blew past Riley and a pair of defensive backs.
The second touchdown was a 14-yard pass to Jordy Nelson, which came two plays after offensive holding wiped out a 10-yard touchdown reception by Nelson. The third was a 3-yard touchdown pass to Jermichael Finley, which was set up by a 57-yard catch and run by James Jones.
Jones, who led the NFL with 14 touchdown catches in 2012 but didn’t have a single reception last week at San Francisco, set career highs of nine catches for 152 yards in the first half alone.
Trailing 31-0, Griffin finally got the Redskins on the move. Running back Alfred Morris and receiver Pierre Garcon each went over 100 yards on the day during a touchdown drive that Griffin capped with a 6-yard pass to Garcon.
The Packers answered with a 32-yard touchdown run by Starks. That put him over 100 yards for the day – breaking a run of 44 consecutive regular-season games without a 100-yard rusher. On the touchdown, Starks used blocks by left guard Josh Sitton and left tackle David Bakhtiari, then ran through a couple of Redskins’ defensive backs around the 15-yard line.
Starks was in the game only because rookie running back Eddie Lacy sustained a concussion on the first series of the game.