LANDOVER, Md. — So, Aaron Rodgers was asked, what do you say to your Green Bay Packers teammates after winning just one of the season’s first three games?
His reply: “I would probably just tell them, ‘Go home and have a Scotch.’ That’s what I’m going to do.”
Sounds about right.
Things have not gone all that well for Rodgers and Co. so far, and as the Packers (1-1-1) look ahead to hosting the Buffalo Bills next week, there is plenty to work on.
“We’ve got to clean our own house,” coach Mike McCarthy said. “It’s sloppy right now.”
That was certainly the case in a 31-17 loss at the Washington Redskins on Sunday, when Green Bay fell behind 14-0 and trailed 28-10 at halftime after giving up TD drives of 74, 75, 79 and 98 yards.
Among McCarthy’s laments were his team’s 11 penalties for 115 yards — including three for pass interference on one drive — and the most-discussed among those flags was linebacker Clay Matthews’ for roughing the passer after he sacked Alex Smith late in third quarter.
“Unfortunately, this league is going in a direction that a lot of people don’t like. I think they’re getting soft. The only thing hard about this league is the fines they levy down on guys like me that play the game hard,” Matthews said. “Maybe now pass rushers, guys getting after the quarterback, you’ll just have to attack the ball.”
The Redskins (2-1), meanwhile, head into their bye with some positive momentum they hope to maintain when they travel to play at the New Orleans Saints on Oct. 8 after the early break.
“The big thing is just to stay focused, stay humble and move forward,” Redskins coach Jay Gruden said. “Handle the bye week like pros and come back ready to roll.”
Here are things we learned about the Packers and the Redskins moving forward:
PETERSON’S STILL GOT IT
A week after gaining 20 yards on 11 attempts, Adrian Peterson went for 120 yards on 19 runs with a pair of 2-yard TDs. He’s 33, but he still can carry a team. “He fell into our lap at a critical time,” said Gruden, whose club signed Peterson after rookie Derrius Guice tore up his knee in the preseason. “We needed a player, and he was there for us. He is everything as advertised.”
Rodgers said he expects to start against Buffalo after again dealing with an injured left knee, which he hurt in Week 1. He wore a bulky brace on his left knee against Washington, and he came up hobbling a bit after some plays where he moved around in the pocket or scrambled for a gain. “I got a little banged up,” said Rodgers, who was 27 for 44 for 265 yards passing with two TDs, “but finished the game.” Added Rodgers: “It can be painful at times moving around, especially lateral movement. But I’m going to be out there if I’m up to it and try and get this thing back turned the right direction with a win next week.”
The Redskins’ defence continues a potentially difficult stretch when it takes on Saints QB Drew Brees next, after taking on Rodgers and Colts quarterback Andrew Luck the past two games. Cornerback Josh Norman characterized his unit’s inconsistency this way: “It’s kind of like, ‘Wow! All right. OK! Ugh. All right. OK. Finally. Let’s go!’ It’s been that kind of thing, like: Up. Down. Up. Down. Have great days, have bad days. I don’t know. We find our niche at one point and then we come back down. Then we find it again. It’s a seesaw.”
WORK IN PROGRESS
Green Bay is still trying to get its offence going in the right direction. There were several key drops that stood out and a ground game that was limited to 15 carries for 87 yards by running backs. That included six attempts for 42 yards by Aaron Jones, who returned to action after missing the first two games while suspended for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy. “We’re a work in progress on offence. We’ve got to keep finding ways to get Davante (Adams) more attempts and Jimmy (Graham) more involved. We’ve got to find the run game, too, because we have three talented backs,” Rodgers said. “We need to start a little faster. We haven’t been starting fast in games.”