This one is going to be hard to spin. Because the Green Bay Packers couldn’t muster enough offense to defeat a Washington Commanders team that has been searching for an identity on and off the field literally for decades.
The final score will read 23-21, but it felt so much worse.
For one, Green Bay led 14-3 early in the second quarter and were getting contributions on both sides of the ball.
Then the wheels fell off.
How many turning points were there in this game? Several, but one early momentum-flipper came late in the third quarter when Rashan Gary strip-sacked Tyler Heinicke at the Packers 39-yard line. The ball was scooped up by Rasul Douglas who scampered the other way for the score.
But there was a penalty flag on the field.
A barely-there nudge illegal contact penalty was called on cornerback Eric Stokes, which gave Washington a fresh set of downs. Instead of being up 21-10, Green Bay’s lead was just 14-10 heading into overtime.
The second half was more of the same.
The Packers ran just six offensive plays in the third quarter, and in fact possessed the ball for just 10:16 in the second half.
Early in the third quarter, the Commanders took their first and only lead of the game on a Heinicke to Terry McLaurin 37-yard touchdown strike over Jaire Alexander. That made the score 17-14, so there was plenty of time to mount a comeback.
Except the Packers never did.
In the fourth quarter, Green Bay had a chance to mount a comeback drive but were stalled on a fourth-and-one at the Washington 37-yard line. Aaron Rodgers tried to hit Romeo Doubs over the middle, but Romeo Doubs dropped the pass, turning the ball back over in the process.
“I don’t think anybody thought we’d be in this spot we’re in right now,” an exasperated coach Matt LaFleur told reporters after the game.
As has been preached for the last couple of weeks, the imperativeness of getting Aaron Jones the ball was heeded, at least early. During the Packers first two possessions, Jones carried the ball five times. He would only get three more rushing attempts the entire game, but was far more prolific in the passing game, hauling in 9 balls for 53 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Next week, the Packers must hit the road for arguably their toughest test of the season, playing Sunday Night Football at Buffalo. The Bills are 5-1 and will be coming off their Week 7 bye.
"Nobody’s going to give us a chance going to Buffalo on Sunday Night Football with a chance to get exposed,” Aaron Rodgers said defiantly after the game.
“Shoot, this might be the best thing for us."