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Cousins, Redskins Make It Look Easy Against Packers – Week 11 Recap

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Cousins Exploits Undermanned Packers Secondary

Kirk Cousins exposed something in the Green Bay defense Sunday night that most have known for a long time, they’re no good.

With the wind whipping around FedEx FieldCousins found receiver after receiver running freely down the field on his way to throwing for 375 yards and three touchdowns in the Redskins 42-24 victory.

Washington’s 42 point outburst brings the total to 153 points given up by the Packers defense in the past four games. For reference, the Seahawks have allowed 173 the whole season. The defense also allowed 515 of total net yards, by far the most this season.

Cousins completed 21 of 30 passes for a nearly perfect QB Rating of 145.8. This marks the 3rd time in Green Bay’s 4 game losing streak an opposing teams quarterback has had a rating above 125. (Ryan – 129.5, Mariota – 149.8).

These numbers jump out at you and make it clear there is a great talent disparity between the Packers secondary and opposing teams wide-outs.

As good as Cousins can be, last night it was like he was playing catch in the backyard with grown men at wide-receiver and middle-school children in coverage. It seemed almost any quarterback in the league could’ve put up at least 35 with the separation afforded to him.

The Packers lack of effective secondary play resulted in numerous big plays, including six of 20 yards or longer, and allowing Cousins to convert on 9 of 14 3rd down conversions (64% rate).

Specifically out of the cornerback position, Green Bay hit a new low.

Per PFF, of the three eligible players at the position, the highest graded player was Micah Hyde. This is frightening when you realize he graded out at 48.1, 58th among all corners. Ladarius Gunter was the lowest graded player on the Packers’ defense at 33.3 and finished 76th among his position.

Gunter was targeted seven times by Cousins and gave up five catches for 117 yards and a touchdown. In two of his last three games he has given up at least five catches for over 100 yards and a touchdown, while also giving up a QB rating of 158.3 (perfect rating) and 153.3 in those games.

As a whole, the Packers’ corners have given up 17 touchdowns and have only one interception this year. They also rank 31st in pass coverage among all NFL teams, ranking behind only the Colts.

Even though Green Bay is still without it’s top two corners, Sam Shields (concussion) and Damarious Randall (groin), there is no excuse for the type of showing they had against Cousins and the Redskins.

Every time Aaron Rodgers and the offense made a push, the struggling defense folded.

Two times in the games fourth quarter Rodgers threw a touchdown pass that was followed by a Washington scoring drive of their own. Most notably, after Rodgers hit Jared Cook for a redzone touchdown to make the score 29-24 with 10 minutes remaining, the Redskins went on an 11-play, 81 yard drive ending with a one-yard touchdown run by Robert Kelley.

Kelley, who rushed for 137 yards on 24 attempts while also adding three touchdowns, was set up at the one by possibly the most important play of the game.

On 3rd and seven, with one stop meaning Rodgers and company would get the ball back in a position to possibly take the lead, defensive coordinator Dom Capers chose to blitz safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix off the edge. This meant linebacker Joe Thomas would be left one-on-one with no help over the top against the speedy Jamison Crowder.

Predictably, Crowder easily blew by Thomas. Cousins dropped a ball right into his hands with no Packer within 10 feet, and 53 yards later Crowder was brought down inside the one.

This play was yet another example of Dom Capers diminishing grasp on his own defensive scheme and his clueless nature when it comes to the talent he has to work with.

Both Crowder and his partner on the outside Pierre Garcon lit up Capers defense all night.

Crowder only caught three passes total, but was able to take those minimal touches for 103 yards, including a 44-yard touchdown in the third quarter to go with the 53 yard dagger in the fourth.

Garcon caught six passes for 116 yards, headlined by a 70-yard touchdown catch early in the fourth, a response to an Aaron Rodgers touchdown just three plays prior.

The narrative of Rodgers losing a step has disappeared recently, but statistics aren’t bringing wins. For the second week in a row Rodgers threw for over 350 yards and three touchdowns and achieved a QB rating over 100 in a loss, this week throwing for 351 yards on 26 of 41 (63.4%) attempts for three scores and a rating of 115. He was also again the teams leading rusher.

During the Packers four-game losing streak Rodgers has been far above average, completing 111 of 173 (64.1%) passes for 1,265 yards and 12 touchdowns. The latter two being league highs during the stretch.

Now sitting at 4-6, two games behind the Vikings and Lions, Green Bay has plenty of question marks surrounding them. All much bigger than if their quarterback is talking to his family or not.

Next week, they will again have the national spotlight on them as they travel to Philadelphia for a Monday night game against the Eagles. The only silver lining is that with the MNF crew being present, Jon Gruden can get a close-up view of the team he will be heading up next season.

Okay, not really, but it’s not wrong to hope right?

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