GREEN BAY – The Packers won their sixth straight game on Sunday, 24-10 over Washington at Lambeau Field.
Here are five takeaways from the triumph.
1. The offense found a way to do just enough.
Washington's stout defensive front took away the run and sacked quarterback Aaron Rodgers three times in the first half. The run game, which accounted for just 40 yards not including Rodgers' scrambles, never got going. But the pass protection settled down enough to produce a nine-play, 72-yard touchdown drive at the end of the second quarter, putting the Packers up 14-7 at halftime.
Receiver Allen Lazard had all five of his receptions on the day, for 60 yards, on that drive. He capped it with a 10-yard TD on a nifty back-shoulder throw in the slot from Rodgers, who woke up Sunday morning with a stiff back and got some early treatment, but played without any visible issues.
"Allen does so much of the dirty work for us," Head Coach Matt LaFleur said. "I like to call him 'the goon' but he's got about five other nicknames. It's great to see him get rewarded for really consistent and really great play."
2. Like Lazard, TE Robert Tonyan got more involved in the passing game, too.
Tonyan caught four passes for 63 yards and a touchdown, a 20-yarder early in the third quarter that finished a double up on either side of halftime for a 21-7 advantage.
The defense generated a turnover on Washington's opening drive of the second half, giving the offense the ball in great field position to duplicate the TD that ended the first half.
Linebacker Rashan Gary hit Washington QB Taylor Heinicke from behind, knocking the ball out, and defensive lineman Dean Lowry recovered. It was one of two sacks on the day for Gary, who along with inside linebacker De'Vondre Campbell led a spirited defensive effort with numerous highlights.
3. The defense's first red-zone stop of the season was a huge one.
Down 21-7, Washington tried to answer quickly, driving the length of the field, but a replay review took away Heinicke's scramble for a touchdown and put the ball inside the 1-yard line.
Washington went for it on fourth-and-goal. Gary said Green Bay's entire defensive front was playing for the QB sneak, and Campbell managed to knock the ball loose from Heinicke. He tried to regain control and use a second effort to reach the ball across the goal line, but he was ruled down.
Washington challenged the ruling to no avail.
"That was a tough call either way," LaFleur said.
After allowing the opponent to score a touchdown on all 15 trips inside the red zone in the season's first six games, Green Bay's defense had a big-time stop.
4. Then the defense suddenly got on a roll in the red zone.
Moments later, Washington was right back down there again, but the Packers stood tall again. After nearly recovering a fumble around the 5-yard line, Green Bay recorded another turnover on downs when safety Adrian Amos had blanket coverage on tight end Ricky Seals-Jones in the end zone on fourth down.
After a Packers field goal to make it a three-score game at 24-7, thanks in part to an incredible 26-yard sideline catch against tight coverage by Davante Adams, Washington was back in the red zone again midway through the fourth quarter.
This time, Heinicke's third-down pass to the end zone for Adam Humphries was picked off by cornerback Chandon Sullivan.
Then, Washington got one more crack in close, but two sacks – 1½ of them by Kingsley Keke – pushed them back and forced a field goal for the game's final points.
"I think our defense is playing with a lot of confidence," LaFleur said. "They've faced a lot of adversity, too, just in terms of losing a lot of key players."
Rodgers followed up with the new red-zone numbers: "15-for-19 now," he said. "That's good. I'm happy for those guys."
Lambeau Field hosted a Week 7 matchup between the Green Bay Packers and Washington Football Team on Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021.
5. There are issues to deal with on a short week.
Heinicke was able to scramble too much, for 95 yards in all, a concern heading into a Thursday night game against a highly mobile QB in Arizona's Kyler Murray.
Running back AJ Dillon put the ball on the ground twice, losing one of the fumbles.
"We're 6-1," Rodgers said. "Coach's dream situation is winning and still being able to correct a lot of things, so they're happy."