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Packers fall to Commanders, 23-21

Green Bay loses third straight to drop to 3-4

LB Preston Smith
LB Preston Smith

LANDOVER, Md. – The Packers lost their third straight game Sunday, falling to the Commanders 23-21 on Sunday at FedExField.

With the loss, Green Bay dropped to 3-4 on the season.

The Packers led 14-3 early thanks to a TD reception by RB Aaron Jones and a pick-six by LB De'Vondre Campbell, but the Commanders scored the next 20 points to lead 23-14 late in the fourth quarter. Both sides of the ball were struggling mightily for Green Bay.

A second Jones TD reception with just over three minutes left gave the Packers a chance, but the defense couldn't get the ball back until less than 30 seconds remained on the clock, and a last-ditch drive came up short.

For the Packers, QB Aaron Rodgers was 23-of-35 for 194 yards with two TDs and a 99.0 passer rating (before the final play with a completion and bunch of laterals). Jones had eight carries for 23 yards plus nine receptions for 53 yards and the two scores. WR Allen Lazard added six catches for 55 yards.

For the Commanders, QB Taylor Heinicke was 20-of-33 for 200 yards with two TDs, one INT and an 85.4 rating. RBs Brian Robinson Jr. and Antonio Gibson combined for 133 yards on the ground on 30 carries. WR Terry McLaurin had five catches for 73 yards and a TD, with WR Curtis Samuel adding five catches for 52 yards.

Here's a recap of all the action:

QB Aaron Rodgers

Packers lead Commanders 7-3 after first quarter

Washington won the opening coin toss and deferred. With David Bakhtiari inactive, the Packers started rookie Zach Tom at left tackle, Elgton Jenkins at left guard, Josh Myers at center, Jon Runyan at right guard and Yosh Nijman at right tackle.

Green Bay ran its first four plays through running back Aaron Jones, who gained 17 yards on his touches. Aaron Rodgers wasn't able to connect with Allen Lazard on a third-and-4 slant.

Pat O'Donnell's 55-yard punt went out of bounds at the Washington 3.

The Packers used their first challenge with 10 minutes, 51 seconds left in the first quarter, challenging whether Curtis Samuel completed the catch on a 3-yard completion on second-and-7. It was overturned to incomplete.

Green Bay completed the three-and-out when Heinicke's pass on third-and-7 fell incomplete. The Packers started their second offensive series at the Washington 42 after Amari Rodgers' 16-yard punt return.

Rodgers fired an 11-yard pass to Lazard on a slant to convert on second-and-4. Jones broke a 7-yard run off the right side before Rodgers hit Lazard on a screen in the left flat. Romeo Doubs threw the block to free Lazard on the 12-yard pickup.

The Packers scored on a slip screen to Jones up the middle for the 3-yard touchdown, giving Green Bay a 7-0 lead with 6:38 remaining in the first quarter. Jones had 27 yards on seven touches on the first two series.

The Packers matched Jaire Alexander against Terry McLaurin, which nearly led to an interception on third-and-3 when Heinicke's pass flew behind McLaurin. Amari Rodgers muffed the punt after the three-and-out, giving Washington the ball back at the Packers' 17.

Green Bay's defense held its ground, forcing the Commanders to settle for a Joey Slye 22-yard field goal to cut the Packers' lead to 7-3 with 2:04 left in the first quarter.

On the ensuing possession, the Packers went three-and-out after a holding penalty on first down.

LBs Preston Smith & De'Vondre Campbell

Packers lead Commanders 14-10 at halftime

The Packers' defense got the big takeaway it was looking for at the start of the second quarter, with De'Vondre Campbell picking off a heavily pressured Heinicke and returning the interception for a 63-yard touchdown.

Campbell's first career pick-six extended the Packers' lead to 14-3 with 13:29 left in the first half. It was the first pick-six by a Packers linebacker since Clay Matthews (2011, vs. New York Giants) and the longest since Nick Barnett's 95-yard INT return against New Orleans in 2005.

The Commanders converted a pair of third-and-1s to set up first down at the Green Bay 35. On the next play, Brian Robinson ran down to the Packers' 11. The Packers challenged whether Robinson fumbled at the end of the run when Darnell Savage raked the ball out with 8:08 left in the half.

After a long discussion, the officials upheld the ruling on the field and Green Bay was out of challenges for the remainder of the game.

On third-and-8, Heinicke hit Antonio Gibson for a 9-yard touchdown out of the backfield to cut Green Bay's lead to 14-10 with 7:21 left in the half.

On third-and-6, Rashan Gary hit a scrambling Heinicke to force a fumble that was recovered by Rasul Douglas for a 61-yard touchdown. However, Eric Stokes was flagged for illegal contact against Gibson, while Heinicke was in the pocket.

On the next third down, Douglas recorded his third pass breakup. Slye then missed the 46-yard field goal to give Green Bay the ball back at its 37 with 2:48 remaining.

Lazard drew a defensive pass interference penalty against Rachad Wildgoose for a first down at the Packers' 41. On third-and-11, Rodgers couldn't hit Doubs on a slant. Washington got the ball back at its 31 with 1:35 remaining.

The Packers' defense forced a three-and-out, giving the ball back to the offense with 44 seconds left.

RB Aaron Jones

Packers trail Commanders 20-14 after three

The second half started with Washington executing a five-play, 74-yard drive that ended with a 37-yard touchdown pass to Terry McLaurin to put the Commanders ahead 17-14 with 11:49 left in the third quarter.

Jones picked up eight yards off a shovel pass on first down and Lazard converted with a 5-yard reception in the flat. Lazard went to the sideline after the play. Rodgers' third-and-2 pass to Doubs fell incomplete, leading to another O'Donnell punt.

Washington converted two more third downs, with a 17-yard pass to Armani Rogers on third-and-2 and an 11-yard pass to Curtis Samuel on third-and-11 to get to midfield.

Officials initially ruled Heinicke fumbled the ball on first-and-10 from the Green Bay 38 but it was overturned after a challenged by Washington coach Ron Rivera. Kingsley Enagbare was credited with the breakup. 

Slye made a 31-yard field goal to extend Washington's lead to 20-14 with 8 seconds left in the quarter, ending a 16-play, 72-yard drive that lasted 8:48.

Lazard, who was back for the series, caught a 17-yard pass to end the third quarter.

LB Preston Smith

Packers fall to Commanders, 23-21

Rodgers flicked a 12-yard pass to Jones to get to midfield. On third-and-10, Rodgers connected with Amari Rodgers for a 9-yard completion.

The Packers went for it on fourth-and-1 from the Washington 37 and turned the ball over on downs with 11:22 remaining after Rodgers' screen pass for Doubs fell incomplete.

Lazard exited with a shoulder injury, while Rashan Gary went to the locker room to be evaluated for a concussion.

Enagbare sacked Heinicke for a 3-yard loss on first down, it was his second in as many weeks. Curtis Samuel caught a crosser on third-and-8 to convert and continue the drive.

Heinicke threw the ball away on third-and-goal at the Green Bay 1, leading to a Slye 19-yard field goal that put Washington up by two scores, 23-14, with 6:42 remaining.

Watkins caught an 8-yard pass on first down and helped convert the initial first down after Benjamin St.-Juste was called for illegal hands to the face.

An 11-yard pass to Amari Rodgers moved the ball to the Green Bay 47. An illegal hands to the face penalty on Washington gave the Packers another first down.

The Commanders were then flagged for defensive pass interference when Kendall Fuller made contact with Robert Tonyan.

On the next play, Rodgers hit Jones down the end zone for a 21-yard touchdown to cut Washington's lead to 23-21 with 3:26 remaining.

Green Bay got Washington to third-and-9 but Heinicke completed converted with a 12-yard pass to McLaurin. The Commanders ran the clock down to 27 seconds before punting.

The Packers took over with 23 seconds remaining at their own 18. Watkins caught a 28-yard pass and Green Bay clocked it with 5 seconds left at the Green Bay 48. The Packers ran a hook and ladder before the ball went out of bounds to end the game.