What You Might've Missed: Opportunities galore

Missed chances on both sides of the ball added up in defeat


GREEN BAY – It's been the story of the last three weeks for the Packers – missed opportunities.

They were evident in abundance during the loss at Washington, on both sides of the ball.

Here's a sampling.

Play No. 1: Third-and-25 from the Green Bay 10, second quarter, 6:03 left

Result: Incomplete pass

On the surface, it wouldn't seem that a swing pass to RB Aaron Jones (33) coming out of the backfield would have much of a chance on third-and-25. But this play actually does. At the time the ball gets to Jones, the blocking is all set. From the inside out, WR Allen Lazard (13), WR Amari Rodgers (8) and TE Robert Tonyan (85) are all in perfect position for one-on-one blocks. Washington S Bobby McCain (20) is the only unblocked player on that side of the field Jones would have to deal with, and he might be able to avoid him entirely if he can get to the edge and cut off of Tonyan's block. But Jones, who was the offense's best player in this game with 76 yards from scrimmage and two TDs, can't make the catch.

Play No. 2: Third-and-6 from the Washington 49, fourth quarter, 4:09 left

Result: Defensive penalty

The Packers are awarded a first down here anyway thanks to an illegal hands to the face penalty on Washington. But just look at the space RB AJ Dillon (28) has as he leaks out over the middle for the checkdown. LB Cole Holcomb (55) will have a hard time getting him from behind, and S Darrick Forest (22) has a lot of ground to cover and would be encountering the 250-pound Dillon with a full head of steam. Could the throw have been slightly better? Could Dillon still have caught it? Probably both yes, but another example of the kinds of chances that got away from the Packers.

Play No. 3: Third-and-3 from the Washington 37, first quarter, 5:09 left

Result: Incomplete pass

Shifting gears to the defense, you might not have missed these plays, but it's easy to forget about them, and more importantly when they actually occurred and what happened afterward. A unit starved for turnovers that got a pick-six in this game, and had a fumble return for a TD called back, had several other chances for interceptions that got away at what turned out to be pivotal moments.

Here, QB Taylor Heinicke's throw is behind WR Terry McLaurin (17) on the deep in cut, and CB Jaire Alexander (23) knows he should've had it. It's still a three-and-out for the defense, but on the next play, Packers WR Amari Rodgers muffs the punt, and the Commanders get the ball right back at the Green Bay 17-yard line.

Play No. 4: First-and-10 from the Washington 30, second quarter, 11:09 left

Result: Incomplete pass

The anticipation and break on the ball here by CB Rasul Douglas (29) is outstanding. He sees exactly what WR Curtis Samuel (10) is doing and where Heinicke wants to go with the ball. The only thing Douglas fails to do is make the diving catch for the INT, and he can't believe he misses it. This looms even larger when the next play is a 20-yard run for a first down at midfield, sending the Commanders on to their first touchdown.

Play No. 5: Second-and-8 from the Green Bay 9, second quarter, 7:30 left

Result: Incomplete pass

Later that same drive, the Packers get yet another chance for a pick, and this time it's LB Quay Walker (7) full of regrets. RB J.D. McKissic (23) comes out of the near slot and then makes an outside-in move across the middle. Walker reads the QB's eyes well but realizes as the ball arrives that all he had to do was undercut McKissic's route and he's got a turnover. His reaction says it all. On the next play, Heinicke throws a TD pass.


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