One week ago, after the Green Bay Packers suffered a humbling home loss the New York Jets, quarterback Aaron Rodgers tried calming folks down.

“The biggest thing is to guard against the freak out, to guard against the feeding into the wobbliness and to let that creep into your mind,” Rodgers said.

Well, let the freak out begin.

For the first time in the Matt LaFleur-era — and the first time since 2019 — the Packers have lost three games in a row.

Host Washington scored 20 consecutive points, held off a late Green Bay rally and toppled the Packers, 23-21. Green Bay is under .500 after seven games for the first time since Mike McCarthy’s rookie season in 2006.

“Our guys are extremely disappointed,” LaFleur said afterwards. “I don’t think anybody thought we’d be in this spot that we’re in right now. We’re going to find out what we’re made of.”

Green Bay tight end Marcedes Lewis agreed.

“Whether it’s expectations or just standards, our standard is much better than what we’ve put out there thus far,” Lewis said. “Only way we’re going to be able to get out of it is to work. It’s no secret.”

Things only get tougher for the Packers, too, as they head to Buffalo (5-1) next week.

“I’m not worried about this squad,” Rodgers said afterwards. “In fact, this might be the best thing for us. This week, nobody’s going to give us a chance, going to Buffalo on ‘Sunday Night Football,’ with a chance to get exposed … Shoot, this might be the best thing for us.”

We shall see.

Here’s the good, bad and ugly from the Commanders’ win over the Packers.


AARON JONES: When the Packers lean on their most dynamic offensive player, good things happen.

On Sunday, Jones only had eight carries. But he was featured in the pass game and shined.

Jones had a team-high nine receptions and a pair of touchdown catches. Jones had a 4-yard TD catch midway through the first quarter to give Green Bay a 7-0 lead. Then he caught a 21-yard touchdown with 3:26 left that pulled the Packers within 23-21.

Jones, who is now tied for the team lead with 26 catches, remains optimistic.

“Just gotta get consistent execution,” he said. “We show it here. We show it there. We just don’t put it all together. It may be one mental error on a play and then the next play another person has another error. All 11 have to be locked in together. We continue to work and we’ll get it done.”

DE’VONDRE CAMPBELL: Green Bay’s inside linebacker, who was arguably the Packers’ best defensive player in 2021, had been relatively quiet the first six weeks.

But Campbell was remarkably loud early in the second quarter when he intercepted Washington’s Taylor Heinicke and returned the pick 63 yards for a touchdown. It was just the second interception of the year for Green Bay.

Campbell did a terrific job outmuscling running back J.D. McKissic for a ball in the right flat. Campbell then had nothing but green grass in front of him, and beat all of the Commanders to the pylon to give Green Bay a 14-3 lead.

ALLEN LAZARD: The Packers did very little well in the passing game. But Lazard did what he could to give Green Bay a lift.

Lazard caught six passes for 55 yards. And for 3 ½ quarters Lazard was the only Green Bay receiver with a catch.

The fact the Packers had little to nothing in the passing game besides Lazard re-emphasized how badly Green Bay needs to add a wide receiver before the trade deadline on Nov. 1.

THIS AND THAT: Rookie outside linebacker Kingsley Enagbare had a sack for the second consecutive week. Enagbare also had three tackles and two quarterback hits. … Rookie inside linebacker Quay Walker had his most impactful game of the season with 13 tackles and two quarterback hits


DAVID BAKHTIARI: The mystery of Bakhtiari’s surgically repaired left knee continues.

And Sunday marked the 20th time the Packers were without their former Pro Bowl left tackle since the start of the 2021 season.

Bakhtiari, who’s had three knee surgeries since tearing his ACL on Dec. 30, 2020, was inactive against the Commanders with a knee injury.

Bakhtiari played just 27 snaps in 2021, with those coming in the regular season finale against Detroit. When the Packers faced San Francisco in the NFC divisional playoffs two weeks later, Bakhtiari still wasn’t ready to go.

Bakhtiari was inactive the first two games of this season, then split time at left tackle with Yosh Nijman in Week 3. That day, Bakhtiari played 56% of Green Bay’s offensive snaps.

Bakhtiari’s snap count rose to 96% in a Week 4 win over New England, dipped to 40% in Week 5 when the Packers traveled to London, and jumped back to 95% in a Week 6 loss to the New York Jets.

“Dave’s done a great job,” Packers coach Matt LaFleur said Friday. “Certainly, you could feel his presence out there in terms of not only the play — I think his play has gotten better and better each and every week, as well.

“But it’s nice, it’s comforting, I think, for Aaron (Rodgers), for the rest of the guys in the huddle. Dave’s played a lot of ball. Hopefully, we can keep building him up and building him up, where you don’t worry about it.”

Bakhtiari was limited in practice all week. Then on Saturday, his status on the injury report was changed to questionable with his knee injury.

Green Bay allowed four sacks and nine quarterback hits in a loss to the New York Jets last week. The Packers were planning for an offensive line makeover this week, and even without Bakhtiari they stuck with that plan.

Rookie fourth round draft pick Zach Tom replaced Bakhtiari at left tackle. Nijman moved to right tackle, Elgton Jenkins sild inside to left guard and Jon Runyan moved from left guard to right guard.

That meant center Josh Myers was the only offensive lineman starting at the same spot he did last week.

Green Bay’s revamped line played relatively well and Rodgers wasn’t sacked. But losing Bakhtiari — again — was a blow.

“Yeah, it’s disappointing,” Rodgers said of Bakhtiari not playing. “When Dave couldn’t go, we adjusted to it and kind of changed a lot of things around to try to give Zach some help. But we’re a better football team when 69’s out there.

RUN DEFENSE: The Packers entered the game ranked 27th in rushing defense, allowing 135.2 yards per game. Green Bay also ranked 25th in yards allowed per carry (4.9).

Things only got worse Sunday.

Washington ran for 167 yards on 38 carries, an average of 4.4 yards per attempt.

FOUR-MINUTE DEFENSE: The Packers closed within 23-21 with 3:26 left and implored its defense to make a stop. Instead, they wilted.

Washington picked up a pair of first downs, and when the Packers got the ball back, they had just 23 seconds to work with.

Green Bay’s much ballyhooed defense hasn’t lived up to the hype, and allowed 364 total yards Sunday against a pedestrian Washington offense. And when the Packers’ defense needed to make a stand, they couldn’t.

THIS AND THAT: Green Bay had a season-low 38 rushing yards. … Packers right tackle Yosh Nijman had two holding penalties. … Green Bay cornerback Jaire Alexander was beat by Washington’s Terry McLaurin for a 37-yard touchdown in the third quarter. “Heinicke made a really good throw and he made a really good catch, so ain’t much I can do about that,” Alexander said. … Green Bay ranked eighth in the league through Week 6 with just 31 penalties. But the Packers had nine penalties for 69 yards against Washington. … Wideout Romeo Doubs was targeted four times, but didn’t have a catch.


PASSING OFFENSE: Green Bay’s passing offense has been remarkably mediocre through six games, ranking 16th in the league with 225.8 passing yards per game.

On Sunday, the passing offense was downright dreadful.

Rodgers had just 46 passing yards in the first half and averaged only 3.3 yards per attempt. Rodgers had just 82 passing yards through three quarters before beefing up his numbers late and finishing with 194 passing yards.

LaFleur was asked what he can do to get Rodgers playing at the level he did in 2020 and 2021 when he won league MVP honors.

“I think it takes everybody,” LaFleur said. “It takes everybody around him. You’ve got to have the protection in front of you to be able to hold up. You’ve got to have the guys making plays too. I feel like we had a ton of drops. We had a lot of penalties that put us back behind the sticks. Those are tough situations to climb out of.”

Green Bay has no vertical threat right now. Teams are sitting on the short and underneath routes. And Washington didn’t feel the need to blitz, instead choosing to rush with four and let the Packers “dink and dunk down the field” as LaFleur put it.

Rodgers was asked how he interpreted the fact the Commanders didn’t blitz.

“I think you know what it tells you. They didn’t need to,” Rodgers said. “That’s what they thought. They thought their rush could get home and they could cover it up on the back end.”

And for the most part, that’s exactly what they did.

Unless the Packers get healthy or make a move before the trade deadline, things may not change for Rodgers and his band of subpar pass catchers.

AMARI RODGERS: The Packers’ 2021 third round draft pick fumbled a punt for the second time in three weeks and continues to be a liability.

Rodgers, who lost his job as Green Bay’s kick returner in Week 5, fumbled a punt late in the first quarter and the Commanders recovered at the Packers’ 17. That set up a short Washington field goal that took away Green Bay’s early momentum.

Rodgers is buried on the wide receiver depth chart and has killed the Packers as a returner. If Rodgers wasn’t a third round draft pick, he’d probably already have been released.

Rob Reischel, Contributor

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