Packers win sixth straight as red zone defense stifles Washington

Packers

Washington Football Team’s Taylor Heinicke is stopped at the goal line on fourth down during the second half of an NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Aaron Gash)

GREEN BAY (WFRV) – The Packers’ red zone woes were so prominent, they practically became a punch line.

15-for-15. 100 percent efficiency.

That’s the astounding clip opponents were scoring touchdowns on Green Bay’s defense. Over six games, each team not wearing green and gold found the end zone every time it drove the ball inside the Packers 20-yard line.

But Sunday, the defense flipped the script in a big way, coming up with back-to-back fourth down stands and holding Washington without a touchdown on four red zone trips, cruising to a 24-10 win in front of 78,219 fans at Lambeau Field.

Green Bay’s sixth straight victory boosted momentum even more heading into a short week, as the Packers will head out to Phoenix Thursday night to take on the NFC-leading Arizona Cardinals.

The home team started off strong, marching down the field on a 13-play opening drive. Facing a relentless pass rush at Washington’s 17-yard line, Aaron Rodgers rolled to his right and whipped a cross-body, diving strike to Davante Adams on a safety valve. Adams did the rest, opening the scoring for the Packers.

After Washington responded with a 40-yard touchdown connection between Taylor Heinicke and Terry McLaurin, the Packers defense bowed up, forcing a 49-yard field goal attempt in the early moments of the second quarter.

Rookie defensive lineman TJ Slaton got his right hand up and swatted away the attempt, marking the first blocked field goal for the Packers since 2015 and the first by a rookie since 1993.

Washington responded by blocking a Green Bay field goal before the Packers got the ball back with just over two minutes left in the half.

From that moment in the second quarter, receiver Allen Lazard took over. He and Rodgers were unconscious in executing a flawless two-minute drill, with Lazard hauling in five passes for 60 yards and capping the drive with a 10-yard touchdown reception with 15 seconds left in the half.

Green Bay led 14-7 at the break, but the start of the third quarter was a key momentum jolt for the Pack. Two plays into Washington’s opening drive, Rashan Gary got loose around the left edge and hammered Heinicke, forcing a fumble. Dean Lowry recovered for the Packers, and two plays later, Rodgers hit a wide open Robert Tonyan in stride for a 21-7 lead.

But Washington wouldn’t go away quietly. The Football Team marched down the field into the red zone, seemingly capping the drive on a Heinicke scramble to the end zone. After reviewing the play, officials determined the quarterback was down short of the goal line. On fourth and goal, the Packers’ defensive line stood tall, stuffing an attempted sneak and turning Washington over on downs.

The very next drive, Heinicke drove his team inside the five-yard line once again after a Packers fumble recovery was overturned by replay review. But once again, the Green & Gold held, with Adrian Amos breaking up a fourth down pass in the end zone to thwart another drive.

Holding a 24-7 lead midway through the fourth quarter, Green Bay’s defense stood tall again in the red zone, with Chandon Sullivan picking off a pass in the end zone to put the proverbial icing on the cake with just over eight minutes remaining.

According to ESPN Stats & Information, Sunday was the first time since 2002 that the Packers have held an opponent without a touchdown on three straight red zone trips.

To add a cherry on top of a dominant defensive half, Kingsley Keke racked up a pair of sacks on Washington’s final red zone trip to force a long field goal, keeping the visitors out of the end zone for the final three quarters of the game.

The win marks the fifth time in Aaron Rodgers career that the Packers have strung together a six-game winning streak. Green Bay now heads into a short week before departing for Arizona Wednesday, setting up a date with the Cardinals on Thursday Night Football.

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