Don’t look now, but the Packers can play offense again.
Green Bay advanced to next week’s divisional round with a fairly convincing 35-18 win over Washington, earning a date with the Cardinals that looks far more interesting now.
An offense that had flat-lined for weeks suddenly looked competent again, and quarterback Aaron Rodgers had a smile on his face, as for a moment he looked like himself.
Rodgers finished 21-of-36 for 210 yards and two touchdowns. It’s not the most appealing stat line, but their ability to overcome their early 11-0 deficit was impressive considering the way they’ve struggled this year.
But the bigger news might be the way they ran the ball, after that part of the game went completely missing last week at home against the Vikings.
They finished with 142 yards on the ground, with Eddie Lacy and James Starks each finding the end zone.
The improvement was across the board though, as receivers who hadn’t proven trustworthy caught big passes (Davante Adams) and an offensive line that has been repeatedly whacked by injuries began to protect better after the early safety.
For Washington, it ends a season that came with the surprising development of quarterback Kirk Cousins, but there are still plenty of questions about the future.
Not only is there the small matter of a contract for the pending unrestricted free agent, but the reality remains they didn’t beat a team with a winning record this year. Significant progress was made, and if General Manager Scot McCloughan is allowed to continue the work he’s started without intrusion, there’s a chance they could sustain some on-field success for a change.