LANDOVER, Md. — Aaron Rodgers made a surprise start and looked to be in midseason form on his lone drive for Green Bay, while Kirk Cousins and the rest of Washington’s first-team offense sputtered in the Packers’ 21-17 exhibition victory Saturday night.
Rodgers went 6 of 8 for 37 yards and a TD pass to new tight end Martellus Bennett — plus one of his trademark quick snaps to draw a penalty.
"It's good to get out there," Rodgers said. "I'll probably play a little more next week."
The expectation was that Rodgers would sit out the second preseason game, just as he did a year ago. But he led the Packers 75 yards on 15 plays.
Rodgers also completed passes to Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and Davante Adams. On his third play, Rodgers hiked the ball as Redskins defensive lineman Stacy McGee was still trotting to the sideline, catching the hosts with 12 men on the field. The game officials didn't notice, but Packers coach Mike McCarthy challenged, and a penalty was called after a review.
"They know better. We got them a couple of years ago, too, in the playoffs," Rodgers said about the Redskins. "There were some angry looks from that sideline."
Cousins and the rest of the Washington Redskins' first-team offense played the full first half Saturday night and did not look ready for prime time. Not at all.
"We stuttered and sputtered," coach Jay Gruden said, "and missed a few throws and had a couple runs rejected."
The Redskins didn't collect a first down until the opening quarter's final play and Cousins only produced a TD while facing defensive reserves on drive No. 6.
"We all believe," Cousins acknowledged, "we still have a lot of work to do."
Washington's initial three drives resulted in an embarrassing total of 13 yards. Cousins was 2 for 6 for 9 yards in that span; running back Rob Kelley gained 4 yards on three carries behind a starting offensive line providing little push.
"We're a work in progress, no question about it," said Gruden, who is back to calling plays this season after offensive coordinator Sean McVay left to become coach of the St. Louis Rams.
Asked about his offensive line and running game, Gruden offered this tepid assessment: "For the most part, I'm not concerned, really."
Washington's fourth possession stalled when Kelley was stopped for no gain on fourth-and-1. After the fifth, Cousins had steered Washington to only three first downs — one via a defensive penalty — while completing 8 of 15 passes for 67 yards against a Packers secondary missing two of its top three cornerbacks. Cousins, who will earn about $24 million this season under a franchise tag, ended up 14 for 23 for 144 yards, including a 4-yard, fourth-and-goal touchdown pass to Jamison Crowder with 13 seconds left before halftime to make things seem better than they actually were.
Cousins said his "internal clock" was off. Gruden described his QB as "a little antsy."
Green Bay: Running back Jamaal Williams, a fourth-round pick out of BYU, started and had seven carries for 12 yards. ... Running back Aaron Jones, taken in the fifth round from UTEP, caught a 5-yard TD pass from backup quarterback Brett Hundley in the second quarter. ... Quarterback Taysom Hill, an undrafted free agent from BYU, led a seven-play, 65-yard TD drive in the fourth quarter that included his fourth-down run for a first down and his 23-yard scoring scamper for the winning points. He’s competing with Joe Callahan for the third QB spot.
Washington: Running back Samaje Perine, a fourth-rounder from Oklahoma, ran for 45 yards on eight carries. He also caught a 29-yard pass from backup quarterback Colt McCoy, part of a much stronger performance for Perine than a week ago, when he fumbled.
From the infirmary
Green Bay defensive end Dean Lowry hurt his left knee in the second quarter. The status of Lowry, who has had a strong camp, was not known.
The Packers were without running back Ty Montgomery (leg), cornerback Davon House (hamstring) and cornerback Damarious Randall (concussion protocol).
Green Bay 7 7 0 7 — 21
Washington 3 7 7 0 — 17
Was — FG Hopkins 34, 13:17.
GB — Bennett 3 pass from A.Rodgers (Crosby kick), 5:36.
GB — A.Jones 5 pass from Hundley (Crosby kick), 7:38.
Was — Crowder 4 pass from Cousins (Hopkins kick), :13.
Was — Paul 16 pass from McCoy (Hopkins kick), 5:30.
GB — Hill 23 run (Crosby kick), 6:16.
Att. — 55,239.
First downs 18 16
Total Net Yards 266 335
Rushes-yards 29-110 22-64
Passing 156 271
Punt Returns 3-18 5-18
Kickoff Returns 1-16 1-18
Interceptions Ret. 0-0 0-0
Comp-Att-Int 22-32-0 27-45-0
Sacked-Yards Lost 5-37 1-7
Punts 7-47.0 7-43.7
Fumbles-Lost 2-1 1-0
Penalties-Yards 4-35 7-43
Time of Possession 34:11 25:49
RUSHING: Green Bay — Hill 6-38, K.Phillips 5-17, A.Rodgers 2-15, A.Jones 3-14, Mays 5-13, J.Williams 7-12, Hundley 1-1. Washington — Perine 8-45, Kelley 9-9, Sudfeld 1-5, M.Jones 2-4, C.Thompson 2-1.
PASSING: Green Bay — A.Rodgers 6-8-0-37, Hundley 9-10-0-107, Callahan 1-3-0-0, Hill 6-11-0-49. Washington — Cousins 14-23-0-144, McCoy 7-11-0-70, Sudfeld 6-11-0-64.
RECEIVING: Green Bay — A.Jones 4-11, Janis 3-63, Allison 2-32, Nelson 2-19, McCaffrey 2-10, K.Phillips 2-10, Cobb 2-9, T.Davis 1-12, Mays 1-10, M.Clark 1-8, D.Adams 1-6, Bennett 1-3. Washington — C.Thompson 5-52, R.Davis 4-36, Pascal 3-27, V.Davis 2-49, M.Brown 2-17, Hazel 2-9, Crowder 2-8, Grant 2-7, Perine 1-29, Paul 1-16, Doctson 1-12, Pryor 1-11, Kelley 1-5.