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Redskins struggle early, fall 38-20 to Packers

Monday - 9/16/2013, 5:08am  ET

Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III reacts as he walks off the field after throwing an interception during the first half of an NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers Sunday, Sept. 15, 2013, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Mike Roemer)
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GENARO C. ARMAS
AP Sports Writer

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) -- Robert Griffin III thinks he might need to get tougher on his teammates.

He's determined to not let the Redskins' start to the season get any worse following a 38-20 loss Sunday to the Green Bay Packers.

Griffin said afterward that he believes in positive reinforcement, but he's willing to change his approach if necessary.

He was 26 for 40 for 320 yards and three touchdowns, but most of that came in the second half with the Packers ahead by three scores.

"If those guys want me to go out there and be the stern leader, then I'm willing to do that," he said. "I got some of that from my teammates on the sideline asking me to do some more, not necessarily change who I am as a person, but if they want me to be hard on them, I'll be hard on them.

"I think it's what we need."

Aaron Rodgers was 34 for 42 for a career-high 480 yards and four touchdowns, and James Jones had 11 catches for a career-best 178 yards for the Packers.

James Starks had 132 yards rushing and a touchdown. Randall Cobb added nine catches for 128 yards and a 35-yard touchdown on a crossing route for a 10-0 lead on a fourth-and-3 play in the first quarter.

Rodgers said he took advantage of the "one-high" safety look from the Redskins defense, giving him an edge on inside routes. His receivers took it from there by getting big yards after catches.

Rodgers added touchdown passes to Jordy Nelson and Jermichael Finley in the second quarter. The Packers led 24-0 at the half, and Rodgers already had 335 yards passing.

Green Bay (1-1) bounced back after a season-opening loss at San Francisco.

The Redskins will need to regroup again after getting off to a slow start for a second straight week. Last week, the Redskins fell behind 26-7 at halftime before rallying in the second half in a 33-27 loss to the Eagles.

"We're 0-2 and I think everybody knows the percentages just like everybody knew what the percentages were last year when we were 3-6," Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said.

His team won the NFC East last season.

Griffin, in the second game of his much-anticipated return from right knee surgery, looked OK but didn't resemble the quarterback who confounded defenses last year. He carried four times for a yard.

The Packers' defense threw a couple of different wrinkles, including a sack on a blitz by reserve cornerback Davon House.

Griffin's most memorable play of the first half might have been when his helmet flew off while being tackled by Green Bay linebackers Clay Matthews and A.J. Hawk.

"I think everyone's pointing to the lack of (quarterback) runs. If teams are going to give it to us, then we'll take it," Griffin said. "But if they're not, then we can't just run those plays if they're not there."

The Redskins got on the board after Griffin connected with receiver Pierre Garcon for a 6-yard touchdown pass. The play held up on review after the official ruled Garcon extended his hand over the goal line with the ball before running out of bounds.

The score made it 31-7 with 4:15 left in the third quarter.

Garcon finished with eight catches for 143 yards against a Packers defense playing again without injured safety Morgan Burnett. Alfred Morris had 13 carries for 107 yards for Washington.

The Redskins also had a couple of other good drives into Green Bay territory. But they were foiled by a missed 50-yard field goal by John Potter.

The Packers' Mike Neal intercepted Griffin after receiver Josh Morgan lost his grip on the ball after being hit by Matthews.

"I don't think he looks as mobile as he used to. I think he's just trying to get a feel for that leg right now," Neal said. "But he's still a good quarterback, and you've still got to be aware of his legs because he can make plays with them."

Losing starting running back Eddie Lacy to a concussion didn't slow down the Packers running game. The rookie from Alabama got knocked out after an apparent helmet-to-helmet hit by Redskins safety Brandon Meriweather.

Making his season debut after sitting out last week with a groin injury, Meriweather left the game with a concussion after another apparent helmet-to-helmet hit at the sideline on Starks in the second quarter.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

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