The situation is similar: A slumping Packers team traveling to Washington to face the Redskins in a primetime game. It's happening this Sunday night, just as it happened 10 months ago when Green Bay knocked the 'Skins out of the playoffs in a 35-18 road win.
In that game, Aaron Rodgers voiced confidence coming to face the Washington defense, and he was eventually proved right. The Packers quarterback threw for more than 200 yards and a pair of touchdowns in that game, and Washington defensive coordinator Joe Barry has not forgotten it, not a single play. With Green Bay again coming to Washington, Barry reminded his players how close things were in the second half before the Packers put things out of reach.
"We went back and I showed the guys a play today, with five minutes left in the third quarter, they went for it on fourth-and-one at midfield and got it," Barry said on Thursday. "At that point, we were winning 17-18."
Barry's memory of the game is vivid, the coach has watched that game, and that play, numerous times in the 10 months since it happened.
"What I was trying to get the point across to the guys is anytime in the National Football League, obviously in playoff football, but anytime you have got to play 60 minutes. You have got to play every snap. You have got to be perfect and on your A-game every snap, because, obviously, the other team is trying to do that."
The Redskins actually outgained the Packers in that game, 354 to 346, though the Packers were able to score in bunches. Green Bay scored 17 points in the second quarter and 11 in the fourth, running the ball well in both spots. In the first and third quarters, however, the Skins defense limited the Packers to just one touchdown.
"At times we played very well last year, but when you go against a guy like No. 12 [Aaron Rodgers] you have got to be on it every snap because he demands that type of perfection," Barry said.
Over their last five games Barry's defense has allowed more than 20 points just once - the overtime tie with the Bengals in London. Largely, the unit is playing well, particularly in the second half of games.
That won't matter though Sunday night against Rodgers. And Barry knows it.
"If you slip, if you're off, he's going to make you pay for it."
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