Yikes.

I’ll say one thing about Matt LaFleur. When his teams lose, they lose.

Four of his five losses as Packers coach have been of the blowout variety. I have no idea how to explain this, but I think I’m ready to watch a heartbreaking, last second loss one of these days. It’s no fun watching your favorite team get pummeled on both sides of the ball for the better part of 60 minutes.

Just like last year, the Pack got embarrassed and outclassed in the game following their bye. After the game, LaFleur and Aaron Rodgers referenced a lousy week of practice leading up to the game. That’s an indictment of the coaches. Maybe the thing we should fear most is the Pack landing the top seed in the NFC. The bye week is probably the last thing this team would want.

After watching the Pack cruise past four hapless opponents to start the season, we knew this would be the first stiff test and they failed across the board. After jumping out to a 10-0 lead and moving the ball with relative ease early on, the script started dealing us surprises: a pick six by Rodgers (just the third in his career); a second pick soon after that which quickly put the Bucs in the lead for good, a complete inability to get any pressure on Tom Brady, a week after the Bears had him crumpled into the fetal position for most of the game; an ability to protect Rodgers (four sacks); and ultimately 38 unanswered points scored by Tampa Bay. 38.

After the game Rodgers gave the usual cliche answer about the beatdown, that maybe this is precisely what this team needed after the 4-0 start, that maybe they were listening to the noise outside the building about how good they were. Really? The combined record of the teams the Pack have beaten is 7-15. Yes, they were impressive in all four wins, but this game was a true litmus test.

The Bucs defense is precisely the kind of unit that this offense has struggled to figure out. Like San Francisco and the Chargers from a year ago, they combine a great pass rush with elite speed at the linebacker position–rendering the running game punchless and forcing Rodgers to play out of rhythm. I watch guys like Lavonte David and Devin White wreak havoc and wonder if the Pack will ever use high draft capital to find a linebacker that can cause that kind of damage.

For me, of all the problems the Packers had on Sunday, the one that surprised me the most was the inability to get to Brady. Zero sacks, hardly any pressures. What happened to the Smiths? Why didn’t Mike Pettine figure out a way to make some adjustments at halftime? To their credit, the Bucs played a near perfect game. Their DVOA of 97% was the highest recorded in decades. In their first four games, they were a penalty machine. They didn’t commit one on Sunday.

Their gift-wrapped loss to the Bears the previous week, along with Brady’s inability to count to four, clearly pissed them off and they rose up and delivered a spectacular performance, even getting Gronk to channel 2015 and look nothing like the washed up tight end he appeared to be in the first four games of the season.

The question is, how do the Packers respond? Their next two opponents (Texans and Vikes) have a combined record of 2-10 and if they take care of business and head to San Francisco for a Thursday night game at 6-1, this game will be remembered as a speed bump and a wake up call. But until they handle a good team, there will be questions as to how legit they really are.

Now we wait to hear about the seriousness of David Bakhtiari’s chest injury, as well as the prognosis for a number of banged up defensive players (Savage, Lancaster, Barnes and King). Dealing with Deshaun Watson and the Texans won’t be a walk in the park, despite their 1-5 record, though even the Vikings were able to beat them. If the Pack can’t bounce back, their perfect September will seem like a distant memory.

 

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7 Responses to Yikes.

  1. Lynn Dickey Fan says:

    Well, when every game is race to 40 and you stumble on the first turn, it’s going to get ugly. I want to complain about the defense too, but first I have to acknowledge that the offense did them no favors. Rodgers was off and nothing worked. Still, Jackson and Greene played poorly. Every time I went to check the pass rush, Preston was in coverage. It feels like the got predictable and they got exposed for it.

  2. larry says:

    I saw this coming as I said in my post. When Brady got ridiculed in the media for 4 downs, for 10 days, I just figured the team would step up for him, Jones killed us. There d is legit. The thing I am surprised is, THC didn’t mention is 17. Anyone watching that game can see 12 was forcing the ball to him. We all know we need him, But when other guys are open , hit them. Tonyan was open 4 times underneath and he forced it to 17, Same with the backs underneath. Did he forget about the Atlanta game? I don’t get it. Sure the d was bad, but were on the field a lot, we cant play like that. that d- line will not hold up. It wont get any easier versus Texans. They will score 38 too. As LDF said, first one to 40 wins. Only thing good about this day was The Vikings were supposed to win by 7, got killed at home. Now they get bye week.. We need to play a lot better next week or the talk will start. Sure wish we had Queen. I will say it every week. GO Packers

  3. OLD SOUTH SIDE GUY says:

    Okay…Ready or not here is OSSG’s 5 game subjective,objective,slanted look at the Packers. First…overall a 4-1 record I will take….but everyone..even The Voice when taking off the rose colored glasses, knows its a soft 4-1 given the teams we beat. So…on to my takes: First when watching the Buc game I thought I was watching last years Charger and 49′er games. Speed on defense,pass rush, with athletes can contain our offense. Sure you can say this will work against most offenses but our offense is constructed to be more about being efficient and not explosive. So…if we get behind too much we aint KC or Baltimore. We still dont have a capable number 2 receiver to complement Adams who is basically a possesion receiver. Lazard is hurt too much,Scantling drops too many, and Brown playing his first game was targeted twice and ran a wrong route once and dropped his 2nd target. We all know what that means to Rodgers….no more looks for a long while. Also…why does it seem like 90 percent of our offensive snaps come with a half second left on the playclock or lead to a timeout. Is the play calling coming in too wordy or is it Rodgers. ?If the D knows when the snap is coming seems like an advantage to them. As to our defense again no upfront pass rush,and slow linebacker play like we have had for years along with poor run defense. So,as GM OSSG heres what I would try to do with the trade deadline coming up Nov. 3. As longtime readers know every year I want trades and every year we do little or nothing . If you follow the other major sports the competing teams make moves at their respective deadlines. Sure…its a risk but when you think you have a team competing for the big prize now roll those dice. On offense…try and get a capable wide receiver with speed to help Adams. We have the draft capital. Kenny Stills at Houston may be an option. You can get him for a low draft choice a 6 or 7. On defense get a fat guy to help Clark…poor Clark is double teamed and Lancaster and Lowry are pushed back 3-4 yards on most plays. One site said the big kid Williamswho was the 3rd pick in the draft 2 years ago by the Jets can be had for a second rounder. Get him if you can. Also…try and find a LB with at least some speed…maybe Kamal Martin coming off IR can help. While Krys Barnes is a nice story as an undrafted FA he is basically Martinez lite. Leads team in tackles but most are 8 yards down field. If D does not improve this year and Vikes can Zimmer he could replace Pettine as Davy teased on PA’s show. Okay…lets get it together and roll on…I am still positive. GO Pack Go !!

  4. Voice says:

    OK, since OSSG has prompted me to do so, I’ll chime in here. For whatever reason, the train went flying off the tracks when Rodgers threw the pick six, and couldn’t recover. The Bucs had a defensive game where they beat the Packers one on one. That being said, I still see this more as an anomaly. It’s only week 6, with a lot of football to be played (assuming there’s no COVID shutdown). At least the Packers are not in the position the Vikings are in. ;-)

  5. Packerlifer says:

    In the 10 years since the Packers won the Super Bowl they’ve made the playoffs 7 times, played in 3 NFC Championship Games and 3 more times made the Divisional round. But every time there’s been that one team that bars their path back to the Super Bowl. New York, Seattle, Arizona,Atlanta, San Fran. We may have seen this year’s SB denier on Sunday in Tampa Bay. It was all too reminiscient of those frustrating playoff and title game losses of the past decade that leaves us questioning why the Packers have been to and won so few Super Bowls in the Rodgers’ era. Of course, it’s just one game and early in the season but it was ominous. And with Chicago getting lucky in some of their early games and having an “easy” schedule the Pack can’t afford any more performances like this week or their NFC North title presumptive could be in jeopardy. Just as the second quarter of Sunday’s game was a disaster the second quarter of the season could spin the year if the Packers have been exposed and can’t fix their issues and wind up 1-3 during this stretch.

  6. OLD SOUTH SIDE GUY says:

    ALERT !! Atlanta is rumored to be shopping Julio Jones. GUTEY: You did not get the Pack a wide receiver. I know you have your salary issues next year…but come on. Be aggresive…Julio with Adams and Rodgers !!!! WOW!!! GO PACK GO !!!

  7. larry says:

    I don’t want him OSSG, the guy is always hurt. I would rather take a chance on Brown or Bryant, Let’s go get J.J Watt, he would give a fire for that line and Houston is going now here. The state of Sconny would be happy as hell to have the hometown boy home again. Should have did what I said 9 years ago, and gave up 4 draft picks for him, would have won at least 1 more super bowl. By the way we could lose very easy to them this week. they have no D, but Watson can score, will need 38 to win. I see us losing 34 to 30.

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