This is typically the timeslot on a Monday when I go over the play on which the game turned. A key turnover, a big gain, a momentum-changing score. Things of that nature.
But let’s be real, there was no such play on Sunday. Because from the time the game began, the Green Bay Packers appeared completely disinterested in playing the game of football.
Sunday’s 38-3 thrashing at the hands of the undermanned New Orleans Saints was perhaps the most humiliating defeat of a Packers team I’ve seen in my 33 years of life, especially given the circumstances.
The game was never compettiive. The defense could not get off the field. The offense could not sustain a drive.
I’ve seen folks talk about the game turning on Aaron Rodgers’ first terrible interception, but even had the Packers scored the touchdown at that point, what level of faith do you have that the defense would have been able to stop the Saints?
I know my answer.
Meanwhile, the Saints were dealing with the following:
- A defensive backfield weakened by injuries
- A defensive thin defensive front
- A lack of any playmakers at the wide receiver position in the absence of Michael Thomas
- A new quarterback with a prevoius penchant for uneven, turnover-laden football
- A “home” game on the road in an outdoor venue with an audience clearly favoring their opponent
On paper, this should have been a cakewalk for a Packer team with Super Bowl aspirations. Instead we got… whatever that was.
This was only a football game in the strictest dictionary definition sense of the term. There was no competition, the Packers appeared to lack any sort of motivation, there was no cohesive game plan. This looked like a team that had itself pegged as a Super Bowl frontrunner and forgot you need to, you know, practice and play well to actually get to that point. We’re long past 2019 and 2020.
Some questions I had throughout and after this game:
- What exactly was the plan here? Where was the “illusion of complexity,” the motions, the bunch formations, the creativity?
- Did Aaron Rodgers really spend an entire summer in a labor dispute with the team and attempting to exert his influence just to come out and look like 2005 Brett Favre? I love Rodgers, I really do, but that’s a horrible look. Turns out you maybe can’t just skip an entire offseason (while others are putting in the work with their teammates) and then pick up right where you left off, especially at 37 years old.
- Why the hell did the team not run the ball with a weakened Saints front and in hot conditions where you could start to wear the defense down quickly?
- Is this really the best Joe Barry could do with an entire offseason of preparation? Turns out changing the cook might not matter if the ingredients are spoiled. But Barry did absolutely nothing to resolve anyone’s concerns about his hiring. It was and remains a mystifying decision given his track record of failure.
- Speaking of spoiled ingredients, do we really have another entire season of watching Dean Lowry and Tyler Lancaster get blown off the line of scrimmage? How many more times do we need to see Kevin King give up long completions in soft coverage (where he gets completely turned around, no less) before we realize he just ain’t it? Eric Stokes needs to take a majority of King’s snaps, and fast.
- Why were there no adjustments made at all to the Saints’ quick passing game?
- Why did it take so long for the team to manufacture pressure on the quarterback, especially considering Jameis Winston has proven time and time again to give the ball away when put under pressure? Especially in the first half, the Packers relied on four man rushes almost exclusively and got absolutely stonewalled. This team was DOMINATED in the trenches.
- Aaron Rodgers said the energy was lacking and felt “San Diego-ish,” a reference to the team’s pitiful performance on the west coast in 2019. We’ve seen this multiple times now under Matt LaFleur. But at this point, if you can’t even get yourself up for the first game of the season, especially with so much to prove after an embarrassing exit in a championship game at home, then WHAT THE F*** ARE YOU EVEN DOING IN THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE?
I’ll have a lot more to say in HELLO WISCONSIN on Thursday from a more forward-looking perspective.
Right now, I still believe the Packers easily romp to an NFC North title, and that they’re still (along with Tampa and probably Los Angeles) the prime contenders to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. There’s still a LOT (a whole lot) of season left to go.
But wow, there are no words to express how pitiful Sunday’s performance was. Aaron Rodgers definitely looked the part of a man who seriously contemplated retirement and was anywhere BUT on a football field this offseason. The defense was confused, unorganized, unmotivated and flat out bad, and clearly was not ready to go for this game. This after Davante Adams called the team the “hungriest” he’d ever been a part of. Really?
Everyone involved should be embarrassed.
At least the punter was fine.
Tim Backes is a lifelong Packer fan and a contributor to CheeseheadTV. Follow him on Twitter @timbackes for his Packer takes, random musings and Untappd beer check-ins.