2020 Week 11 - That’s What Cheese Said

“Today actually gave me a lot of confidence in our guys."

It was a tale of two performances for the Packers on Sunday. The same team that took a 28-14 lead into halftime lost by a field goal 34-31 in overtime. 

Perhaps surprisingly, given the loss, the players and head coach are more confident in the team than they’ve maybe been all season. 

“Today actually gave me a lot of confidence in our guys,” said quarterback Aaron Rodgers after the game. “That might sound weird and we lost and we turned the ball over four times, but there was a different type of energy this week in practice. I thought it carried over to today.”

The turnovers did tell part of the story, with Green Bay losing the ball four times on a botched handoff, interception, fumbled kick return, and fumble in overtime, but the Packers were able to battle back through most of that and force two turnovers from the Colts, too. 

“They got six points off those four turnovers, and we cashed in on their turnovers,” said Rodgers. “So our defense deserves a lot of credit for making some good stands there when we turned the ball over.”

He added that the four turnovers were “uncharacteristic” based on the team’s first nine games, where they never exceeded two turnovers and also had six games with zero.

For Head Coach Matt LaFleur, he said there were elements of really good football play throughout the entire game. 

“I thought the energy, the effort, the focus was all there all throughout the week,” he said. “I thought it was there throughout the game. We have to execute better in all three phases, and it’s gotta be more consistent.”

Consistency and complementary football were the themes of the post-game pressers.

“I thought the first half was pretty good complementary football,” said LaFleur, and with good reason. The team’s four touchdowns came in the first half, with three through the air and one on the ground. 

“I feel like today, especially the first half, I felt we were playing really complementary football in all three phases,” said Rodgers. 

The quarterback had 311 yards on 27 attempts with three touchdowns and one interception, good for a rating of 110.7. 

Against a stout Colts defense, the offense was able to spread the ball around, with six different players catching two or more passes, but once again the running game sputtered. The Packers left Indianapolis with only 66 total yards on the ground, the lowest rushing total of the season to date. 

“We’ve gotta do a better job of being a little bit more consistent, but I’ve got a lot of confidence in these guys,” said LaFleur. 

While he didn’t put up a ton of yardage in his return to the field (two receptions for 18 yards), LaFleur said you could feel receiver Allen Lazard’s presence having him back in the lineup and the energy he brings to the football team. 

For Marquez Valdes-Scantling, it was a boost to the offense having the receiving core back at full strength. 

“It hasn’t been all of us back out there since I think Week 2, so being able to have all the guys back out there and be productive in every aspect and not just in the passing game but in the run game, blocking for each other, I think that’s what we all take pride in.”

Valdes-Scantling actually had the highest run-blocking grade of the day, including offensive linemen, per Pro Football Focus. 

While his fumble in overtime cost the Packers a chance to sustain a drive and potentially win the game, everyone in the locker room was quick to point out that the team wouldn’t even have made it to overtime without his 47-yard reception on Green Bay’s final drive. 

“I have a lot of love for Marquez. I see the guy every single day. I see how much he cares about it. And it happens, unfortunately,” said Rodgers, adding that he’s had his fair share of fumbles and it was just bad timing, and that MVS had his fair share of big moments in the game, too. 

It was the first fumble of Valdes-Scantling’s NFL career, it just happened to come at a tough moment. 

"That's what brotherhood is all about,” Valdes-Scantling said of his team rallying around him. “No one's ever going to be perfect and obviously me taking it to heart with that costly mistake at the end of the game, it hurt, but I've got my brothers to support me, and that's the family that matters.”

Defensively, the Packers got some of their best performances of the season from key contributors, with safety Raven Greene forcing a fumble and inside linebacker Christian Kirksey snagging his first interception. This was Kirksey’s second career game with 10-plus tackles and an interception. He led the defense with 11 tackles total, with Greene in second with eight tackles. 

“The best run defenses swarm the football,” LaFleur said, adding that there were moments of that on Sunday from his defense but it was too inconsistent. 

“We’ve just gotta get better,” said Kirksey of the defense as a whole. “This group of men in this defensive room, we’re going to get there. We’re going to keep believing, we’re going to keep fighting, and we’re going to keep getting better.”

At 7-3, the Packers remain in first place in the NFC North with a two-game lead over the second place Chicago Bears. And coincidentally, the two teams will meet for the first time this season on Sunday Night Football. 

“We’re going to need that same type of effort, we’re just gonna need better execution,” LaFleur said of the energy the team had for the Colts and what they’ll need this Sunday against the Bears. 

The 5-5 Bears have lost four straight after a promising start to the season, and despite boasting one of the worst offenses in the NFL, the defense remains one of the best. 

Division matchups are always challenging, and the Packers know what’s at stake Sunday with the opportunity to take a three-game lead in the North with only five games remaining. 

“I just think we need to be an all three phases football team to go as far as we want to go. I still feel really good about our chances, our squad,” said Rodgers. 

 

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Maggie Loney is a writer for Cheesehead TV and podcaster for the Pack-A-Day Podcast and Pack's What She Said. Find her on Twitter at @MaggieJLoney.

5 points

Comments (19)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
jclombardi's picture

November 25, 2020 at 09:19 am

Maggie:

Writers hit it on the head about who is to blame for this painful repetitive loss. The entire coaching staff to the lightweight head coach shared blame for this brutal loss. As one writer wrote: "The Colts did something the Packers never do, they made halftime adjustments. The Packers were thoroughly out-coached in this one."

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Lphill's picture

November 24, 2020 at 01:51 pm

In other words we played really good and we played really bad .

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Fabio's picture

November 24, 2020 at 01:54 pm

I believe that if we want to have hope we must raise the offense even more and be able to keep the defense on the field for the fewest snaps possible. Greetings from Siena (Italy)

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Duneslick's picture

November 24, 2020 at 02:55 pm

Just love how people frame the narrative. A fumbled snap IS NOT a Botched Handoff

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cow7's picture

November 24, 2020 at 03:27 pm

Feels like that loss ended the season.
If you can't beat the Colts, you can't beat any of the teams you'd see in the playoffs.

Just another "nice season".

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Spock's picture

November 25, 2020 at 05:09 am

COW is back?! Say it isn't so.

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Lare's picture

November 24, 2020 at 03:36 pm

just good enough to win a really bad NFC North division.

You don't improve by ignoring problem areas.

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4thandinches's picture

November 24, 2020 at 08:57 pm

That may be true but the 2010, Super Bowl winning, squad didn't dominate every week either. No NFL team is perfect. We just gotta get hot and make the plays that are there at the right time! We gotta chance. We do need to play better. I like 'consistency'.

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JohnnyLogan's picture

November 24, 2020 at 04:09 pm

Whenever there's a loss we hear the same things and have for years, but no changes are made. Not in the scheme, not in replacing underperforming personnel or coaches, not even in the excuses. It's Ground Hog Day in Green Bay. MLF needs to show some interest in defense and special teams, he seems not to have any. His response to Nagler's question about "doing the same thing over and over" was like a kid caught stealing a cookie, "You're right, I shouldn't have done it, I won't do it again. Can I go now?" He needs to toughen up, start calling players out, as Lombardi did regularly, put fear in their heart, and fear in Pettine's heart if he keeps playing that soft defense. Oh, and he can start by demanding his team stop all that damn posing in the end zone if they happen to make a good play. It's football, not a birthday party.

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fastmoving's picture

November 24, 2020 at 05:18 pm

such a weak BS, fear never worked, never will. Maybe for morons and cowards, but who wants such guys anyway. You can shy away suckers like Trump and his lowlife, but thats about it.
And dont take Lombardi for your strange armchair nonsense, he did not work that way at all.
And just because MLF is a smart, strong, decent coach does not mean he can win it all. Idiots like Ryan did not do anything in the NFL.

We are making 31 points against the nr.1 D, nearly won, even as AR was a little bit off and have a great record. And this crazy loooser act like we are every year like the Cowboys. Strange....

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Lphill's picture

November 24, 2020 at 05:21 pm

Why is Trump always in your head?

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HighPlainsDrifter's picture

November 24, 2020 at 08:18 pm

Because he's a national embarrassment, just like the racist deplorables that support him.

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NickPerry's picture

November 24, 2020 at 05:17 pm

"Oh, and he can start by demanding his team stop all that damn posing in the end zone if they happen to make a good play. It's football, not a birthday party."

IMO this part of his comment is right on the money. IF the Packers had a decent defense that actually produced turnovers on a somewhat regular basis, then hey, go have a party. But THIS defense rarely makes a interception that's not a deflection and even more rarely forces a fumble they recover.

Perhaps when they do that with even the slightest of regularity, THEN they can have their parties. Until then quit embarrassing yourself and act like you've been there before.

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HighPlainsDrifter's picture

November 24, 2020 at 08:39 pm

"we hear the same things for years, but no changes are made. Not in the scheme, not in replacing underperforming personnel or coaches, not even in the excuses."

Apparently you missed the fact that the Head Coach and the entire staff (except for Pettine) was changed last year.

"MLF needs to show some interest in defense and special teams, he seems not to have any."

If you honestly think that the Head Coach has "no interest" in these aspects of the team then there's no helping you.

"Oh, and he can start by demanding his team stop all that damn posing in the end zone if they happen to make a good play. It's football, not a birthday party."

Grow up, it's not 1967 anymore. Modern players celebrate their accomplishments, and there is not a single coach in any professional sport that prevents that. You know why they don't? Because they would immediately and completely lose the team if they did.

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MarkinMadison's picture

November 24, 2020 at 10:25 pm

Call me crazy, but there were a lot of nice developments in that game. I was pounding the floor and dropping F bombs throughout the second half, but hey, it was entertaining. And BTW, if Rodgers hits Tonyan in the end zone at the end of the 4th, everyone would be on here crowing about how this team held together and found a way to win even with four turnovers. This team gave the NFL's #1 defense a drubbing in the first half. This defense played well until they were left on the field for almost the entire third quarter. Don't let the final result blot out the good things we saw out there.

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Spock's picture

November 25, 2020 at 05:23 am

MinM, I agree. Before this game many (including me) didn't feel very confident in how this team would play. IDK, for me, I felt better about this loss than about the previous week's win. I saw a lot of energy and flowing to the ball on defense and some good plays on offense. I felt for MVS because he appears to (finally) have gotten the confidence to catch the ball and then had the unfortunate fumble. I think, dispite the outcome, that the team took a step forward. -And I expect I will get downvoted for that, but I really do believe we saw improvement this last game. Heck, before the game most people on here were expecting the Packers to be blown out. Did they play great? Maybe not. But they played better than I expected. Fans can nitpick the 3rd quarter, defense, etc. but they had to go to OT for the game to end. I'd have loved for them to win, but I enjoyed the game right up until I didn't. :( Good post.

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NickPerry's picture

November 25, 2020 at 08:15 am

Great post Mark, you're one of my favorites here at CHTV. Your right, we WOULD be celebrating if Rodgers looks Big Bob's way in the 4th quarter, and most times my money's on Rodgers to do so. Right again about the defense being on the field almost the entire 3rd quarter.

BUT...

What drives me crazy and really puts a damper on thinking this defense could somehow turn it around was a few downs in the 4th quarter. Its 3rd and 20 late in the 4th quarter and the colts EASILY run a play which picks up 16 yards. But the following play is what HAUNTS me about Pettine and leaves me somewhat hopeless Pettine can change.

4th and 4 and the Colts go for it. I had hope until I saw the defense lined up OFF the receivers making it EASY. The following night I watched a 4th and one play and could only pray Pettine was watching.

Tampa had 4th and 1 late in 4th quarter. ALL the Rams CB's line up tight and jam the receivers so they couldn't run the rub route they wanted to and pick up even 1 yard. The Packers choose to line up one of the best CB's in the NFL OFF and complete a route I could have run against him.

It's just so F***ing discouraging, watching this team fall short when IMO with the right DC and these SAME players, they could be a top rated defense.

We DID see lots of good things. Unfortunately we saw the SAME things from Mike Pettines defensive scheme.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my fellow Packers fans!

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MarkinMadison's picture

November 26, 2020 at 12:52 pm

"The Packers choose to line up one of the best CB's in the NFL OFF and complete a route I could have run against him."

Yeah, this is where my humility takes over and I pray the Pettine understands how to use his players better than I do. But I hear you.

BTW - I've read your posts for a long time. You're a smarter football guy than I am.

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Destlistbase's picture

November 25, 2020 at 01:18 am

Good post i like it

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