Game-Changing Play of the Week: The Opening Whistle

It was over almost before it started, given the effort displayed by the Packers on Sunday.

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.

9 points

Comments (44)

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

September 13, 2021 at 04:04 pm

Kevin King is God awful

+ REPLY
6 points
12
6
Since'61's picture

September 13, 2021 at 04:10 pm

The game was basically a practice for the Saints and a return to the 70s for the Packers. Thanks, Since '61

+ REPLY
5 points
6
1
Johnblood27's picture

September 14, 2021 at 08:20 am

That '70s show was in Wisconsin after all...

+ REPLY
-1 points
0
1
cheesehead1's picture

September 13, 2021 at 04:30 pm

I sure hope this game was a one off. King should have been gone after the NFCCG, enough is enough. Our D was pathetic and made Winston look like Brady.

+ REPLY
3 points
6
3
RedRight49's picture

September 13, 2021 at 04:42 pm

I couldn't wait for the Packer's 2021 season to begin, especially after this drama filled, asinine off - season.

At 3:25 PM I had a big bowl of buttered popcorn and some re-heated leftover pizza all ready for the 1st kick off of the season and watch the likely beginning
of a run to the Super Bowl.

But I missed the game.

Instead of the football game, my local broadcaster aired a 3 hour long special on Encopresis.

+ REPLY
3 points
3
0
tincada's picture

September 14, 2021 at 11:24 am

You didn't miss anything. Hope you enjoyed the pizza and popcorn!

+ REPLY
1 points
2
1
Kevin Carpenter's picture

September 13, 2021 at 04:51 pm

I don't know what it is, but for some reason, the Packers cannot win in Florida and cannot win on the west coast. Seattle, San Fran, LA, Tampa, Miami, Jacksonville, the team struggles mightily every single time. It really is baffling.

+ REPLY
3 points
3
0
tincada's picture

September 14, 2021 at 11:29 am

They're good in the NFC N . LMAO! Bye Murph, Gute, Barry and probably Mattie. Other than that it's probably all good....except Love obviously

+ REPLY
-2 points
0
2
Kevin Carpenter's picture

September 14, 2021 at 03:40 pm

That's not what I meant. The Packers own the Seahawks at Lambeau, and most other teams for that matter. They even play pretty well on the road, in all cities except those mentioned.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
stockholder's picture

September 13, 2021 at 05:10 pm

This OL sucks. Flat out sucks. The DL isn't any better. So just stop looking like it was just an off game. You must hold everyone accountable. Even Gute. The packers didn't beat themselves. Their just not a very good team. Don't tell me their talented, when their not. If Rodgers can't throw the ball . Run the ball down their throats. Until they want to block. Team First. Forget the individual praise. This Defense got it wrong. You can't let a unit dig the hole first. They did. So just forget king. Losers play Catch-up.

+ REPLY
0 points
7
7
Thegravedigger's picture

September 13, 2021 at 05:30 pm

the problem with your run the ball down their throat theory is rodgers decided to call the plays very early. he has the option at the line. and he decided he was going to be the hero. he failed. miserably. the defense on the other hand, looked exactly like they did against the vikings and the lions in week one and 2 last year. everybody and their mother was saying because there was no fans last year that the defense couldnt get hyped up on their own. remember that? well, this is the same defense. they have no leader. just a bunch of passive pros who can front run. they most definitely beat themselves. they have some weak players for sure. but the saints are using a bunch of practice squad fellas. and they whooped the packers ass. they have leaders, malcolm jenkins, cam jordan, they are leaders. who is the packers charles woodson? nobody. thats who.

+ REPLY
5 points
9
4
Thegravedigger's picture

September 13, 2021 at 05:24 pm

thank you for mentioning lowry lancaster and king. god they all should be off of this team. what happened to upgrading along the margins? these guys have been shit multiple seasons. king flashed in 2019, lancaster in 2018, and lowry might of even been in 2017. it was so long ago with lowry i cant even recall. but enough already with these 3 players. theyve been on green bay for so long that every opposing coach is like " well last time we just attacked these 3 fuckin guys. ummm, oh shit! there still on the roster! and they play like all of the snaps! welp theres are gameplan." come on gute. yes i know. all of this means nothing when rodgers is basically calling the plays and throwing balls to the other team. but he is one of the greats and he can turn it around i hope. there is no hope for those guys. especially lowry and king. get stokes in the game. get slaton and heff in the game. come on man

+ REPLY
6 points
8
2
tincada's picture

September 14, 2021 at 11:32 am

and get rid of Barry. Who hired this loser anyway?

+ REPLY
1 points
1
0
ImaPayne's picture

September 13, 2021 at 05:41 pm

Kind of ironic, I watched the Sunday ticket game with the Lions and they are down like 21 points late in the game.Told wife, hey they have like 3 minutes left, they can come back yuk yuk yuk. Turned the game back on and with 30 seconds left they had a chance to tie the game.
Point, they had heart, never gave up, almost pulled out a unbelievable comeback so their loss unlike the packers gave them hope. The packers are hoping they dont lay an egg against the Lions.

+ REPLY
13 points
13
0
nostradanus's picture

September 13, 2021 at 06:04 pm

🤨 Aaron Rodgers put the fans and the Packers organization through a media led shit show (with his people leaking the info) and this is what he comes out with on the first game?🤡

🤨I hated the Barry hire and now I hate it even more. If you watch his pressers the guy cannot give a coherent answer to anything. MLF what the hell were you thinking 🤔

🤨And speaking of what we’re you thinking? Brian Gutekunst what did you bring back the guy that cost is the Championship game KevIn King? 6 million dollars Really? 💰💰💰

🤨oh and while we’re at it, why the hell can’t you get a decent D Lineman to pair with Kenny Clark? Lowery & Lancaster? Really?🤡

😆 oh one more thing Brian At least you’ve had the inside to not pay Davante Adams the 27 million he wants, he’s close to 30 a ripe for a decline. Let him walk next year 👋

🤔 And yes, you should have shipped Mr Man Bun out this off-season this getting a Kings Ransom, his stock is dropping quicker than Bill Clinton’s pants at a panty party 🎉

ND 👁

+ REPLY
7 points
13
6
egbertsouse's picture

September 13, 2021 at 09:00 pm

Yep, faster than Matt Gaetz’s pants on prom night.

+ REPLY
6 points
6
0
Johnblood27's picture

September 14, 2021 at 08:25 am

I thought that was Mark Chmura's pants coming off on Prom night?

+ REPLY
0 points
1
1
Qoojo's picture

September 13, 2021 at 06:29 pm

I thought they played at the same level in the first game of 2019, but that was against the bears.

- Barry is as underwhelming as his resume suggests
- Offense will get better
- Defense will look better when playing worse teams, and once again mislead fans into thinking that they are better
- My question is if Rodgers is going to phone it in this year like MM's last year
- I noticed that Rodgers passed up some short passes like MM's last year
- They started out playing pound it out on the ground with Dillon on second or third series, then Rodgers takes the big sack instead of throwing it away or continuing with the run game. Series over.
- King is a litmus test, as long as he can start, the defense sucks.
- I know everyone is complaining about the TD pass, but King was 5-8 yards away on simple easy out

Like I said, I expect the offense to get better now that they are practicing in games together, but the defense will remain the same ol shit it has been for 10+ years.

+ REPLY
10 points
10
0
Packer_Fan's picture

September 13, 2021 at 07:07 pm

Time to cut King. Every team that plays GB will try that same play against King. Will he keep up and prevent the touchdown? Peyton called that play to specifically determine if they could beat King. And they did. How long will GB allow that to happen?

And with the money the save, pick up a DL.

If this King thing happens again, it will be time for Gute to be fired.

+ REPLY
2 points
5
3
tincada's picture

September 14, 2021 at 11:37 am

It's time for Gute, Murph, Barry and flower man (all) to be fired. This team is completely dysfunctional.

+ REPLY
-3 points
0
3
PackfanNY's picture

September 13, 2021 at 07:08 pm

This game was finished when we won the toss and deferred to the 2nd half. I get they love to get the ball to start the second half. However, we gave immediate momentum to the Saints. Our defense is not that great. They drove right down the field to open the scoring with a FG. Why wouldn’t you put your best unit on the field immediately to try and grab the lead right away. Feels like we give an extra offensive series to the opponent right out of the gate.

+ REPLY
8 points
8
0
croatpackfan's picture

September 14, 2021 at 04:33 am

Because they were afraid that in that case they would not even score a field goal!

+ REPLY
1 points
1
0
tincada's picture

September 14, 2021 at 11:40 am

What defense? $ Four (4) tds in less than a 100 yrds of offense?

+ REPLY
-1 points
0
1
scullyitsme's picture

September 13, 2021 at 07:12 pm

I realize cheesehead tv is the new Rodgers haters club, but singling out anyone on this loss is ridiculous. And all you trying to pin it on Rodgers in the comment section on every article, are idiots. It’s pro football talk in here…I only come here occasionally and have to bring my knee boots now a days.

+ REPLY
-5 points
2
7
calabasa's picture

September 13, 2021 at 10:32 pm

After his offseason antics, it’s understandable that fans are aiming their venom at him and his man bun.

+ REPLY
3 points
3
0
croatpackfan's picture

September 14, 2021 at 04:31 am

I do not hate Aaron Rodgers. But I do not like when person who is not accountable talking and trashing others for accountability - like Aaron Rodgers. I do not like person who believe he is the smartest guy in the Universe and believe he is better evaluator of players than people who are professional in that job, while he is not. On the other side he do not perform on the his paid job, like professional, but like amateur just came from the street. That man is - you guess - Aaron Rodgers. Not that he will not be able to perform on the highest level any more, but I suspect that his mind went irretrievably in pointing others for his own mistakes. Like the "LEADERSHIP" statement after the game - team played bad and after second or 2 he remember to include himself into that - I played bad. No, Aaron, you did not play bad, you played terrible. But that is why people comes to Green Bay to play for Packers. Because Packers are Aaron Rodgers. My God!

+ REPLY
1 points
2
1
Johnblood27's picture

September 14, 2021 at 08:28 am

Ummm... If ya don't like the company, don't keep it!

If honest criticism instead of homer fanboy false platitudes get your thong uptight then...

Buh Bye!

+ REPLY
0 points
1
1
LayingTheLawe's picture

September 13, 2021 at 07:45 pm

Is that a new term now? I am sort of tired and lackadaisical today - I am feeling San Diegoish.

It does get lost in the outstanding record of the Packers under Lafleur that every once in a while they come out and play totally awful in every phase of the game. It appears that if the gameplan they practiced all week does not work, then they don't know what to do and it's just over for that week. But football only has 17 weeks - there are no throwaways. Or there shouldn't be.

+ REPLY
5 points
6
1
ricky's picture

September 13, 2021 at 08:07 pm

You call the hiring of Barry "mystifying." It's not. It's part of a pattern that also exists on special teams. Instead of paying more for a proven, good coach, you pay less for a hack. And then wonder why the results are less than optimal. Why are Lancaster and Lowry still starters? Because the team doesn't have the money to sign a good FA, nor will to draft a good prospect. Keke was supposed to take a step this year; unfortunately, so far it's back, not forward. The game plan was terrible. Rodgers should have eaten that depleted secondary alive. Instead, he hemmed and hawed, looked indecisive, or else he waited for a big play to open up again. This is reminiscent of Rodgers in the later MM years- hold onto the ball too long, waiting for a receiver to get open. And then he got frustrated, and threw some terrible interceptions. I had checked out of the game in the middle of the second quarter, leaving it on but watching only intermittently. Why should I care if the team doesn't? There is a lot of blame to go around, and this could well be the beginning of a nightmare season. Similar to what Philly experienced with their "dream team" from a few years ago.

+ REPLY
3 points
4
1
Handsback's picture

September 13, 2021 at 08:18 pm

Was it just me or did the coach indicate he wanted to establish a running game but it appeared that Rodgers kept checking out of it and make it a pass play.
Probably reading too much in MLF's review...but again maybe not!

+ REPLY
5 points
5
0
joejetson's picture

September 13, 2021 at 09:45 pm

Famous Leadership Quotes:
"There is no "I" in TEAM.
Aaron Rodgers: "There is no TEAM without "M E".

+ REPLY
7 points
8
1
Johnblood27's picture

September 14, 2021 at 08:30 am

THAT is SPOT ON!!!

You get a cookie, sorry Dobber.

+ REPLY
0 points
1
1
calabasa's picture

September 13, 2021 at 10:34 pm

“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.”

I was at Lambeau for the 31-0 loss to the Lions to close out the 2018 season. That was 1000x worse than this.

+ REPLY
0 points
1
1
calabasa's picture

September 13, 2021 at 10:51 pm

Just googled that game, yikes.

Coach Philbin

ARod gets a concussion, Kizer throws 2 picks.

Fake FG for TD for the Lions.

At Lambeau.

Much worse than this. At least tix were only $80!

+ REPLY
1 points
1
0
Johnblood27's picture

September 14, 2021 at 08:33 am

Kizer in the game?
Last game of a lost season?
Interim Coach?

That was almost expected.

The game on Sunday vs the Saints in Jax was the absolute worst display I have witnessed by the GBP given the level of talent, expectations, and self promotion by the players and coaching staff that I have ever witnessed and I have been watching Packer games since Lombardi was on the sidelines.

+ REPLY
1 points
1
0
croatpackfan's picture

September 14, 2021 at 04:21 am

It was not that embarrassing, that game against Lions. It was Kizer time, who was very bad. But in this game QBR for AR=36.8 and for Jordan Love is 102,1! And guess who is the most expensive player in NFL. You have 3 trials!

+ REPLY
2 points
2
0
Saintsalive's picture

September 13, 2021 at 10:43 pm

Come on Cheeseheads, hello from New Orleans. You guys need to chill. It’s one game. What you fail to realize is that the Saints are stacked. You’re talking about a Sean Payton team that has what is probably the best scouting department and front office in the league. They have the best record in the nfl the past 4 years. Year in and year out they identity undrafted players that become major contributors. This team has depth at every level. This defense was a top 5 D last year and is only better this year. They’re stacked. As to our new qb1, this is the guy who led the league in passing yards 2 years ago. In this system where decision making is job 1, he will be lethal. In the end, you got beat by a good team.

+ REPLY
0 points
3
3
Johnblood27's picture

September 14, 2021 at 08:35 am

Hats off to NO for their week 1 victory.

Hope to see ya later. Payback can be a female dog.

+ REPLY
1 points
1
0
Tundraboy's picture

September 14, 2021 at 12:01 am

“ 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?”

What a great point and exactly what irritates me even more.

I never like to think that we as fans are entitled to anything other than to enjoy and root for our team in any crazy way possible, but this game made me feel cheated. If the players themselves can not care enough, a fraction of what we put into gearing up for the start of the season then they at least owe us that much.

Anything Rodgers or the others have to say about this game is just bs. Prove it because I never want to see a performance like that again. Been a fans since the 60s and I don’t think I ever felt this disgusted after a loss.

+ REPLY
4 points
4
0
Johnblood27's picture

September 14, 2021 at 08:36 am

Im with ya.

It is a week to turn the GBP flag upside down.

Serious distress...

+ REPLY
2 points
2
0
croatpackfan's picture

September 14, 2021 at 04:16 am

"Where was the "illusion of complexity," the motions, the bunch formations, the creativity?"

Do not be so cruel. There was perfect "illusion" in the game, but not "of complexity", but illusion of self greatness by one man.

I just have to discover who was that man!?

+ REPLY
0 points
1
1
PewAuKeeFan's picture

September 14, 2021 at 08:08 am

"This after Davante Adams called the team the "hungriest" he'd ever been a part of"

Adams was spot on. The team was so hungry that they forgot all about game plans and instead went helter-skelter trying to get food to eat.

Extreme hunger also makes one lethargic.

+ REPLY
2 points
2
0
BAMABADGER's picture

September 14, 2021 at 08:47 am

As the season progresses, concerns about hiring a defensive coordinator with a poor resume will be confirmed.

+ REPLY
1 points
1
0
Packerfactor's picture

September 16, 2021 at 11:22 am

I've watched the past Saints game three times now and I can't get over the impression of how similar this game was to all three preseason games, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Secondary players out of position, confusion of assignments and players on their heels, not sure of their responsibilities. These are fearfully, all signs of bad coaching. Bad coaching by a bad coach, hiding his shortcomings with bravado "high energy" hype..

What stood out the most to me vs the Saints was that GBs Secondary run support seemed to be almost risk mitigation designed or by lack of player effort, to avoid injury like in preseason. Was what we painfully watched game one, some kind of preason hangover?

On several plays, even after 3 full seconds into the play, with what should have been an obvious run recognition situation, our Cornerbacks and Safeties are peddling backwards, a step and a half, before coming up to flow to the ball. What are these guys looking at, butterflies? No one was taking on blockers headup just a bunch of pansies trying to slip blocks and route to no contact angles to get to the ball carrier.

That's the kind of shit coaches let slide during 11 on 11, helmet only, training camp walk-throughs.

And Adams evidently not only wants to get paid like Hopkins, but he also wants to block like Hopkins.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0

Log in to comment and more!

Not a member yet? Join free.

If you have already commented on Cheesehead TV in the past, we've created an account for you. Just verify your email, set a password and you're golden.