Game Notes: Packers have a forgettable day in Los Angeles

-- After rattling off four consecutive wins, the Green Bay Packers suffered their second loss of the season in Los Angeles on Sunday. They put up just 184 yards of total offense against the Chargers, turning in one of their worst performances of the season -- in all three phases.

A handful of penalties on the offensive line -- primarily in the false-start department -- and the inability to protect Aaron Rodgers from the duo of Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa culminated in their 26-11 downfall. They didn't put up their first touchdown until late in the fourth quarter. The Packers could do virtually nothing to stop Melvin Gordon and the Chargers' rushing attack, and the Chargers even managed to block one of J.K. Scott's punts.

It's safe to say that when Scott, the Packers' top weapon, is struggling, it's just a bad day overall.

But even the league's best teams are due for losses like this each season. The Packers return home next week to host the Carolina Panthers -- another game that could significantly impact the NFC standings later this season.

Keeping it all in perspective

You could make a case for any of the Packers' struggles in the past month, whether it's their run defense or special teams unit that still hasn't been able to put it together under new coordinator Shawn Mennenga. But the reality of it all, this is a team who is 7-2 through nine weeks, has yet to have its bye week and is currently healthier than they've been all year. They're slowly infusing Davante Adams back into the lineup and figuring out how to do so seamlessly without disrupting the godly production they've enjoyed through the month of October.

There's a lot of time to figure things out, and with a game back at Lambeau Field coming up, there isn't a better time. By the time the Packers are back on the west coast for a date with the San Francisco 49ers in three weeks, this could look like a completely different football team. But it all starts with cleaning up their own house, and right now, that starts with their run defense. Otherwise, Christian McCaffrey is going to have a career day next week in Green Bay.

Oh, and the other three teams in the NFC North lost on Sunday, including the Minnesota Vikings, who dropped to 6-3 and are still behind the division-leading Packers.

Assessing Blake Martinez -- again

It's only right that I circle back to this after defending Blake Martinez a couple of weeks ago. Or maybe it was last week. I don't remember, but that's not the point.

Martinez finished Sunday's game with 12 tackles -- the norm for him. However, this was a performance where the stats don't tell the whole story. He was a mess in coverage, constantly falling backward when making a tackle as if he were being caught with his feet stuck in sand and he looked downright uncomfortable at the second level. Maybe that's because he's wearing a brace on his wrist to protect him from further injury -- an injury he's been battling for two weeks now -- but if I can vouch for him, it's only fair that I'm entirely honest when he has a bad day.

Today was a bad day. To be fair, it was a bad day for the defense as a whole. But it's beginning to seem that unless Martinez has a formidable body next to him, he's going to shoulder much of the responsibility, which could be a bad thing. B.J. Goodson has been a decent fill-in alongside Martinez, and second-year safety convert Oren Burks may not be the answer either. If the Packers pair Martinez with someone that can help make his job easier, you're going to notice a lot less of Martinez's faults. Sans a play in the first quarter where he crashed down and made a tackle at the line of scrimmage, they were on full display today.

A rough day for the OTs

Between David Bakhtiari and Bryan Bulaga, the usual stalemates of the offensive line, neither tackle had an answer for the Chargers' pass-rushing duo. Bosa and Ingram wreaked havoc all game, constantly pressuring Rodgers and forcing him to get rid of the ball sooner than he wanted to. Very rarely was his first read available, and the result was his lowest amount of passing yards (161) in a regular-season game since a 2015 trip to Arizona in which he was sacked eight times.

Don Barclay may not have been on an island tasked with the job of protecting Rodgers, but Bakhtiari and Bulaga both had a forgettable day. That's saying a lot considering how well Bulaga has been playing this season; the same could be said for Bakhtiari outside of an unusual amount of penalties that occurred under his watch. 

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Zachary Jacobson is a staff writer/reporter for Cheesehead TV. He's the voice of The Leap on iTunes and can be heard on The Scoop KLGR 1490 AM every Saturday morning. He's also a contributor on the Pack-A-Day Podcast. He can be found on Twitter via @ZachAJacobson or contacted through email at [email protected].

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Comments (42)

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Hematite's picture

November 04, 2019 at 11:20 am

That was the worst Packers game I've seen in a long time.
It was so bad that I have a hard time believing that they can have a bounce back game against the Panthers.

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Tarynfor12's picture

November 04, 2019 at 11:28 am

The play of the Packers could be explained with this reasoning...

Someone in the FO forget to send the forfeiture agreement to the team before boarding the plane and leaving the players and coaches wondering what happened to the game plan notes when they arrived in LA.
Hence the unsure look as to whether they should be playing or not and to save some face came to focus, a small glimpse of oh shit transpired in the late 4th quarter and the stat enhancing became a must.

Though many will simply accept Rodgers excuse about reading the headlines and suffering a bit of humble pie.

The failure this team on Sunday must be contributed to one man..MLF..it's his job to not allow headlines to dictate practice between games. It would appear MLF was indulging in the headlines and allowed willingly a very soft week of game prep if any prep at all was performed.

With that, a loss like this can do wonders and it was best to have it now with one game before the bye and get right for the final push and possibly achieving what was believe highly unlikely...playoffs and even a shot at more.

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porupack's picture

November 04, 2019 at 12:27 pm

Agree with you Taryn, such a gory mess all over the team points right to Coach LeFluer. He didn't have his team ready, nor could come up with alternatives during the carnage.

I wasn't convinced of this team during the win streak, even up to through final buzzer of the Chiefs game. Though after reading analysis on Pettine's strategy to limit the Chiefs top weapons, I was starting to come around to the notion that the coaches were approaching the top tier.
No need for over-reaction of gloom, but, there are a lot of concerns now. At least Vikings put up a nasty fight in their loss.

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driftinreno's picture

November 04, 2019 at 02:52 pm

P[AYOFFS what stinkin PLAYOFFS

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albert999's picture

November 04, 2019 at 11:33 am

Out coached
Out played
Un prepared
RESET
PLAY

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Pauly's picture

November 04, 2019 at 11:52 am

Lets move Fackrell to ILB next to Martinez. Fackrell is a big body run stuffer and experienced in coverage, plus fast enough to cover most TEs.
Certainly can't be any worse than what's happening in the middle of the field now!!

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SterlingSharpe's picture

November 04, 2019 at 05:59 pm

Good idea Pauli.
Surely can't do less than Oren Burks.

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schmikey's picture

November 04, 2019 at 11:56 am

Man... someone believed some funky media about themselves for sure. I hope this humble pie shoved down the Packers throat leaves an aftertaste that will "burn for the grind". No more interviews, please!! shut up and get to work, Smith brothers!!! Packers looked so lost, like it was their first game in the nfl. And the Chargers looked "Loaded for bear". Joey Bosa looked like a mad prison convict who just escaped alcatrez and bulaga and the o line were the overweight security guards. RESET!!!!

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PatrickGB's picture

November 04, 2019 at 12:00 pm

Burks was supposed to be the coverage linebacker. He has not been getting many snaps. Also I would like to see Campbell back on the roster. Not having Greene available hurts as well.
Just as Rodgers and company start to figure out MLFs offense so have other teams. But I believe that this team can do well even with our weaknesses.

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SterlingSharpe's picture

November 04, 2019 at 06:01 pm

Most y'all who are Draftniks were not happy at all when the Packers shocked the pundits with Oren Burks in Rd 3.
Y'all weren't happy with J'Mon Moore in rd 4 either.

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Lphill's picture

November 04, 2019 at 12:33 pm

Goodson seemed to have a good eye for the ball, lets try him and Summers in the middle, Clark also looks tired on too many plays if you watch him, you will see him just grasping, something has to be done quick.

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jannes bjornson's picture

November 04, 2019 at 04:40 pm

The trade deadline was last week.

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Since'61's picture

November 04, 2019 at 12:51 pm

Looks like the Packers had their bye week yesterday. Now they need to get back to work and get ready for the Panthers.
Thanks, Since '61

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zoellner25's picture

November 04, 2019 at 12:55 pm

Dear Gutey, please replace Blake Martinez. Sincerely, all Packer fans

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wrm1230's picture

November 04, 2019 at 04:30 pm

He's bottom of the roster fodder. Tackles totals mean absolutely nothing. Nick Barnett had high tackles totals too and he was below average all the way around. Martinez makes Barnett look like Ray Lewis. The MLB position has been neglected for far too long. Until that spot is upgraded with a true difference maker, the edges of the defense will always be challenged.

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scullyitsme's picture

November 04, 2019 at 01:16 pm

Martinez is just what he is, an average to occasionally above average lb. There’s no need to overreact, because that’s always been the case. While he’s a different player than aj hawk he’s quite similar in production. He’s definitely not worth big money in the off season. I think we have to ad a high draft choice or a off season trade/ free agent next year, which sucks constantly using top picks on defense.

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wrm1230's picture

November 04, 2019 at 04:32 pm

Other than availability, there is nothing about Martinez that is better than average. Most of it is below average. Instincts, speed, athleticism, toughness, willingness....it's why he was a mid-round dart throw and not a top level MLB prospect.

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Mojo's picture

November 04, 2019 at 02:30 pm

Was Tremon Smith's 36 yard KO return to roughly the GB 40 the teams longest of the year?

If it is, nothing tells the tale of the return team units better. I'm actually excited when they can get it to the 20 without a penalty. And the punt return unit is even worse.

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shmelbs's picture

November 04, 2019 at 02:32 pm

On top of an ugly game, is anyone paying attention to Z. Smith being cited for speeding and marijuana possession? With Rashan Gary and Kingsley Keke in the car with him? We'd better hope there aren't suspensions coming. Or maybe that's another wake up call?

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Lare's picture

November 04, 2019 at 03:44 pm

It was in a duffle bag in his vehicle. He didn't have any in his system and the interview made it sound like it wasn't his but he was claiming it to take the fall for somebody else. Gary or Keke?

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

November 05, 2019 at 04:01 am

No one thinks there is much to get worked up about. It was simple possession. ZaDarius was not cited for driving under the influence. As far as we know there are no prior incidents that triggered the NFL's protocols. It should be a stage one incident that is subject to a fine at the maximum.

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Patrick Helms's picture

November 04, 2019 at 03:18 pm

Wow, I can't believe last years team and playbook showed up for this game. It started on the very first play with a nervous Rivers playing out of his endzone. No blitz......really. I'm sure he was just as surprised to see us line up in soft zone and then give him all day to throw out of his own endzone. Truly unbelievable play calling. Can you imagine a safety on the very first play and what a monumental game changer it would have been. You only get those opportunities once in a great while and to pass on it left me in disbelief. Was all downhill from that point on. I knew what they were going to do on almost every play...just like last year. So did every team in the league and every player on the Chargers who looked at Roger's tunnel vision all day. Why on earth would you run off the right tackle when they stacked that side knowing it was coming....OMFG! I was also right about having Adams back, Rogers only sees what he wants to see. Clock management was high school level just as tackling appeared to be. We are very lucky some of Rogers throws didn't get another WR hurt. I thought we got rid of Kiser. Did they even practice this week. This had better be a wake up call. That was a lot more going on t than just humble pie...lol....Go Pack!

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Swisch's picture

November 04, 2019 at 04:19 pm

Perspectives in Packers History:
As some fans here at CHTV may have actually witnessed: In 1962 (the year of my birth at Columbia Hospital in Milwaukee), the Lombardi Packers were rolling at 10-0 when they suffered a mauling by the Detroit Lions -- the "Thanksgiving Day Massacre" -- with Bart Starr brutalized by 11 sacks.
Strikingly similar to the game yesterday, in this game of yesteryear the Packers fell behind 26-0, before scoring late to trim the final deficit to 26-14.
Fortunately, the Packers rallied to win their last three games to finish the regular season ahead of the Lions with a record of 13-1, then beat the New York Giants in the championship game to become Titletown for the second straight year.
And so it is that such shocking setbacks increase the drama for how the Packers will respond some 57 years later...
(My how I feel old. I'm glad for other reminiscences and general responses.)

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Barazinho's picture

November 04, 2019 at 04:12 pm

"Between David Bakhtiari and Bryan Bulaga, the usual stalemates of the offensive line" - do you mean stalwarts?

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Doug Niemczynski's picture

November 04, 2019 at 04:39 pm

I don't have any comments. Can I get a thumbs up?

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GVPacker's picture

November 04, 2019 at 04:52 pm

I gave you a thumbs up Doug!

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packergal's picture

November 04, 2019 at 05:35 pm

You get a thumbs up, Doug!
GO PACK!

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mamasboy's picture

November 04, 2019 at 11:48 pm

If it makes you feel better. Sure!

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Lare's picture

November 04, 2019 at 04:53 pm

Ok, so the Packers laid an egg in all facets of the game against the Chargers. If even one area of the team (offense, defense, special teams, coaching) does well it would have been a much more competitive game. While I would rather not see this happen at all, the concern will be if it carries over to the Carolina game.

MLF has his work cut out for him this week, We'll see what he is made of as a HC.

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CoachJV's picture

November 04, 2019 at 05:59 pm

I very much believe Arod when he says they were buying into their own hype. Winning feels good, and 7-1 at the mid-point, when everybody expected them to fail, sure has the potential to make a person cocky... This team is FULL of youth who know they have skills... so they bought into the hype. Rodgers had just played lights out and felt his greatness return... so his ego wasn't far behind.

And even LaF.... who's a 39 year old head coach who is winning like a mofo in his first season... out coaching guys like Gruden and Andy freakin' Reed... OF COURSE he got cocky... he's young and has skills too.

I give them a pass... they just got EMBARRASSED... so they will wake up and avenge themselves.

I'm going to make a BOLD prediction and say that we do not lose another game during the regular season this year.

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packergal's picture

November 04, 2019 at 06:09 pm

WOW, Coach JV...that is a bold prediction, indeed!

FYI...See below what MLF said before the game about the LA Chargers...

"They're a really good team. They're one of the better teams in the league, in my opinion. They're coming off a big win at Chicago, so we're going to have to have our A game ready."

So...the Pack did not have their A Game ready--in fact, PACK came without even a C Game ready!

Nevertheless... you believe they CAN bring their A Game in the remaining 2019 games?
I remain hopeful! Go Pack!

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mamasboy's picture

November 04, 2019 at 11:53 pm

I hope you're right coach, but it's pretty unlikely. I just hope that humble pie isn't on the menu against the panthers next week.

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ALLGASNOBRAKES's picture

November 05, 2019 at 06:21 am

I said it above and in a few other comments...It was bound to happen. I agree with you 100% the Packers will come back and avenge themselves.

But what I want for Christmas almost as much as I'd like the Packers to find a run defense is Rodgers being able to use EVERYBODY like he did the previous 4 games AND incorporate Adams. I felt like I was watching weeks 1-3 again where Rodgers 1st, 2nd, and 3rd read was Davante Adams. When Rodgers shows he's just as likely to throw it to MVS, or Lazard as he is Adams is when this offense will be truly scary.

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SterlingSharpe's picture

November 04, 2019 at 06:06 pm

Was reading about Aaron Donald today, and it said he's been double-teamed 2nd most in the NFL, behind Kenny Clark.
That should tell us A) how crappy his supporting cast is B) maybe why Kenny is worn out & rarely makes a big play anymore.
Can we sign Howard Green again?

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Oppy's picture

November 04, 2019 at 06:50 pm

Most importantly, it tells you what opposing defenses think of Kenny Clark, and how much the Packers are relying on him.

That young man is a BEAST.

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jlc1's picture

November 05, 2019 at 12:07 pm

That is such an indictment of the rest of the Dline and ILBs it is truly worrying. The other teams are saying to them only one of you guys can beat us, the rest of you are chumps. Same way the other teams are dissing the GB return teams by actually kicking to them, fully expecting they and not the Pack will get the field position advantage. Work to do on the coaching side and on the personnel side it seems.

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wrm1230's picture

November 05, 2019 at 03:18 pm

You mean it's not a good thing to draft DL's from Northwestern....or sign FA DL's from Northwestern...and then actually start them? Who knew?

You can't populate your football team with cannon fodder and expect better results. Dean Lowry and Tyler Lancaster are roster fodder. Nothing more. Occasional plays because they are on the field in volume is about all they are good for. Quite frankly, they can't play.

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rstain99's picture

November 04, 2019 at 07:00 pm

Does anyone study other teams success against common opponents, the two D ends were invisible against New England in playoffs last year, yesterday the line for the pack made them look like 85 Bears, AR was under pressure all day, still holds the ball to long for my liking, no underneath game at all, no crossing routes. Brady not half the athlete of Rodgers but he escapes terrible Oline in NE is terrible underneath game always there. All 3 phases of game they got handled. 7 games to go contenders or pretenders? Lack of defense makes me believe the latter

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nostradanus's picture

November 04, 2019 at 08:17 pm

We all knew adversity would rear its ugly head this season, it ain’t all rainbows and unicorns baby. First Z gets caught with a blunt then a horrid team performance. How the Packers rebound will write a great season or their epithet. Still in first place! No team is perfect. Enjoy the ride man!
Go Pack!

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murf7777's picture

November 04, 2019 at 08:39 pm

Couldn’t of written it better!

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edp1959's picture

November 04, 2019 at 09:08 pm

Reading some chatter that some players spent too much time out and about in LA instead of preparing for the game. Hope it isn’t true.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

November 05, 2019 at 04:10 am

I am hoping it is true.

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