Game Recap: Packers Struggle, Fall 26-11 to Chargers

After going undefeated in the month of October, the Green Bay Packers (7-2, 3-0 NFC North) struggled to find any sort of offensive momentum on the road, falling to the Los Angeles Chargers (4-5, 0-1 AFC West) 26-11 Sunday.

It was an ugly one from start to finish for Green Bay and they were not the only ones to find themselves on the end of a loss in week nine. All four NFC North teams, the Packers, Bears, Lions and Vikings took an L this week.

“I gotta do a lot better job of putting our guys into position,” coach Matt LaFleur said at his post-game press conference. “We didn’t really even get into the game plan.”

The Packers defense looked shaky at times, but they were able to keep Green Bay within reach for a good portion of the game. On the Charger’s opening drive, L.A. quickly took it all the way down field, but Za’Darius Smith and Tyler Lancaster were there to sack Charger’s quarterback Phillip Rivers and force L.A. to kick a field goal.

Even with star wide receiver Davante Adams back in the lineup, the Packers could not find anything on offense all day Sunday.

They went three and out on their first offensive drive and it was certainly not the last time that happened.

The Chargers marched down the field again on their second offensive possession, but this time it was Preston Smith who forced a sack that led to another field goal for L.A.

Meanwhile, the Packers offensive line was getting burnt. Packers’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers had no time to do anything before Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram III were on top of him.

The Chargers continued to put some pressure on the Packers and hit another field goal before the half to take a 9-0 lead at the break.

The second half was no different. Green Bay’s offense came out and looked sluggish again with another three and out. L.A. responded with a field goal to go up 12-0.

Then, things went from bad to worse for Green Bay after L.A. tipped punter J.K. Scott’s punt late in the third quarter and it flew out of bounce at Green Bay’s 27. The Chargers found the endzone easily, going up 19-0.

The Packers finally got on the board with 46 seconds left in the third quarter off a season-high 54-yard field goal from Mason Crosby to make it 19-3.

However, the Chargers continued marching on, finding the endzone again on their next drive to make it 26-3. The Packers responded with their first (and only) touchdown Sunday the following drive off a 10-yard pass to Jamaal Williams. Green Bay went for two and got it after Rodgers scrambled and dove into the endzone to make it 26-11.

With what was easily the ugliest showing from Green Bay’s offense this season, no progress on special teams and a defense that can only keep the Packers in a game for so long, there was plenty to take away from the Packers’ week nine loss.  

 

What we learned: This team is not perfect

When you are 7-1 and undefeated in the NFC North, it is naïve to think there are not things left to fix. Sunday was that reality check for Green Bay. After winning every single week in October, they started off November with some of their worst football yet.

"This is a good slice of humble pie,” Rodgers said at his post-game press conference. “We were 7-1 and maybe listening to the chatter.”

There is clearly plenty the Packers can and need to do to get better throughout the rest of this season. In my opinion, I am glad they are figuring out what needs to be fixed sooner, rather than later. The Packers have been able to win games without playing their best football and that is a sign of an overall good  team. The Packers MUST clean up the mistakes they made this week against Carolina next Sunday before they can feel complacent heading into the bye week. On paper, Sunday’s game was very winnable for Green Bay, so it is unfortunate they did not show up.  

 

What went right: The defense’s ability to try and keep Green Bay in it

Although the defense struggled at times, their ability to keep Green Bay within reach of L.A. for most of the game was astounding. At times in the first half it felt like Green Bay was losing 21-0, but they were only own 9-0 heading into halftime.

The fact that this Green Bay defense was able to keep the offense in the game for so long after the Packers were just outright getting outplayed is special. It is tough for them to keep that up all game long when the offense is barely on the field, but it is certainly something to be somewhat pleased with on an overall ugly day.

 

What went wrong: Offensive line, special teams and more

Where do I begin? I think some of the Packers did not even get off the plane this week in L.A.

To keep it short and (not) sweet, Green Bay’s offensive line was just a disaster. Both Bakhtiari and Bulaga were getting uncharacteristically tossed around almost all-day Sunday.

Through JUST the FIRST TWO possessions, there was penalties on Bulaga, Jenkins and Bakhtiari and sacks allowed by both Bakhtiari and Turner. Not the best showing from those guys Sunday.

I said it last week and I will say it again: I cannot remember the last time the Packers were not a mess on special teams. Even J.K. Scott, who we all thought was the catalyst in changing this, is starting to struggle. After waiving Darrius Shepard and signing him to their practice squad, there is just no true answer when it comes to a returner in Green Bay either. Even if there was, the coverage is so rough I do not know how much of a difference it would make.

On Sunday the Packers had 45 team rushing yards versus the Chargers 159 and 161 receiving yards versus the Chargers 294 (ESPN stats).

 

Offensive Standouts: thank u, next

via GIPHY

 

Defense Standouts: The Smith Bros

The Smith Bros came to play yet another week. Za’ Darius and Preston Smith proved to be a consistent duo once again, recording a half sack and sack respectively. Z had 8 tackles, 5 of which were for a loss and 2 QB hits on the day, while Preston had 7 tackles, 5 of which were for a loss and 1 QB hit (ESPN stats).

 

Up next, the Green Bay Packers return to Lambeau Field to face off with the Carolina Panthers. Kickoff is set for 4:25 PM EST.

 

Sarah Kelliher is a contributor for CheeseheadTV. She can be found via Twitter @sarahkelliher4

 

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Comments (31)

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

November 03, 2019 at 07:50 pm

Here come the down votes , AJ Hawk called a better defense than Blake Martinez , Martinez is a liability right now, no way they resign him , find a linebacker in free agency and draft another. Not winning with Martinez.

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Bure9620's picture

November 03, 2019 at 08:48 pm

Never thought they should pay him. He's a downhill tackler only

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ThxJackVainisi's picture

November 03, 2019 at 10:19 pm

Agree they shouldn't extend Martinez unless he's cheap. Clark, Bulaga, A Jones, & J Williams are higher priorities.

Hawk "called" a better D? Pretty sure Pettine calls the D.

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Lphill's picture

November 04, 2019 at 05:33 am

What I meant was Hawk put players in position for what scheme was called, thanks

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splitpea1's picture

November 03, 2019 at 08:00 pm

NO! Nothing went right! There are no silver linings here. It was a poor effort across the board, with the emphasis on "effort". And that goes for the coaching staff as well. Sure, the defense limited the Chargers to field goals (four of them) as they were getting chewed up repeatedly, but they forced only one punt and no turnovers. The offense and special teams obviously stunk as well. Terrible!

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jhalwas611.com's picture

November 03, 2019 at 09:02 pm

special teams has been abysmal all year. I think the coach should be worried. Teams have the Packer return issues figured out. Notice the high kicks that have to be returned. Then there's the constant penalty issues.

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Doug Niemczynski's picture

November 03, 2019 at 08:10 pm

Debbie Downers

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BoCallahan's picture

November 03, 2019 at 08:24 pm

Can someone PLEASE explain to me why the Packers devalue the ILB position.

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ThxJackVainisi's picture

November 04, 2019 at 10:40 am

Yes, because they value CB, OLB, DL, and safety more. I expect Gutekunst to "attack" the ILB position next off season.

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rdent's picture

November 04, 2019 at 03:31 pm

Gute really needs to address that position, Ted Thompson did for way too long and it has become obvious that ILB needs a major upgrade, perhaps Pettine will give Burks more reps, at least on passing situations.

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Thebearsstillsuck's picture

November 03, 2019 at 08:32 pm

The number one thing that bothers me is how much Adams negatively affected the offense. All the creativity of the last 4 weeks was gone, and GB spent all game (when they had the ball anyway) trying to force the ball to Adams for a whopping 41 yards. Yay. If he's the kind of guy who needs the stats, then something needs to change. He put up monster stats last year, and won 6 games. He's a dam talented player, his plays will be there, no need to force it to him.

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splitpea1's picture

November 03, 2019 at 08:48 pm

Psychologically you had to expect AR was going to try to do that. The Chargers took A. Jones away. Kumerow had a couple opportunities but he dropped them both. Graham had 17 receiving yards, Allison 21. No help from the running game and the pass protection was not up to par. But the Packers should have definitely tried to go up-tempo once it was evident the standard approach wasn't working.

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ALLGASNOBRAKES's picture

November 04, 2019 at 04:14 am

"But the Packers should have definitely tried to go up-tempo once it was evident the standard approach wasn't working."

That's what I was hoping they'd do, especially with the O-Line struggling the way they were.

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edp1959's picture

November 03, 2019 at 09:05 pm

35 attempts with 11 targets to Adams.

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Bure9620's picture

November 03, 2019 at 08:35 pm

Aaron Rodgers played poorly. I really wonder if he checked out of runs early. He was off, missed many throws. Yes the o-line was dreadful in pass pro, but some of that could have been neutralized by running the ball and getting the ball out faster.

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jhalwas611.com's picture

November 03, 2019 at 08:58 pm

It didn't look like run sets were there. I didn't see many multiple tight end sets that would indicate run until later. Once they had a tight end chip Bosa he was slowed enough to let the tackle get a deeper set.

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Bure9620's picture

November 03, 2019 at 09:06 pm

Which is interesting as SD was missing 2 DL. Maybe test the middle of the run defense?? We did twice but both gain were negated by penalties on the following play

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cpabandit's picture

November 03, 2019 at 08:59 pm

Yes, yes, yes! I have been saying this for many games but too many Packer fans coddle Rodgers. And he rarely takes any of the blame. Do the Packers have to be penalized every game at least once because he takes snaps too late?

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Chad NOTcHad's picture

November 03, 2019 at 08:38 pm

No Takeaways on Defense... Special Teams errors. Recipe for disaster. Get 'em next week. Go Pack...

Epstein didn't kill himself....... #lookintoit

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edp1959's picture

November 03, 2019 at 08:50 pm

Rodgers had 35 attempts and 11 of those were throws to Adams. That leaves 24 targets to others. But all I hear is how he forced everything to Adams. Doesn’t seem that way to me.

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stockholder's picture

November 03, 2019 at 09:08 pm

The packers just didn't come to play. The OL Got burned all night. And Rodgers went right to the deep throws on 3rd and long. His worse game yet this year. He's lucky he wasn't hurt. Pettine needs to kick some butt. #1. On 3rd downs; every team is running right at Lowrey. Why? First, There is No ILB that can play behind him. If Lowrey doesn't push his man into the runner, or hole. This team will never stop the run on 3rd downs. And forget about Martinez as long as his hand is hurt. It's obvious the tackling on the team is drag the guy down. Forget the POP! I can't remember a poorer performance.

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Tundraboy's picture

November 03, 2019 at 09:32 pm

But which play and in what situation. I also recall consecutive passes that were definitely forced. Became predictable and one dimensional in the process.

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murf7777's picture

November 04, 2019 at 06:40 am

You have a short memory. Unfortunately, games like this happen,one team is over confident and the other is very, very hungry. I believe the almighty belechick’s team got an a**whooping as well. We will be alright it’s just one game.

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BamaPackFan's picture

November 03, 2019 at 09:55 pm

I feel for each of the Packer fans that spent a lot of money to see this turd of a game. This was really bad. Every time I go to a packer game from Alabama (1 or two times a year) it costs over $1500.00. It sucks to see a defeat, but it is so much worse when it looks like your team didn't give great effort. Good job fans, you took over that stadium. It's a shame the Packers didn't share your enthusiasm about having a football game to play.

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Pierre's picture

November 03, 2019 at 10:46 pm

Rodgers played a perfect game vs the Raiders two weeks ago (without Adams); then plays one of the most inept games for a veteran NFL QB vs the Chargers (with Adams)! Rodgers lead the offense to only 4 first downs, 50 yards passing, and did not drive his team past midfield until late in the third quarter! That’s just unbelievable after how well he played the last two weeks. He left the Packers defense on the field 75-80% of the first 3 quarters. Couple of third and 7 or 8’s and he just chucks it deep down field incomplete. What an embarrassing, pathetic performance by Rodgers, still holding the ball too long and unable to complete a pass downfield for over 15 yards. That was unwatchable NFL offensive football. Foreshadowing of the playoffs when he plays against good defenses.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

November 04, 2019 at 03:18 am

I wrote that I didn't know what the game plan was, but I'd like to exonerate LaFleur.

Poss 1:
Pass Jones, -1, (Penalty),
2nd & 16, Pass Adams for 8.
3rd & 8: Sack. Punt.

Poss 2:
1st & 10: run Jones for 3
2nd & 7: Pass Jamaal for 6.
3rd & 1: False Start
3rd & 6: Davante pass for 8. First Down
1st and 10: Run Jones for 5
2nd & 5: False Start
2nd & 10: Inc. Adams
3rd & 10: Sack

Poss. 3
1st & 10: Run Jamaal 5 yds
2nd & 5: Run Jamaal 5 yds. First down wiped out by 10 yd block in back (Lazard)
2nd & 10: Delay of game
2nd & 15: Pass to Graham 1 yard
3rd & 14: Pass to Allison for 13. Penalty Unnec. Rough on LAC = 1st down
1st & 10: Run Jones 7 yards
2nd & 3: Run Jones 3 yards First down
1st & 10: Inc Pass to Jones
2nd & 10: Run Jones 3 yards
3rd & 7: Inc. Lazard Punt END of FIRST HALF

So, 18 plays. 7 runs for 28 yards. Reasonably effective running.

11 Passes, mostly in 2nd and 3rd and longs.
Aaron Jones got 2 targets, 1 rec, for -1 yard.
Jamaal 1 target, 1 rec for 6 yards. RBs with 4 targets.
Graham = 1 target, 1 rec for 1 yard.
Allison 1 targets, 1 recs, 13yards.
Lazard 1 target, no recs.
Davante Adams 3 targets, 2 recs, 16 yards.
Rodgers: 2 sacks.
6 of 9 for 35 yards but also 2 sacks for minus 16, so net of 19.
RBs got 7 carries and 3 targets in 18 plays. 10 of 18.
Davante Adams got 3 looks in 18 plays. Not unreasonble for #1 WR.

Probable Game Plan:
A) Run the Ball.
B) Get the RBs lots of touches.
C) Iffy since GB was forced to pass after the first half, but work Adams back into the offense. I do think 3 targets in 11 drop backs is a bit much (but it's a small sample), and definitely think 11 targets in 38 passing attempts (and 11 targets in 49 total plays) is too many to one receiver.

The penalties killed GB. Put them in 2nd and 3rd and long a lot and made GB pass.

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ALLGASNOBRAKES's picture

November 04, 2019 at 05:20 am

I thought Phillips Rivers made an interesting comment after the game and as a Packers fan, it was one I found to make me feel like I was watching a Dom Capers defense, not a Mike Pettine defense.

Rivers said, "The Packers defense gave them the same look down after down".

Well, I have news for you Phillip Rivers...It LOOKED like Pettine was giving you the same look the entire game. A very INEFFECTIVE look I might add. I kept waiting for the adjustment but it never seemed to change. It's almost like Pettine could care less about a team gaining HUGE chunks of yardage between the 20's as long as his defense keeps them out of the end zone. Gute spent a shit load of money on that side of the ball...CLEAN IT UP!

BTW... What in the hell has happened to Kenny Clark???

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

November 04, 2019 at 10:34 am

Clark is getting double-teamed out of being a factor.

The scheme didn't seem to change much. Pettine did try to change up the personnel.
Dumped Tony Brown for Kevin King.
Dumped Redmond for Goodson and Burks.
Gave Keke his most snaps this season with 13.
Lowry had no tackles, no stats at all.

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Since'61's picture

November 04, 2019 at 10:54 am

Played on the road against an uncommon opponent who was desperate and playing for their season.
Plus over the last several seasons the Chargers have been a team of streaks. They are one of those teams where it does matter when you play them. When they are cold they are a bad team. When they are hot they become a very good team. They are a Jekyll and Hyde type of team. I would not be surprised if they go on a hot streak and win their next 4 or 5 games.

As for the Packers for whatever reasons they were just not ready to play yesterday. Over confident, over due for their bye week, jet lag, whatever, they weren't ready and it showed from the beginning. The Chargers first drive lasted over 8 minutes even though they only managed an FG. The Packers, as TGR excellently pointed out in his post above, beat themselves on offense with bad penalties that put them 2nd and long and 3rd and long for much of the game.

The Packers lost at the LOS on both sides of the ball. The defense, although stout in the Red Zone, tackled badly if at all, throughout the game which enabled the Chargers to get down to the Red Zone while simultaneously chewing up the clock. I'm not sure why Pettine did not make defensive adjustments but my guess is that he did not know what to expect from the Chargers new OC.

The offense had no rhythm which was due to the OL being totally dominated by the Chargers front 7. I think this is the first time that I have seen both Bak and Bulaga get beaten really badly. Rodgers throwing on 3rd and long, why? He saw one on one coverage and he was trying to let his receivers make a play. If Lazard adjusts correctly on the long pass to him he has a TD which puts the Packers back in the game quickly. Many hear complain that Rodgers should let his receivers make plays. Then when those plays don't work the same posters complain that he shouldn't be throwing deep when he has one on one coverage. Then there is the complaint that he misses open receivers underneath. Again TGR documented above that when Rodgers threw short the plays resulted in very short or negative yardage, not to mention penalties that negated the play.

Rodgers and the offense had a bad game, no question but it starts upfront with the OL. They got beat badly and the offense went down with the OL. The reality is this team needs another one or two skill players beyond A. Jones and Davante Adams. MVS, Allison, and Graham were ineffective yesterday, but then again so was the rest of the team except for Mason Crosby. Thanks, Since '61

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alforno54's picture

November 04, 2019 at 02:31 pm

Way to many things went wrong to really highlight specifics.On the bright side, because they didn't use any celebrations, it won't be necessary to practice any new ones this week. That time can be spent on figuring out how to cover Tight Ends. Cant say tackling since it is not allowed. Also spend some time teaching how to remember snap count.

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alforno54's picture

November 04, 2019 at 02:33 pm

Way to many things went wrong to really highlight specifics.On the bright side, because they didn't use any celebrations, it won't be necessary to practice any new ones this week. That time can be spent on figuring out how to cover Tight Ends. Cant say tackling since it is not allowed. Also spend some time teaching how to remember snap count.

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