The Green Bay Packers’ horrendous performance Sunday is one to look back on in January.
Coach Matt LaFleur’s streaking offense faced a real NFL defense for the first time this season Sunday and fell apart after a couple of things went wrong.
And after an impressive first quarter, the Packers as a whole weren’t even competitive in a 38-10 blowout loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
In the matter of a couple hours Sunday, the Packers went from a great-looking unbeaten team to a club that looked overrated while being embarrassed by the first team with a winning record on its schedule. The question is whether this will be a humiliating but necessary reminder that you can’t ride too high in this league or a game that exposed flaws that the best teams will exploit down the road.
“You don’t ever want to lose like this,” quarterback Aaron Rodgers said after the game. “But I felt like we needed a little bit of a wake-up call at some point this season because things have been so good and there’s been so much talk, maybe outside the building, about the ease with which we’re moving the ball on offense and scoring.
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“I think we needed kind of a kick in the ass a little bit. There’s a little bit of wake-up to stop feeling ourselves so much and get back to the things that got us to this position. I think this would be, unfortunately, but fortunately, something we can really grow from.”
It certainly was stunning to watch a Packers offense that had been dominant in the first four weeks of the season almost completely shut down against a Bucs defense that came into the game ranked No. 1 against the run. But for all the points these Packers have put up this season by grinding out drive after drive in LaFleur’s creative zone scheme, they’re not what you’d call an explosive offense, like the Kansas City Chiefs are now or the Mike McCarthy Packers were in 2011.