2021 Week 1 - That's What Cheese Said

Hear from players and coaches following the Week 1 loss to the New Orleans Saints. 

The Jacksonville weather may not have brought the heat Week 1, but the New Orleans Saints sure did. 

“It’s very humiliating and humbling at the same time,” Head Coach Matt LaFleur said of his team’s 38-3 loss on Sunday afternoon. 

On paper, the Packers should have had an easy path to victory, but that’s life in the NFL. If you ask the players, though, this 35-point loss is simply a slight hiccup in a 17-game season. 

“We played bad. I played bad. Offensively, we didn’t execute very well,” said quarterback Aaron Rodgers. He called the team’s play uncharacteristic and said he hoped it’s an outlier moving forward. 

Rodgers had 15 completions on 28 attempts for 133 yards with two interceptions and no touchdowns, giving him a quarterback rating of 36.8 on the day. 

The loss was the largest margin of Rodgers’ career, and the lowest scoring game of the LaFleur era. 

“Sometimes you just get hit in the mouth,” said kicker Mason Crosby, who scored the team’s only points on the day. 

So what went wrong on Sunday? Was this a Packers team that came into the season a little too confident? 

“We probably felt like we were gonna go up and down the field on whoever they had out there, and that obviously wasn’t the case today,” said Rodgers. 

“We’re coming off a couple NFC Championship Games and obviously feeling good about the unit that we have on offense. That’s what we talk about a lot,” he added. “So this is a good kick in the you know where, hopefully get us going in the right direction going back home and playing a division opponent next week.” 

The Packers also abandoned the run game early, finishing with only 43 yards on the ground as opposed to the Saints’ 171. 

“We just didn’t have that many snaps in the first half,” Aaron Jones said, talking about how teams don’t run the ball much in two-minute mode when they’re down multiple scores.  

The ground game looked like it had potential in spurts, but with the Packers only holding the ball for eight minutes in the first half, they got behind early and had to turn to the air. Still, second-year running back AJ Dillon looked good in his four attempts, averaging 4.8 yards per carry. 

Defensively, the Saints brought a different look than the Packers saw last year at the Superdome, playing a lot of two-man coverages. 

“When you have teams that are gonna do that to you, you better be able to run the football,” LaFleur said. “And we didn’t even really attempt to run it that much, which is my fault, ultimately, as the play caller.”

For the Packers defense, new coordinator Joe Barry’s unit left much to be desired, allowing the Saints to go 5-for-10 on third downs and 2-for-2 on fourth downs. 

“Anytime we can’t get off the field on third down or we’re letting a quarterback scramble for first downs and all that kind of stuff...any defense is going to get tired,” said defensive captain Kenny Clark. 

Fellow captain Adrian Amos agreed, saying the team allowed the Saints to pick up too many yards on first and second down, leading to a number of third-and-short situations. 

“One game is not going to change my opinion on the play caller or our defense or anything like that,” said Amos, adding that there’s a lot of easy things to correct on tape. “I still have the utmost confidence in our defense.” 

The key for the team moving forward now is to not let this game bleed over into the rest of the season.

“We can’t allow this loss to affect next week,” said LaFleur, who told his team “we’ll find out what we’re all about” after the game. 

“The positive is, it’s a long season in the National Football League, 17-game season,” finished LaFleur. “Whether you lose the game 38-3 or 38-37, it’s all the same and you’ve gotta bounce back.”

“In the NFL, each team has a game like this a year,” added Aaron Jones, saying it’s best to get it out early. “This is one loss. It’s all about how you respond from it and how you respond to adversity.”

Amos, who led the defense in tackles with nine, had a fitting quote to end on. “We can’t let one game beat us twice.”

So far in the LaFleur era, the Packers have not lost back-to-back games. Green Bay will have an opportunity to bounce back at home on Monday Night Football against the division rival Detroit Lions.

 

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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.

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Comments (15)

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nostradanus's picture

September 14, 2021 at 12:23 pm

🤨 Sounds to me like a bunch of cliches and empty talk.
Bottom line:
👉 The Rodgers drama was draining for the organization, the coaches, the players and the fans alike!
👉 I still don’t believe Rodgers is “all in” after the way he trashed packers management and basically called Green Bay a hick town and that players only came there to play with him, what a total asshole!
👉 I hated the Joe Barry hire and I’m sure the players do too, they just won’t speak it…yet!
👉This season could very quickly turn into a major dumpster fire 🔥
👉This was a highly embarrassing start for a team that blew a chance at the Super Bowl and this is the most adversity MLF has faced, we will find out soon if he can handle the heat 🔥

ND

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PeteK's picture

September 14, 2021 at 01:40 pm

Thankfully, you're not a player on this team. Come on, it's the first game. Also, why keep the off season drama going, when it had nothing to do with this game.

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mbpacker's picture

September 14, 2021 at 01:09 pm

Thanks Maggie-
There are a lot of ways to go with this so I tend to take the fork in the road that is more positive and hopeful.
Yep, perhaps there is a bug that infiltrated the ranks, but I will place my trust that these are professionals and I am sure do not like to loose, especially loose badly. Rodgers, despite the summer's soap opera does not want to tarnish his legacy and go out a looser, if this is in fact his last year in GB. We've seen this movie before extending back to the McCarthy years and have rebounded just when it was easy to count them out. Remember the "run the table" comment Aaron made? Yeah, this sucks and not a great way to start the season. I just can't take the negativity fork in the road....... yet. GPG!

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Archie's picture

September 14, 2021 at 04:28 pm

loose as a goose or lose as a goose?

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ImaPayne's picture

September 14, 2021 at 01:43 pm

I agree with Bradshaw when they were discussing Rodgers and the Packers on Sunday. He was vocal and disagreed with others by saying, Rodgers job and only job is to run an offense and make plays. This wanting a buy in to management and being able to help make team decisions is not his job. Playing football is his only job.
I agree with that. Ya what QB wouldnt want to be surrounded with the best O line, have a defense that gets off the field in three plays and a special teams that is special. Ice water would be excellant in hell too.
Play the dam game and compete and stop worrying about things you have no control over and should not have control over. Dont like it quit!
Mr Smart Pants has indirectly spoiled his being wanted by other GM.s too by all this griping. He may very well be out of football next year.

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Charvid's picture

September 14, 2021 at 01:44 pm

Maggie—

Thanks for the good work you do here week in and week out…

Beyond frustrating, this D is.

There was a total lack of situational awareness on defense. Why, on the first TD, on a goal to go situation, is Dean Lowery (or ANY DL, playing a yard deep in the end zone? On the 2nd TD (a pass), why is Amos going for the tackle in the End Zone? That pass has to be contested BEFORE the catch.

This was a really ugly D performance today. Some really basic stuff missing…like any sort of football IQ.

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Leatherhead's picture

September 14, 2021 at 02:11 pm

We score 3 points and complain about the defense. Classic.

This team is built to win with offense. When the offense doesn’t stay on the field and score points, thisdefense is on the field too much. Average, last year, was 24.8 ppg. Add turnovers and too much time on the field and you’re looking at 35+

If this happens again next week, at home, against the Lions…….then we have a problem.

Rodgers, and the Packers, will do better than 3 points. This is one game. You’re never as good, or as bad, as you look.

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jannes bjornson's picture

September 14, 2021 at 10:33 pm

His observations were relevant and pertinent. The few 2nd half clips I watched of this shit-show away from a tennis championship was Amos not playing the ball and breaking up the pass. He was there, do his job. The defense is rudderless and again, non-aggressive. Three one picks in the secondary and newbie has them in a soft zone.

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PeteK's picture

September 14, 2021 at 01:50 pm

Historically, the first weekend of the season is always filled with illogical upsets. This could be the best thing to happen to a team that was probably over confident, as I was. Kudos to the posters that predicted a poor game because of little preseason preparation. Now after eating a large piece of humble pie, we're ready to start the season.

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canadapacker's picture

September 14, 2021 at 02:11 pm

Is it just me or does it always seem to happen when AR is all hyped by the press - first game last year versus Tampa - Brady versus AR - and AR throws 2 picks ( albeit deflected ball on one) And this game all about how good AR was going to be because of the offseason. Oh well still in first place - or maybe we are in last place - who knows for sure. What is the status of Degura - is he really hurt or just a boo boo.

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stockholder's picture

September 14, 2021 at 02:18 pm

I still like the odds of the packers making the playoffs. As long as Rodgers is the QB.

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Lphill's picture

September 14, 2021 at 04:48 pm

The Lions put up a lot of points against a better defense , expect Jamal Williams to run all over the Packers , 0 and 2

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Leatherhead's picture

September 14, 2021 at 05:30 pm

Yes, fear the 🦁Lions. Sheesh. SMH.

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joejetson's picture

September 14, 2021 at 09:37 pm

They're lucky they follow up that debacle with the Lions. Week 3 vs San Fran could be another 38-3. The way they laid down to NO gives me a.bad feeling.

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LayingTheLawe's picture

September 14, 2021 at 09:42 pm

Send in Dennis Kelly and push Elgton back inside to try and shore it up or does the line stay put after ... that?

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