The good, the bad and the ugly of Green Bay Packers’ embarrassing loss to New Orleans Saints

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An offense that was not ready for prime time.

A totally outdated defense.

And a team of coaches completely dominated by their counterparts.

The Green Bay Packers arguably had their worst performance of the Matt LaFleur era on Sunday and were routed by the New Orleans Saints, 38-3. The last time the Packers lost a 35-point or better game was on November 19, 2006, when New England defeated Green Bay, 35-0, in Mike McCarthy’s first season.

“I have to give the Saints all the credit in the world,” said Packers coach Matt LaFleur. “They came ready to play. Absolutely embarrassed us today. You can’t do that against a well-trained, quality football team. Our guys are going to have to look at each other for a long time in the mirror. It starts with me. I obviously didn’t prepare these guys to play ball and that’s what happens when you go out there and play like that against a good soccer team.

Here is the good, the bad and the ugly of losing Green Bay. For obvious reasons, we’ll start with the ugly.

THE UGLY ONE

AARON RODGERS: The Green Bay quarterback has had an eventful offseason in which he said he would never play for the Packers again. Rodgers eventually returned, but he looked nothing like the 2020 MVP against the Saints.

Rodgers, who did not play a snap in the preseason, was excruciating in his first act of 2021. Rodgers ended the day with a terrible passer rating of 36.8, the third lowest in his career. career in a match he started. Rodgers was 15 of 28 for 133 yards, two interceptions and no touchdowns.

The Packers also didn’t convert a third with Rodgers in the game. A year ago, the Packers led the league with the third downconverting percentage.

“We probably felt like we were going to go up and down the field that they had there with and that obviously wasn’t the case today,” Rodgers said. “I give (Saints Defensive Coordinator) Dennis Allen a lot of credit. “I think I always thought he was a very good defensive mind. They had a good plan.

They certainly did, and New Orleans forced Rodgers to play just their second multi-steal game since the start of the 2018 season.

Green Bay trailed 17-3 early in the third quarter and faced a second and 7 at the Saints 9-yard line. With a touchdown, the Packers could have returned to the game.

New Orleans rushed five, Rodgers stepped up into the pocket and pitched left for Davante Adams who was performing a crossover pattern. Rodgers’ pass, however, was well behind Adams and intercepted by rookie Paulson Adebo.

The Green Bay defense managed to hold on. In the Packers’ next series, however, Rodgers took a deep blow for Marquez Valdes-Scantling. But Rodgers’ pass was badly reversed and intercepted by safety Marcus Williams.

The Saints scored three games later and found the end zone on three consecutive possessions in total.

As the game wore off, Rodgers finally took a seat and was replaced by 2020 first-round pick Jordan Love.

“We played badly. I played badly, ”said Rodgers. “Offensively, we didn’t perform very well. A part. We have 16 left.

JOE BARRY’S DEFENSE: Green Bay placed ninth in total defense a year ago. It was the first time the Packers have made the top 10 in total defense since winning the Super Bowl in 2010.

The Packers were also seventh in passing defense and 10e in bags.

Mike Pettine, the man who coordinated that defense, was shown the door last offseason. Pettine was replaced by Joe Barry, who had failed in his previous stints as defensive coordinator in Detroit and Washington.

If first impressions are the most telling, it could be a long season for the Green Bay defense.

Saints quarterback Jameis Winston was extremely efficient, throwing five touchdowns and completing 70.0% of his passes. New Orleans also ran for 172 yards and went 7 for 12 on the third and fourth down conversions.

“There are a lot of things that have gone wrong,” said Packers safety back Adrian Amos. “There are a lot of things that have gone wrong, a lot of things we can fix and a lot of things that are easy to fix. Obviously I’m upset that we lost the game but it’s nothing that I don’t bow my head or something like that. It’s just something we have to work on, we have to get down to work and be better.

HISTORICALLY HORRIBLE: It was the first time the Packers had lost a season opener since 2014. It also marked Green Bay’s biggest loss under LaFleur and the Packers’ biggest loss in a game started by Rodgers.

“It kind of took me by surprise,” Packers running back Aaron Jones said. “I’m not used to losing like that. I know all of the guys and myself included, around the locker room, we had a great feeling walking into this one.

“In the NFL, every team has one game like this a year, so I think it’s best to get it out early. It’s a long year, 16 more games. Better get it out now.

THE BAD

POSSESSION TIME: The Saints controlled the ball, the clock and the game.

New Orleans held the ball for a remarkable 21 minutes and 51 seconds in the first half and took a 17-3 lead at the break. The Saints had a 208-70 total yard advantage in the first half and scored on their three possessions.

New Orleans’ formidable offensive line dominated Green Bay’s defensive front and seemingly exhausted the Packers in the Jacksonville heat.

The Saints finished the game with the ball 34:36.

“It’s our fault we don’t go,” Packers safety half Adrian Amos said. “We won ourselves by not starting on the third down, and a lot of that was because we weren’t doing well enough in the first and second downs to leave the field.

“When you have hot games like this, wet, wet out there, it’s the first game of the season, those aggravating factors where we don’t make it out at third base, getting three and-outs , getting take out, things like that, we make it harder for ourselves.

THIS AND THAT: New Orleans edged Green Bay, 171-43, on ground. The Saints averaged 4.38 yards per carry. … Green Bay’s Kylin Hill averaged just 14.5 yards per punt return. … Jordan Love was sacked and fumbled with the Packers in the red zone late in the game. … Deonte Harris passed cornerback Kevin King for a 55-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter. In many ways, it resembled the touchdown Tampa Bay’s Scotty Miller scored against King just before halftime in the 2020 NFC Championship game.

GOOD

Green Bay punter Corey Bojorquez averaged 44.0 yards per punt with a 40.8 goal. Bojorquez also landed a punt inside the 20-yard line.

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