Aaron Rodgers, Packers look to regroup following 'a good kick in the you-know-where' in loss to Saints
No matter how you paint it, the result is the same: In their 38-3 loss to the Saints, the Packers looked far from the team that has reached the NFC Championship Game in each of the last two seasons. Green Bay turned the ball over three times, was outgained 322-229, and finished just 1-for-10 on third down. Aaron Rodgers had one of the worst outings of his career, finishing with a paltry 133 passing yards, two interceptions and a 36.8 passer rating.
The rating was his lowest since Week 15 of 2014, while his passing yards total was his worst since Week 8 of 2015, per NFL Research. His 53.5 completion percentage was his lowest since Week 15 of 2014. And to cap it all off, Rodgers has never lost a game by this wide of a margin: 35 points.
"This is a good kick in the you-know-where to hopefully get us going in the right direction," Rodgers said.
New Orleans, meanwhile, enjoyed great offensive success, as new starter Jameis Winston threw for five touchdown passes, and Alvin Kamara posted a per-carry average over four yards. The Saints converted half of their third-down attempts and only punted twice all afternoon.
"I don't even know how many stops we had on their offense the entire day," Packers coach Matt LaFleur said. "It was just an all-around poor performance. That starts with myself. Obviously didn't get these guys ready to play."
Green Bay's no-show in Week 1 might rattle folks who see the Packers as a legitimate NFC contender. But it might just be a case of the Saints preparing and playing better -- much better -- than their opponent.
"They beat us. They played way better than us," Rodgers said. "We played bad. I played bad. Uncharacteristic of how we've practiced in training camp, obviously how I've played over the years. This is hopefully an outlier moving forward. We'll find out next week."
Consider: Last season, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers suffered an embarrassing loss to the Saints on Sunday Night Football by the exact same final score of 38-3. They went on to win the Super Bowl.
For now, though, the Packers have only this result. It will sting, but they'll follow the 24-hour rule before moving on to get ready to face their Week 2 opponent, the 0-1 Detroit Lions. All but one NFC North team lost Sunday, with the Bears' result still pending on Sunday night. It's not as if the Packers just dug themselves a massive hole.
It'll be far from a Victory Monday for the Packers, who might see Sunday's blowout loss as a positive in hindsight a few months from now. That can only become a reality if they apply the lessons learned. One thing is essentially guaranteed: LaFleur will make a stronger effort to properly prepare his team.