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Aaron Rodgers: 'I think we needed a little kick in the …'

Performance matched the preparation in Packers’ humbling loss

Packers QB Aaron Rodgers
Packers QB Aaron Rodgers

Aaron Rodgers didn't like what he saw on the practice field this past week with the Packers coming off their bye.

Neither did Matt LaFleur.

There isn't always a direct correlation with the game performance, but in this case there was.

"I think we needed a kick in the ass a little bit," Rodgers said after a 38-10 loss to the Buccaneers Sunday at Raymond James Stadium.

"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."

That's the task moving forward, because rather than remain one of only two unbeaten teams in the NFC, the Packers now find themselves one of five clubs in the conference with four or more wins. Four other NFC teams have three wins.

It's going to be congested all season long, and the Packers can't let a bad performance like this one beat them twice. Next week's opponent, Houston, rallied from 14 points down against unbeaten Tennessee to take a couple of late leads, only to lose in overtime.

In the NFL every game presents a significant challenge to overcome, and with the Buccaneers it was their fast, high-pressure defense, led by the inside linebacker duo of Lavonte David and Devin White.

Their speed made running the ball a lost cause, with the exception of two explosive runs, and they were a problem to block anytime they blitzed.

LaFleur blamed himself for not having any "answers" in the game plan, but the Packers also were simply whipped by two elite defenders.

"Those guys are so fast," Rodgers said. "They're so good sideline to sideline. We just had a hard time getting on them.

"We're going to have to learn, because there's going to be other fast linebackers. Chicago has another fast tandem as well. There's a lot to be learned from this game."

This was not the team that had stormed out of the gates in 2020 with four straight wins. In those four games, the Packers had no turnovers and three sacks. Rodgers had two picks and four sacks in this game alone.

It was downright forgettable, but walking the fine line between tossing the film in the trash and getting something from the frustration will be important.

"I don't think you want to totally flush something like this," Rodgers said. "You have to be as critical during the wins as you are during the stinkers like tonight. It's important for us to realize the whys."

The Green Bay Packers faced the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a Week 6 matchup on Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020.

For Rodgers and LaFleur, the glaring why was the poor week of practice. If the bye week killed the team's momentum, that's no excuse.

Good or bad practices aren't the be-all end-all, but they can be.

"That's what happened today," LaFleur said. "You practice like crap, you go out play like crap."

Which is why the Packers don't view this game as indicative of where their season is now headed.

They played a good team that was coming off a bad loss. They didn't prepare well. They didn't perform well.

If it does serve as a wake-up call in a crowded NFC field, it could be worth more wins down the road.

"I feel good about the team," Rodgers said. "Might need to add an extra finger to the scotch, but I do feel good about the team. I've played so long, you're going to have a couple stinkers.

"We had four really, really good weeks of being efficient, coming up with timely stops. This I believe is an anomaly, not the beginning of a trend, and we have a chance to prove me right next week."

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