As straightforward as it gets for Packers: 'We gotta win'

Last two losses have lingered too long


GREEN BAY – If the Packers' two-game losing streak has felt exceedingly long, that's because it has been.

It started on a Thursday, so the loss to the Lions hung around a few extra days before the Packers got to play again, 11 nights later on a Monday. Then the loss to the Raiders preceded the bye week.

So by the time the Packers and Broncos kick off on Sunday afternoon in Denver, it'll be 28 days since Green Bay chalked up a victory. That's a long time for two losses to linger.

"I mean, we haven't won in a month," cornerback Rasul Douglas said, rather matter of factly but with plenty of disdain in his voice. "We ain't won since the 24th or something like that of September? What's today? It's the 20th? That's a month. You know what I mean?

"So we haven't felt victory in a while and I'm tired of coming in here and everybody sad and just looking, you know what I'm saying, down. Just gotta do whatever it takes to win and when we get those opportunities to win, we gotta win."

Facing a struggling Broncos team certainly qualifies as such an opportunity, but the message this week has not focused on the one win on Denver's record.

"We're a two-win team," Head Coach Matt LaFleur said. "It is what it is. We know we have to play better.

"I'm not worried as much about them. I'm worried more about us. We need more consistent play in every facet."

At 2-3, the Packers also need to avoid falling in too big a hole in the still-early stages of the season. That's been a hallmark of the mostly successful tenures of the last two coaches.

Not since Mike McCarthy's first season in 2006 have the Packers fallen two games below .500 at any point through just six games. The last two times Green Bay was 2-3, in 2008 and 2012, it won to get back to .500.

It would be an important step for this year's squad, particularly after a week off to regroup and reset after two defeats everyone's had too long to think about.

"Getting back in that win column, getting that morale boost of coming back, getting a win, starting off right after the bye week, would be huge," running back AJ Dillon said.

Fellow running back Aaron Jones, who is hoping to return to action from a hamstring injury after missing three of the last four games, emphasized how much a change in the vibe at times like these can carry forward.

"You gotta get one to start stacking them," he said. "This is the next game and the next one is the most important one. So we've got to attack that and know hey, all it takes is one, to get on that roll and get that sense of confidence. One win, and I think that'll do a lot for us."

To say the least, the no-minced-words Douglas would concur.

"We gotta win," he said. "As much as anybody wanna say anything else about 1-0 or whatever, bruh, we gotta win. It's really just that simple for us.

"We just have to win."

Another familiar face: Russell Wilson will be the third opposing QB already this season to face the Packers with a new team, having already squared off against Green Bay with another team in the LaFleur era.

Under LaFleur, the Packers faced the Wilson-led Seahawks in 2021 and now get him with the Broncos. Earlier this season, the Packers saw Derek Carr with the Saints (also 2019 Raiders) and then Jimmy Garoppolo with the Raiders (also '19, '21 49ers).

In LaFleur's five seasons to date, that brings the total to seven opposing QBs who have faced the Packers with two different teams. The others are Philip Rivers (Chargers/Colts), Matthew Stafford (Lions/Rams), Jared Goff (Rams/Lions) and Baker Mayfield (Browns/Rams).

Unkind place: The city of Denver has not been friendly to the Packers. In franchise history, the Packers are just 1-7 in the regular season against the Broncos on the road.

Green Bay's lone win, after five straight losses, was a 19-13 overtime thriller on Monday Night Football on Oct. 29, 2007, when Brett Favre hit Greg Jennings for an 82-yard TD pass on the first snap of OT. The 19 points actually marks the most the Packers have ever scored in a game at Denver.

The only other time the Packers truly came close to a win was also on Monday Night Football in October, but in 1984. In a steady snowstorm that made for great television, the Packers fell behind 14-0 less than a minute into the game when the Broncos returned fumbles for touchdowns on the first two plays from scrimmage.

The deficit was 17-0 at halftime before the Packers rallied for two touchdowns, the second on a 54-yard TD pass from Lynn Dickey to James Lofton midway through the fourth quarter. Lofton finished with 11 catches for 206 yards, the most yards by a Packers receiver in one game in 28 years.

Green Bay got one more crack at the tying or go-ahead score, but after driving to the Denver 19-yard line with just over three minutes left, Dickey was sacked and lost a fumble.

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