Complete game remains elusive for Packers

Green Bay still searching for answers to wild inconsistency in its play

QB Aaron Rodgers

LONDON – The Packers are tired of talking about it, but nobody is sure what it'll take to change it.

The team's pattern of up-and-down, disjointed play continued in Sunday's 27-22 loss to the Giants at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium – moments of greatness followed by frustrating, and at times baffling, letdowns.

It's happening on both sides of the ball, where it feels the only consistency is inconsistency for Green Bay. It's also hard to know just how to feel about this team after five games.

"I'd feel better at 4-1 for sure," quarterback Aaron Rodgers said after the Packers' three-game winning streak was snapped and they left London at 3-2. "We've got to handle adversity a little bit better.

"We've been a rollercoaster teams at times, and the best teams we've had have been more steady. We have to find that rhythm and that steadiness … We've got to go back and refocus. I wish I had the perfect explanation, but we haven't played consistent football in all three phases.

"The margin for winning is small."

That it is, and while the Packers were able to make the plays needed the past two weeks – stopping Tampa Bay's late two-point conversion to bail out a terrible offensive second half and poor defensive two-minute drive, and clicking back into gear on both sides of the ball to escape the New England game with an overtime triumph – the wild swings in their quality of play caught up to them across the Atlantic.

Nobody said the extensive travel and unusual schedule factored into how the team performed, and both teams had to deal with that anyway.

The defense's inability to turn the tide was probably the most troubling, as the Giants scored on five straight possessions (two field goals, three TDs) after two early three-and-outs. The back-to-back scoring drives (10 points) to start the second half were particularly galling, as New York ran 26 plays, gained 142 yards, and chewed up 15 minutes, 10 seconds on the clock.

Rodgers was more concerned about the offense, though, because naturally that's where he has a say, and that unit's second half was equally annoying.

"Offensively we haven't put two halves together," he said. "A lot of factors go into that, calls and execution, … momentum, … defensive stops, … adjustments … a lot of execution.

"Games like this where our defense is not going to be up to our normal standards, we have to pick them up, and we had chances. Lots of chances."

The last four games since the season-opening loss to Minnesota have taken on this type of character in some form. If the Packers knew why it kept happening, they'd fix it.

Explanation-wise, LaFleur was at a loss at the podium afterward, and Rodgers couldn't provide specifics either. The NFL is like this, and every team has stretches like this.

But after a full month of it now, and having it cost the team a game it was in terrific position to win, the level of concern rises. It's not so much the "early season" anymore, either.

See scenes from the Sunday afternoon matchup between the Green Bay Packers and New York Giants at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London on Oct. 9, 2022.

Rodgers was very candid afterward in admitting he's not sure exactly how close the Packers are to putting together the ever-elusive complete game.

"I don't know, that's a tough question," he said. "The cliché answer would be really close, but the actual answer is unknown honestly. There's a standard that we've played at for a long time, and just because the faces change doesn't mean the standard changes. It's a hard concept to grasp at times, but we hold ourselves to a really high standard. I hold myself to a high standard, and we're just not quite there yet.

"We're five weeks in, there's a lotta football left. We can't squander many more games like this, though, because the NFC is going to be really tough."

Now the Packers suddenly have an even bigger challenge on their hands than the Giants and a London trip, needing a quick turnaround mentally and physically from the long journey and frustrating defeat to get ready for a noon game next Sunday at home vs. the Jets.

The NFL is unforgiving, no matter how well or poorly you're playing. Or both, in the Packers' case.

"Like I told our team, it's disappointing," LaFleur said, "but we can't let one loss compound into another."


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