Packers 'can't allow one loss to become two'

Unhappy team must refocus quickly

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Head Coach Matt LaFleur

GREEN BAY – It was not a happy Monday at 1265 Lombardi Ave.

A little more than 12 hours after their return from getting handed their first loss of the season in convincing fashion, 38-10 at Tampa Bay, the Packers were predictably still in a sour mood.

"I mean, we're (ticked) off, like we just got hit in the (bleeping) mouth, to be honest with you," right tackle Billy Turner said. "It is what it is, man. You know what, it's football.

"You're not always going to go out there and win every game, but how you respond to that loss says everything about your football team."

The consensus seems to be the drubbing might not have been the worst thing in the world after a smooth-sailing 4-0 start. It will have been worth it if the Packers make it count for more in the long run.

Both Head Coach Matt LaFleur and defensive tackle Kenny Clark noted going "back to the drawing board" and being "critical" in the evaluation of everyone's preparation and play. Turner added, "I think adversity breeds success."

Apparently, the team's practices coming out of the bye week were sloppy, littered with poor execution. That showed up in their physical play.

Mentally, there was a shell-shockedness after back-to-back interceptions gave the Buccaneers 14 points and wiped out an early 10-0 lead. The team's psyche never recovered.

The combination manifested itself in the most penalty yards in a game this season (76), five three-and-outs (aside from the two third-down picks) after having just one three-and-out through four games, and a defensive performance that had nary a sack nor turnover.

Hitting LaFleur's oft-mentioned reset button starts with the glance in the proverbial mirror as the players head into their Tuesday off day and the coaches start game-planning for this week's road trip to Houston.

"Just take a deep look into yourself and be honest with yourself about the tape," Clark said. "It wasn't good enough, and it wasn't us.

"Once we realize that, and we understand that, it starts Wednesday in how we prepare and how we practice."

The Packers take a 4-1 record into the matchup with the 1-5 Texans, but LaFleur is already spreading caution about buying too much into those numbers.

Four of Houston's five losses are to the Chiefs, Steelers, Ravens and Titans, who have combined to lose just two games all season (the quartet has a cumulative 19-2 record, pending Kansas City's Monday result).

The loss three weeks ago to unbeaten Pittsburgh was by one score. Then on Sunday against undefeated Tennessee, the Texans rallied from 14 points down late in the second quarter to have a seven-point lead in the final two minutes of the fourth, only to give up the tying touchdown in the waning seconds and lose in overtime.

The Packers brought far from their A game to Tampa, but LaFleur will be stressing that thinking they can stray from their A game a second straight week in Houston and still survive would be a mistake.

"I think anytime you get punched in the mouth like that and really beaten handily … the big thing (is) we cannot allow this loss to lead into a bad performance versus a really talented Houston Texan team," he said. "You just can't allow one loss to become two.

"This game's over with. We can't allow this game and just the bad energy that came from this game to seep into next week's performance."

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