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Rapid reaction: Packers forced to respond once again

Green Bay returns to recovery mode, needs to get back on track

Green Bay Packers Head Coach Matt LaFleur and QB Jordan Love
Green Bay Packers Head Coach Matt LaFleur and QB Jordan Love

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Well, the Packers have been here before.

They've had their share of rough games in 2023 and rebounded. Their most recent recovery had produced three straight wins, two over first-place teams, to get back to .500.

But after not handling success all that well, they're back to handling adversity again with their playoff lives at stake over the season's last four games.

"It's the same thing we've talked about all season," quarterback Jordan Love said after a very disheartening 24-22 defeat to the Giants at MetLife Stadium.

"How do we bounce back? How do we respond? Showing up to work next week with a clean slate, ready to go, get ready for Tampa Bay."

It'll be on a short week, to boot, with less recovery and preparation time before the Buccaneers, one of five teams in the NFC in addition to the Packers sitting at 6-7 and trying to squeeze into the playoffs, visit Lambeau Field.

While the coaches hustle to put together a game plan Tuesday and the players get that one chance to catch their breath, all the focus will be forward.

Check out photos from the Week 14 matchup between the Green Bay Packers and New York Giants at MetLife Stadium on Monday, Dec. 11, 2023.

But if the Packers don't learn something from this – namely, that just because you're playing well doesn't automatically mean it'll continue – that would be the ultimate waste.

"I think our team learned a valuable lesson in terms (of), you don't play your best, it doesn't matter who you're playing, where you're playing 'em, when you're playing, you're not going to win the game," LaFleur said.

It's too bad they had to learn it when they had such a massive opportunity in front of them, which was to become one of two teams in the NFC wild-card hunt, along with the Vikings, to get to 7-6.

Heck, with the Lions losing for the second time in three weeks, the NFC North would've been within reach with a win over a Giants team that started 2-8 before playing better ball of late.

LaFleur noted he didn't see the letdown coming, and he'd be the first to admit if the week of preparation lacked focus.

"No, not at all," he said. "That's why it's disappointing. Ultimately you've got to do it on game day."

But the days ahead won't be about rehashing this play that went wrong or that moment that got away. The overall execution, in all three phases, was sloppy and full of miscues the Packers had reduced in recent weeks.

It's a frustrating reminder nothing's ever really fixed or shored up beyond one performance. Each one is its own, and the Packers have to own this ugly one.

"You've got to play good football," LaFleur said. "You've got to play complementary football. It's got to be all three phases."

As LaFleur made no bones about after the game, it was none of the phases. Even two gift turnovers the Packers did nothing to cause produced 10 points or the final score would've better reflected how poorly Green Bay played.

"So many opportunities left out there," Love said. "A lot of missed opportunities we didn't capitalize on."

More chances lie ahead. This NFC race is wide open. To take advantage, the Packers have to do what they've done multiple times already – move on and keep fighting.

"Obviously we're a team that's been in this situation," Love said. "We've lost some tough games and been able to bounce back. We'll be able to bounce back next week."

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