CARSON, Calif. – The Packers brought the fans, but the Chargers brought the better team.
Green Bay played its worst game of the season Sunday in front of a pro-Packers crowd at Dignity Health Sports Park and were beaten in convincing fashion to Los Angeles, 26-11.
"You got to give the Chargers all the credit in the world," Head Coach Matt LaFleur said after his team's four-game winning streak was snapped, leaving the Packers at 7-2.
"They came out ready to play, they came out prepared. They definitely coached better than we did today and definitely played better. That's life in the NFL. You have to bring your 'A' game each and every week or you'll have a performance like we had today."
This was nothing close to an 'A' game, or even a 'C' game, for the Packers. They left LA with nothing to hang their hat on as things went wrong in all three phases.
The offense managed just 184 yards and didn't have a gain longer than 13 until the fourth quarter when the game was decided. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers was sacked three times by the Chargers' pass-rush tandem of Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram and pressured a lot more than that.
The defense surrendered 442 yards, including numerous big plays, and was keeping the Packers in the game by holding the Chargers to field goals early. But the unit, predictably with the offense struggling so much, eventually ran out of steam.
The special teams had their letdowns, too, as a blocked punt set up the Chargers' first touchdown, in the second half, to make it 19-0. An offside penalty on a field goal also led to LA going for it on fourth-and-goal instead and tacking on another TD.
"At the half we were pretty fortunate to be only down 9-0," LaFleur said. "It was a two-score game. Our defense did a good job of keeping the Chargers out of the end zone, but offensively there was no rhythm whatsoever."
The Green Bay Packers traveled to California to take on the Los Angeles Chargers in a Week 9 matchup.
Penalties, sacks and just three possessions in the first half (the Chargers won the overall time of possession by more than 11½ minutes) left the Packers searching for answers from the get-go they never found.
LaFleur said so much was going wrong the offense never really even got into its game plan, and the Chargers' ability to rely on their four-man rush and drop seven into coverage repeatedly led to "a long day."
"This was a good learning experience for us," Rodgers said. "We have to come ready to play. I don't think we were locked in front the start unfortunately. I'm not sure exactly the reason, but I don't think the focus was there from the start. We have to look in the mirror and be very honest about our performance, starting with myself."
The Chargers beat the Packers for the first time since 1984 and just the second time ever as Philip Rivers threw for 294 yards (21-of-28, 108.3 rating), Melvin Gordon rushed for two TDs (20 carries, 80 yards), Austin Ekeler added 93 yards from scrimmage (70 rushing, 23 receiving) and receiver Mike Williams hit on two big completions to finish with three catches for 111 yards.
Getting receiver Davante Adams (seven catches, 41 yards) back from a four-game absence didn't mean anything to the offense. No perimeter weapon had even 50 yards from scrimmage.
Three false starts, one delay of game, and an illegal block in the back on Green Bay's first three drives practically took the Packers crowd out of it, and Green Bay never really recovered.
"We weren't very focused, obviously," said Rodgers, who finished 23-of-35 for 161 yards with a garbage-time TD and 85.5 passer rating. "Silly penalties we're not used to having, that hurt us. Especially when you only have three possessions in the first half, you have to make them count.
"We didn't help ourselves out at all."
The Packers have one more game before their bye week and must turn the page quickly.
"It was a frustrating day," LaFleur said. "We just have to hit the reset button like we say every week – win, lose or draw – get back to the drawing board and be more prepared for these situations."