CARSON, Calif. – The Packers were brought back down to earth on Sunday.
It's up to them to make it meaningful.
"This is a good slice of humble pie for us," quarterback Aaron Rodgers said moments after a 26-11 defeat at the hands of the Chargers in LA. "We were rolling at 7-1 and listened to the chatter maybe a little too much.
"This will be a good thing for us," Rodgers said. "We'll go home and regroup."
At 7-1 at the midway point, Rodgers didn't chalk up Sunday's awful performance to complacency, but it will serve as a lesson. The Packers have taken some punches to the mouth this season, but they'd bounced back within the game, to give themselves a chance every time.
There was no recovery in this one, something that "can happen to any team," Rodgers said. No one is good enough to just flip a switch.
In the big picture, the Packers simply blew a huge opportunity. They had a home game on the road, with a significant majority of the 25,000-plus in attendance at Dignity Health Sports Park wearing green and gold. Chances like these very rarely come around.
But also, just before kickoff, the Vikings had lost to the Chiefs on a last-second field goal, dropping them to 6-3. The Bears lost, too, and the Lions also went down while the Packers were playing.
A win would have put Green Bay in the driver's seat in the NFC North with a two-game lead and seven games left. But that's gone, so there's no sense even thinking about it anymore.
"I'm not worried about everybody else, I'm worried about the Green Bay Packers," Head Coach Matt LaFleur said. "Like I said, we have to coach better and we have to play better."
Rodgers is confident they will, but there are important steps to take. It's not as easy as flush, then forward.
"You kind of rinse your hands a little bit, try to. That's what you'd like to do," Rodgers said. "The best thing to do is go back and be brutally honest with your own side of the ball and your own personal performance. Knuckle down on some of the details."
That's everyone's task between now and next Sunday when NFC contender Carolina comes to Lambeau Field. The Panthers were humbled in a lopsided loss last week at San Francisco and bounced back this week to beat Tennessee.
That's how this league works, and the good teams don't let forgettable days morph into multiple bad memories.
The Packers rebounded from their first loss of 2019 with a four-game winning streak. They showed then what it takes.
"The character of the guys in the locker room," Rodgers said. "I feel pretty confident we're going to respond.
"We have to respond the right way and go into the bye 8-2. This week will be interesting to see the leadership step up."
The Packers will need that leadership in all three phases, because there were deficiencies galore in LA. They now face their biggest test of the season thus far.
The Green Bay Packers traveled to California to take on the Los Angeles Chargers in a Week 9 matchup.