Not All Blowouts Are The Same

Sunday wasn’t the first time one of Matt LaFleur’s teams failed to be competitive in a game. The Packers were pummeled by the Chargers and the 49ers in 2019 and by the Bucs last fall. But the utter debacle against the Saints feels different because of when it occurred.

It’s easy to excuse a terrible performance in late October or early December as just something that happens during the grind of a very long National Football League season. Teams get tired. Teams get injured. Teams go up against an opponent coming off a bye week. Teams simply can’t match the emotion of a more desperate foe. But none of these things apply to what transpired three days ago in Jacksonville, and that’s what makes it more troubling.

The Packers were healthy and extremely well-rested, and they literally had months to prepare for an opponent that wasn’t nearly as physically fit and had to relocate from New Orleans to Texas after Hurricane Ida wreaked havoc a few weeks earlier. Heck, with mostly Packers fans in the stands, the Saints were essentially playing a “home” game on the road.  So if either team could’ve made excuses for a poor showing, it was the one from the Bayou.

Instead, coach Sean Payton had his team champing at the bit. The Jameis Winston-led offense seemed to know exactly what plays to call in any given situation. Payton obviously used the time since the schedule came out in early May to get ready for the Packers. Meanwhile, I have no idea what LaFleur was doing in preparation for the Saints. Maybe the third-year coach needed to spend less time worrying about how to assuage his quarterback’s hurt feelings and more time worrying about how to attack Dennis Allen’s fast, physical, and well-disciplined defense.

Speaking of defense, wasn’t new coordinator Joe Barry supposed to bring energy to that side of the ball? So why did the Packers look like 11 extras from the cast of The Walking Dead? Nobody was expecting Barry to be a great Xs and Os guy, but he was supposed to be a big-time motivator. Instead, the only people he motivated on Sunday afternoon were tens of thousands of Packers fans… to turn off their televisions in disgust early in the fourth quarter.

While there’s no good excuse for what happened on Sunday, both LaFleur and Aaron Rodgers were right about it being just one game. There’s plenty of time to turns things around – starting on Monday against Detroit. But a win, even a convincing one over the rebuilding Lions, won’t wipe away the stench from Week 1. All the Packers can do is prove they’re not a fraud; proving they’re a Super Bowl team will have to wait until the following week in San Francisco.

I still think this is an 11-win team with a legit chance to get to the Super Bowl, but I can’t say I’m quite as confident as I was just 72 hours ago. That’s what a 38-3 loss on opening day can do to one’s psyche. And for the first time, I’m at least considering the possibility that the so-called “last dance” could wind up looking more like Benes than Baryshnikov.

A big thanks to those of you who have already made a donation. If you haven’t contributed yet, please click the button below to keep enjoying this type of Packers’ content throughout the 2021 season. ⬇️

This poll is no longer accepting votes

POLL: On a scale of 1 to 10, how concerned are you after Sunday's loss?

Visits: 3756 Today: 2


  1. It was a tale of two QB’s really. Jameis Winston had a lot to prove. That he wasn’t the same QB he was in Tampa Bay. That all he needed was good coaching. That he deserved to be the starter over Taysom Hill. Winston played with urgency, like this was his last chance. In fact, he said as much in his pregame interview. How grateful he was. How humble he was. The sign of maturity.

    While Aaron Rodgers played like he just didn’t give a shit. Like this was the “last dance” and he can’t wait to be traded. Doing pregame interviews telling everyone how wronged and misunderstood he was. Rehashing crap that needs to be moved on from. Is it any wonder then that we got our butts kicked?

    When your defense literally plays the entire first half in 80 degree heat because your offense can’t move the ball. Is it that surprising they’re gassed by the end of the first half? Still, we were in the game until Rodgers forced the ball to Adams in the red zone in the 3rd quarter resulting in an INT. Followed by the near pick 6 on a throw to MVS on the next drive. Does Rodgers take responsibility for his part in that embarrassment? Of course not. But he’ll allow his coach to say that he didn’t play well. Thanks Aaron, your a stand up guy….

  2. Long time reader, long time lurker. Donated to keep this going, as your commentary is a breath of fresh air compared to the bigger players and the homer blog sites.

    Thanks again for the analysis.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Packers Notes is the creation of Michael Rodney, who has been writing about the Green Bay Packers for over 30 years. His first blog, Packer Update, hit the internet in 2004. Before becoming a public educator, Rodney worked as a journalist for a couple of newspapers in his home state of New Jersey and covered the Philadelphia Eagles for WTXF-TV. He's had numerous articles on the Packers published, and he's been featured on both television and radio over the years.
0 visitors online now
0 guests, 0 members