The New Orleans Saints handed Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur his seventh regular-season loss to start his third year leading the Green and Gold.
It wasn’t a pretty game, and LaFleur himself said that the team wasn’t prepared enough. Offseason drama, injuries, no salary cap space to add bigger defensive pieces, and your starters not playing in the preseason couldn’t have helped with that.
After two seasons of going 13-3 and reaching the NFC Championship game in his first two years, it’s hard to be too worried about LaFleur and the Packers right now. It was a terrible loss, but it showed how good the Saints are while serving as a wake-up call for Green Bay. The defense needs work — fans have been saying that since the Packers won their last Super Bowl — and the offense also needs to get going.
And now the team is off to Monday Night Football against the Detroit Lions. The Lions also lost Week 1, falling to the San Francisco 49ers, 41-33. Detroit may have lost, but they also staged a comeback when they were being blown out and scored 33 points. The Packers scored three total.
So how have LaFleur’s teams performed in the week following an L? Let’s break down the last two regular seasons.
Green Bay took their first loss against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 4, losing 34-27 at Lambeau Field during a Thursday Night game. Carson Wentz and Jordan Howard played out of their minds, and Rodgers threw an interception during a fourth-quarter rally. The defense just gave up too many points. After the loss, the Packers went on the road and beat the Dallas Cowboys, 34-24. Aaron Jones went off with four touchdowns, and the defense picked off Dak Prescott three times.
The team suffered their next loss on Nov. 3rd against the Los Angeles Chargers. L.A. won 26-11 in a game most Packers fans wish they could forget. Philip Rivers and Melvin Gordon III carved up the defense. The Packers didn’t score until almost the end of the third quarter, and that was a field goal. Green Bay came back the next week with another win, this time besting the Carolina Panthers at home, 24-16. Again, Jones was the star of the game with 93 yards and three touchdowns on 13 carries, including a 75-yard run for a score. So that’s two bounce-backs with big games by Jones.
Defeat No. 3 came on the next game. There was a bye week in-between there, but it was the first blowout the Packers would suffer at the hands of the San Francisco 49ers that season. The Niners won 37-8 on Sunday night and exposed a lot of Green Bay’s weaknesses. The Packers would win the next week, beating the New York Giants, 31-13, in the Meadowlands. Aaron had a big game once again, but this time it was Mr. Rodgers. He threw for 243 yards and four touchdowns in the game.
In 2019, the Packers did not lose two or more games in a row during the entire season. Not bad for a first-year head coach.
After starting 4-0 and coming off the bye week, the Packers took on Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Florida. It did not go well. The Buccaneers won 38-10, which is pretty close to their 37-8 loss to the 49ers after the previous season’s bye week. (Someone tell the Packers to prepare extra hard for the Chicago Bears in Week 14.) Green Bay won the next game against the Houston Texans 35-20. Rodgers had 283 yards and four touchdowns, almost the same as his bounce-back game against the 49ers the previous year.
Leaving Texas and heading home to Lambeau didn’t bring much luck. The Packers were handed their second loss against the division rival Minnesota Vikings, 28-22. Dalvin Cook could not be stopped. The Vikings scored on their first four possessions, with Cook accounting for all four touchdowns. The Packers then went off to San Francisco and beat them 34-17 on Thursday Night Football. Another four-touchdown performance from Rodgers, you say? Yup!
Two weeks later, the Packers would be handed their third and final defeat of the regular season. They lost to the Indianapolis Colts on the road, 34-31. Both Rodgers and Rivers threw for three touchdowns, one interception, and around 300 yards. It came down to an overtime field goal by Rodrigo Blankenship, which would be his fourth on the day in a truly wild game. The Packers did not score a touchdown the entire second half. Returning to Green Bay, the Packers won after a loss for the sixth-straight time under LaFleur. They beat the Chicago Bears 41-25. Can you guess how many touchdowns Aaron Rodgers had? You’re right: four! It would be the start of seven consecutive wins for the Packers before losing to the Buccaneers in the NFC Championship.
Over the last two seasons, the Packers have not lost back-to-back games. That means every time they lose, they win the next week under LaFleur. These stats should give Packers fans a sense of hope, and Rodgers should throw for four touchdowns next Monday at Lambeau, given his track record. If he doesn’t, Aaron Jones should have plenty of scores instead.
The loss to the Saints was hard to watch. But based on experience, the Packers should bounce back and bounce back well. It’s not time to panic yet. The first loss is out of the way, and there are 16 games left to play. I didn’t mean to rhyme that on purpose, but I’m keeping it. Also, there is this: