The Packers fell 38-3 to the New Orleans Saints in Jacksonville, Florida, snapping a franchise-record streak of six straight season-opening victories. It was a stunning result for a team that talked openly about how much was at stake this year after losing in the NFC championship game each of the past two seasons.
“Unfortunately, sometimes in this league, you get humbled,” Packers coach Matt LaFleur said Monday. “Certainly we got humbled.”
An offense that produced a league-high 31.8 points per game last season couldn’t find the end zone. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the reigning MVP, was 15 of 28 for 133 yards with two interceptions.
“I felt like our energy was a little bit low,” said Rodgers, who compared it to a 26-11 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers from 2019.
That offense barely got on the field in the first half because the Saints controlled possession so effectively.
New Packers defensive coordinator Joe Barry had a miserable debut, with Green Bay allowing five touchdowns and one field goal in the Saints’ first seven possessions.
“I still have the utmost confidence in our defense,” safety Adrian Amos said. “We’re going to regroup and get better this week. We’re going to get back to our assignments, see what we messed up.”
This lopsided loss followed an eventful offseason in which Rodgers skipped the Packers’ organized team activities and mandatory minicamp before reporting to training camp on time.
Players acknowledged before the season they understood what was at stake this year because of the uncertainty surrounding the futures of Rodgers and All-Pro receiver Davante Adams, who could become a free agent next year.
Yet they still delivered a dreadful opening performance.
Running back Aaron Jones wondered afterward if “a little bit of complacency” might have been an issue. Rodgers said “we probably felt like we were going to go up and down the field on whoever they had out there” before adding “that obviously wasn’t the case.”
“It kind of caught me by surprise,” Jones said. “I’m not used to losing like this. I know all the guys and myself included, around the locker room, we had a great feeling coming into this one. We felt like we worked hard in practice and did everything we needed to do leading up to it.”
The Packers never have lost consecutive games within the same season under LaFleur, who is in his third year. They’ll need to play better across the board to avoid a second straight loss when they face the Detroit Lions in a Monday night home opener.