Pack­ers look to re­bound af­ter rough loss at 49ers

The Saline Courier - - SPORTS - As­so­ci­ated Press

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Win or lose, Green Bay Pack­ers coach Matt Lafleur has stressed the need for his team to “hit the re­set but­ton” and move onto the next game. That will be as im­por­tant as ever fol­low­ing a 37-8 loss at San Fran­cisco on Sun­day night. The Pack­ers were com­ing off a bye week so should have been pre­pared men­tally and phys­i­cally. Having played a tougher sched­ule, they were the more tested team. And they were the health­ier team. But with first place in the NFC on the line, Green Bay was dom­i­nated in all three phases. Green Bay must shake off this game be­fore hit­ting the road to face the strug­gling New York Giants. How can Lafleur en­sure Sun­day night’s out­come doesn’t linger? “By go­ing back to work and tak­ing it one day at a time and putting in the right prep. That’s the only way I know how to bounce back from any­thing,” Lafleur said on Monday. “I’ve got con­fi­dence in th­ese guys that they’re go­ing to. Every­body was hurt­ing in that locker room. “Every­body was dis­ap­pointed. And I think th­ese guys will bat­tle. What I love about our group is I didn’t feel like there was any­body point­ing fin­gers. We’ve all got to look in­ward — coaches, play­ers, every­body in­volved — and look at our­selves and be hon­est with our­selves about what we can do bet­ter. We’ve shown we can do a lot bet­ter than this. You’ve got to give the Nin­ers a lot of credit — that’s a good foot­ball team — but we know we didn’t play to the level of our ex­pec­ta­tions.” WHAT’S WORK­ING

Green Bay’s pass rush was per­haps the only bright spot. Out­side line­backer Pre­ston Smith added a half-sack to push his team-leading to­tal to 10½ sacks. Fel­low out­side line­backer Za’dar­ius Smith had 1½ sacks to reach 10 sacks for the season. That gave Green Bay a 10-sack tan­dem for only the se­cond time since sacks be­came an of­fi­cial stat in 1982.

WHAT’S NOT WORK­ING Noth­ing worked against the 49ers. Of­fen­sively, Green Bay av­er­aged 2.82 yards per play, the fourth-low­est fig­ure in the en­tire league this season and failed to move the chains on its first 14 third downs.

De­fen­sively, the Pack­ers once again showed a to­tal in­abil­ity to cover tight ends. In­clud­ing the 129 re­ceiv­ing yards and one touch­down by San Fran­cisco’s Ge­orge Kit­tle, the op­po­nent’s No. 1 tight end has av­er­aged 100 re­ceiv­ing yards the past five games. The 61-yard touch­down by Kit­tle was a game­breaker, with the Pack­ers having just pulled within

23-8.

“Against a team of that cal­iber, with one of the best de­fen­sive lines in the Na­tional Foot­ball League and with a sound back end, where they’re not go­ing to give up big plays, that’s a big-time chal­lenge to re­ally over­come that type of deficit in their home sta­dium,” Lafleur said.

STOCK UP

In four sea­sons with Bal­ti­more, Za’dar­ius Smith had 18½ sacks. He’s got a ca­reer-high 10 this season af­ter tal­ly­ing 1½ sacks, three quar­ter­back hits and a teamhigh six tack­les.

STOCK DOWN

When Da­vante Adams missed four games with a toe in­jury, run­ning back Aaron Jones helped pick up the slack with 22 re­cep­tions for 280 re­ceiv­ing yards and three touch­downs. Adams has caught seven passes in each of his three games back in the lineup but Jones has caught 1 of 4 tar­gets for mi­nus-1 yard. He didn’t have any catches against the 49ers.

“That falls on me right there,” Lafleur said. “I’ve got to do a bet­ter job of mak­ing sure he’s in the game when some of those plays are called for the half­backs.” IN­JURED

Right tackle Bryan Bu­laga suf­fered an in­jured right knee dur­ing the first quar­ter.

“Bryan’s been a rock for us at right tackle,” quar­ter­back Aaron Rodgers said af­ter the game.

Alex Light, an un­drafted free agent in 2018, re­placed Bu­laga but might not get the call against if Bu­laga is out against New York.

“We’ve got some other thoughts po­ten­tially to make sure that we put our best five out there,” Lafleur said. One op­tion would be to shift right guard Billy Turner out to right tackle and in­sert Lu­cas Pa­trick at right guard.

KEY NUM­BERS

6.7: Green Bay’s third­down con­ver­sion rate af­ter go­ing 1 of 15. That’s the third-worst per­for­mance by any team in the NFL this season. Mean­while, there have been only eight times this season in which a team failed to move the chains 10 per­cent of the time. San Fran­cisco’s de­fense was re­spon­si­ble for three of those games.

“We were ter­ri­ble on third down,” Rodgers said. “The games we’ve got out and played well on of­fense, we’ve had a good run game. They shut us down for a good part of the night run­ning the ball and we couldn’t re­ally throw it ei­ther.”

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