If this were Major League Baseball, where teams play roughly 30 to 40 exhibition games, followed by a 162-game regular season, you could understand if players said they lacked energy on a given day.
But when an NFL team, who only gets 16 games that count to begin with, comes out and says they lacked energy in a loss, it’s either a bad excuse for a poor performance, or they have some real concerns.
After Indianapolis Colts kick returner Jordan Todman returned the game’s opening kickoff back 99-yards for a touchdown, the Packers not only played from behind for the rest of the day, but wide receiver Jordy Nelson said they didn’t handle it well.
The Colts pulled off the upset, 31-26 over the Packers at Lambeau Field.
Colts quarterback Andrew Luck had been sacked a league-high 31 times coming in. But the Packers, who went heavy on the blitz during the game, could only manage to sack Luck twice, 1 1/2 of them going to safeties Morgan Burnett and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.
Mike Daniels, Datone Jones, Nick Perry and Julius Peppers contributed a half sack and two quarterback knockdowns.
The Packers played without pass rushing linebacker Clay Matthews for the third time this season. They’ve managed seven sacks in those three games.
The Packers attempted to make another one of their fourth quarter comebacks, putting the long pass plays on the back burner and moving up and down the field with the short passing game that has worked so well the last two weeks. But the hole was just too big to climb out of and the defense couldn’t get a third down stop against Andrew Luck late in the game.
Yes, the Packers are banged up, playing without six starters. But the Colts, who some described as the worst team in football, were missing five starters and were coming off a terrible loss to Kansas City the week before.
Now, Indianapolis is 4-5 and the win may have saved their season, as they head into their bye week.
Packers players will tell you they just need to do a better job of making plays when they have the opportunity to do so. But it’s concerning that they continue to lose home games and then tell reporters that they lacked energy.
Aaron Rodgers said after the game that he doesn’t understand that mindset.
If players said they didn’t play well, or were just outplayed, one could understand. But to say they lacked energy is unreal.
Defensive lineman Mike Daniels was heard yelling in the locker room shower after the game, saying he was sick and tired of losing. It’s time for team leaders to stand up and make sure every player is ready to play, but equally as important, doesn’t bow out at the first sign of trouble. And doing so from the shower isn’t going to cut it.
The Packers are 4-4 and in third place in the NFC North. But they’re just a game behind the Minnesota Vikings, who have their own issues. The Packers hope to get healthier in the second half of the season and the division is still there for the taking.
For the next three weeks, the Packers will have to figure out how to win on the road. They have games at Tennessee, Washington and Philadelphia before returning to Green Bay for home games against Houston and Seattle.