In front of a pro-Packers crowd at Dignity Health Sports Park Sunday afternoon, the red-hot Green Bay Packers were at their worst, while the struggling Los Angeles Chargers were at the best.
The result was a 26-11 loss in which the Chargers dominated in all three phases of the game. There was no way to sugar-coat this one—but there was a silver lining in that the Minnesota Vikings, Chicago Bears, and Detroit Lions also lost so the 7-2 Packers still maintain first place in the NFC North Division.
“This was a good slice of humble pie for us,” said quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who threw for just 161 yards and one touchdown, most coming in garbage time in the fourth quarter down 26-3.
“We’re kind of rolling 7-1 and starting to listen to the chatter maybe a little too much.”
The Packers offense generated just 184 yards. The defense gave up 442 yards. And the special teams had a punt partially blocked and an offside penalty that set up the Chargers offense for touchdowns. It truly was a woeful team performance.
“You got to give the Chargers all the credit in the world,” head coach Matt LaFleur said after his team’s four-game winning streak came to a screeching halt.
“They came out ready to play, they came out prepared. They definitely coached better than we did today and definitely played better. That’s life in the NFL. You have to bring your ‘A’ game each and every week or you’ll have a performance like we had today.”
Green Bay brought their “F” game Sunday, while the Philip Rivers and the Chargers played their most complete game of the season to improve to 4-5 and resemble the team that made the AFC playoffs in 2018.
The 1-2 punch of Rivers and Melvin Gordon III was too much for the Packers defense, which was gashed for 442 total yards by Los Angeles. Rivers enjoyed great protection in dissecting the Green Bay secondary, completing 21 of 28 passes for 294 yards (no TDs or INTs) for a 116.7 passer rating. Gordon complemented him with 20 rushes for 80 yards and two second half 1-yard touchdowns to cement the victory.
Defensive ends Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram spearheaded a Los Angeles defense that pressured Rodgers throughout the game and contained him in the pocket with minimal blitzing. Bose and Ingram each had 1.5 sacks for a defense that limited the potent Green Bay offense to just 184 total yards and 11 points and versatile running back Aaron Jones to 29 total yards.
Even the return of receiver Davante Adams (seven receptions for 41 yards) failed to spark the Green Bay offense on this day.
Kicker Michael Badgley outscored the Packers himself, accounting for 14 points in the 26-11 victory. He booted 29 and 40-yard field goals in the first quarter for a 6-0 lead, a 34-yarder in the second for a 9-0 margin at intermission, and a 43-yarder in the third for a 12-0 cushion. He added two extra points after Gordon’s two touchdown runs in the third and fourth quarters.
The Chargers dominated the time of possession in the first half by more than 11 minutes, but led just 9-0 at intermission as the Green Bay defense limited them to field goals instead of touchdowns. Los Angeles dominated the line of scrimmage throughout the contest.
“This was a good learning experience for us,” Rodgers said. “We have to come ready to play. I don’t think we were locked in front the start unfortunately. I’m not sure exactly the reason, but I don’t think the focus was there from the start. We have to look in the mirror and be very honest about our performance, starting with myself.”
The Chargers beat the Packers for the first time since 1984 and just the second time ever.
Green Bay must move on from this performance quickly, as they host the ever-dangerous Christian McCaffrey and the Carolina Panthers at Lambeau Field Sunday.
“It was a frustrating day,” LaFleur said. “We just have to hit the reset button like we say every week – win, lose or draw – get back to the drawing board and be more prepared for these situations.”