Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Packers Fall to Chargers in 26-11 Laugher

By Eric Goska
Receiver Geronimo Allison's 13-yard reception in the second quarter
was the Packers' longest play from scrimmage in the first half
of its 26-11 loss to the Chargers.
How bad were the Packers in Carson, California?

Bad enough to have served as both punch line and joke.

How awful was Green Bay in the first 30 minutes against the Chargers?

One has to travel back nearly three-quarters of a century in order to find another instance of such ineptitude across five statistical markers.

Instead of putting an additional game between themselves and the rest of the NFC North (the Vikings, Lions and Bears all lost Sunday), Green Bay phoned in a performance worthy of “America’s Funniest Home Videos.” The Packers had breakdowns in all three phases of the game and trailed for most of the afternoon as they dropped a 26-11 decision.

How dominant were the Chargers? One play in the latter stages says it all.

Michael Badgley tapped home a 19-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter to give Los Angeles a 22-3 lead. Packers cornerback Tony Brown was offside at the snap.

Instead of declining the penalty – accepting it would keep the down and distance the same since the infraction occurred at the 1-yard line on fourth down – the Chargers accepted the call and took points off the board. Melvin Gordon III easily followed up with at touchdown, and Los Angeles was up 26-3 with 10 minutes, 32 seconds remaining.

Nothing like treating the Packers with dignity and respect at Dignity Health Sports Park.

As bad as the game got the further it dragged on, we’ll take a quick look at the first half. Feel free to leave the room if you can’t stomach some of what follows.

The Packers were held scoreless in the first half. The team is 53-143-18 (.290) since 1921 when that happens.

This inability to score is more problematic now than it may have been in the earlier days of professional football. The team is just 12-67-0 (.152) since the 1970 merger when it fails to score in both the first and second quarters.

Green Bay ran a scant 18 plays in the first half. Since 1954, the team is 10-17 (.370) when running fewer than 20 plays in the opening 30 minutes.

Davante Adams (8-yard reception) and Aaron Jones (3-yard run) provided two of the Packers’ 3 first-half first downs. The other occurred when Chargers safety Rayshawn Jenkins was flagged for unnecessary roughness against Packers receiver Geronimo Allison in the second quarter.

That play, a 13-yard catch by Allison, was Green Bay’s longest from scrimmage in the first half. In all but one other game since 2008 – the year in which Rodgers became a starter – the team has mustered at least one gain of 15 or more yards in the opening half.

Finally, the Packers produced a paltry 50 first-half yards on the West Coast. Rodgers has done worse only once before in 167 career starts, that a meager 47-yards in a 38-26 loss to the Vikings in 2009.

Put it all together. When was the last time the Green and Gold failed to score, ran fewer than 20 plays, had fewer than five first downs, failed to gain a minimum of 15 yards on at least one play and managed no more than 50 yards all in the same first half?

Harken back to the 1946 opener in which the Bears outslugged Green Bay 30-7. The Packers had zero first downs and, unofficially, zero yards on a dozen plays.

When confronted in the locker room following the debacle, head coach Curly Lambeau’s entire post-game statement consisted of five terse words: “I have nothing to say.”

Lambeau wasn’t in a laughing mood then. Seventy-three years later, Packers fans know the feeling all too well.

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