The Green Bay Packers had a chance to move into a tie for first place in the NFC North on Sunday with a win over the Indianapolis Colts. The Minnesota Vikings have been reeling, losing three in a row, giving the Packers a golden opportunity to move up in the standings.
Unfortunately, the team squandered that chance with a lackluster performance against the Colts. The Packers lost 31-26 after a late surge by Aaron Rodgers and the offense, but it wasn’t enough.
After the game, Rodgers expressed frustration with the team for being uninspired and showing a serious lack of energy.
"I don’t understand it," Rodgers said, via ESPN. "I mean, this is what we get paid to do, is to bring it every week, and I hope the guys would say I bring it every week. I mean, I love this game and I bring energy. I’m not a rah-rah guy, but I’m a focused, enthusiastic player, and I don’t know what the lack of juice was.”
Rodgers had a solid game himself, completing 26 of 43 passes for 297 yards and three touchdowns, but he didn’t get much help from his teammates. The running game sputtered without Eddie Lacy once again, and Jeff Janis had a perfectly thrown 50-yard pass clank off his helmet on what should have been an easy reception.
Rodgers didn’t just notice the lack of focus and energy on the field. It spilled over onto the sideline, too.
“You kind of felt it over the entire sideline. We didn’t have the same kind of enthusiasm and encouragement that we had the previous two weeks,” Rodgers said. “So we’ve got to look deep in the mirror there, because that’s just not acceptable."
The game was at Lambeau Field, which should automatically bring an extra level of excitement to the Packers. But the score was out of hand for most of the game, which understandably led Green Bay fans to sink down in their seats a bit.
That was the case until a rogue squirrel ran onto the field and provided a bizarre lift. Rodgers even referenced the squirrel after the game, saying the players need to inspire the crowd more than the wild animal did.
"We have to respond better, like we did to close out the game, [and] get the crowd involved more than just the squirrel on the field," Rodgers said.
Rodgers called the Packers’ lack of enthusiasm “unacceptable,” which is probably an accurate way to characterize it. The Colts returning the opening kickoff for a touchdown didn’t help anything, but the now 4-4 Packers needed to be mentally tougher.