LONDON — Aaron Rodgers heard the conversation before anyone relayed what Green Bay Packers cornerback Jaire Alexander said in the locker room after Sunday’s upset loss to the New York Giants.
And he didn’t like.
Alexander, the Pro Bowl cornerback, said he wasn’t worried about the defense despite their role in the second-half meltdown that led to Green Bay’s 27-22 loss in front of a Pro Packers crowd at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium led. At least not yet.
“I’m not worried, but if we lose next week, I’m worried,” Alexander said, referring to next Sunday’s game against the New York Jets at Lambeau Field. “But it is a new situation for everyone. New circumstances, sleeping habits. It’s quite an adjustment here in London.”
Rodgers, who publicly welcomed the overseas trip all week, didn’t like the news. And he not only singled out Alexander; he heard it from others too.
“Honestly, I don’t like all this losing talk next week,” Rodgers said. “I firmly believe in the power of words and of manifestation. And we have to stop ourselves from doing that, because talking about it doesn’t mean winning football. It was talked about in the dressing room, and I don’t like it. Yes is my type but we don’t have to talk like that. “
The Packers will almost certainly be heavy favorites against the Jets, but that was also the case against the Giants. They lost as a 9-point favorite in what was the biggest upset in the NFL so far this season and the Packers’ worst loss since Week 13 of 2008, when they lost as a 13.5-point favorite to the Cardinals and coaches Mike McCarthy was then fired.
The Packers’ performance spoiled a celebratory week for the team in its first international game. They were the last NFL team not to play outside of the country. They jumped into the lead with 17:3 and still led 20:10 at half time thanks to an effective running game and some precise short passes.
The second half turned because:
• You tried to throw low. According to research from ESPN Stats & Information, Rodgers averaged just 3.5 air yards in the first half with a 75% completion rate and two touchdowns. He averaged 12.1 air yards per attempt in the second half and completed just 47% without a touchdown. He was 0-for-5 on passes that traveled 20 or more yards in the air, including 0-for-4 in the second half.
Randall Cobb (seven catches for 99 yards) said they miss only slightly on deep balls. But Rogers has been asked if the Packers — with Davante Adams’ trade and Marquez Valdes-Scantling’s departure at hand — aren’t built to go deep and may need to keep going longer.
“You make a good point,” Rodgers said. “It’s something to think about.”
• In a last-ditch effort to level the game, Rodgers had two passes in back-to-back games — third-and-1 and fourth-and-1 from the Giants’ 6-yard line. He only had one goal earlier this season.
“We had a run pass option enabled and they loaded the box and went to cover 0 and we thought they were going to do that,” said coach Matt LaFleur. “Unfortunately, I had two missed passes.”
• They let Giants quarterback Daniel Jones complete 13 of 14 passes for 136 of his 217 passing yards in the second half. He also had eight of his nine rushes (for 34 of his 37 yards) in the second half. The Packers had seven penalties, three of them by cornerback Rasul Douglas. Two of them wiped out Sacks, and one of them, a disgruntled Douglas, said the officer called because he told him, “You’re taller than him.”
“I just said to everyone, ‘My fault,'” Douglas said. “I had three uncharacteristic penalties that I don’t usually get, but I had them. I think that devastated the whole defense.”
It all added up to a loss that dropped the Packers to 3-2 before a long flight home.
“That’s what happens in this league when you’re not ready to play,” LaFleur said. “Not that we weren’t ready to play, but they obviously outplayed us in the second half.
https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/34762226/aaron-rodgers-not-happy-talk-packers-locker-room Aaron Rodgers not happy with talk in Packers’ locker room