Struggling Packers now below .500 latest in season since '08

Struggling Packers now below .500 latest in season since '08
Posted at 10:42 AM, Nov 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-14 11:54:07-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Missed tackles with defenders little more than obstacles to bounce off on the way to more yards.

A kicker missing both an extra point wide left and pushing an onside kick out of bounds.

Lots and lots of penalty flags.

Aaron Rodgers, the two-time NFL MVP, wasn't immune either, missing reads and overthrowing receivers with one pass going straight to a defender.

The Green Bay Packers have lots of issues after a 47-25 loss to the Tennessee Titans on Sunday put them below .500 for the first time this late in a season since 2008 -- Rodgers' first season after replacing Brett Favre.

Packers coach Mike McCarthy said they couldn't overcome falling behind 21-0 and by as much as 35-10 late in the first half before falling to 4-5.

"We understand how poorly we performed today," McCarthy said. "As a team, we're disappointed. We have higher standards than that. We have higher expectations of one another, so that's what we'll tap into and grab onto."

That 25-point deficit was Green Bay's largest in the first half of a game started by Rodgers. Now they've lost three straight and four of their past five. The previous time the Packers were below .500 this late in a season, Rodgers was in his first year as Green Bay's starter.

"We just didn't execute as well as we wanted to on offense and obviously in the other two phases as well," Rodgers said.

"Minnesota lost again. We're a game back. We're kind of right where we were last week. Obviously, love to be standing here after a win, but right now we've got to work on ourselves and get this thing turned around."

A franchise that has reached the postseason each of the past seven seasons has to fix some things first with two more games left on the Packers' first three-game road trip since 2012.

The Packers recovered Tennessee's onside kick to open the game and had the ball at the Titans 49 in perfect position to score. They went three-and-out with Rodgers missing Randall Cobb on a short throw on third down.

"It took a little bit to get going," Rodgers said.

Then right guard T.J. Lang hurt an ankle on the first play of the second series and was replaced by Dan Barclay. By the end of the first quarter, the Packers had just 26 yards. Rodgers had completed only two passes.

But the penalties already started piling up. The Packers finished with 12 for 107 yards.

"We had too much fight today," McCarthy said.

The Packers added a touchdown to pull within 35-16 at halftime after they already had posted the largest deficit since trailing by 21 in the first half against the New York Giants in 2012.

Rodgers threw for 371 yards and two touchdowns, and he also ran for another. Rodgers remains the only person to run for a TD this season for the Packers.

McCarthy couldn't list all the injuries after the game, which grew when left tackle David Bakhtiari hurt a knee and was replaced by rookie Jason Spriggs in the fourth quarter. That forced lots of rotations as the Packers gave up five sacks.

"It's hard emotionally," center Corey Linsley said. "It's difficult to right the ship anyway, but hard emotionally is what I am referring to. I think we have a level of trust in our locker room with a bunch of great guys that work hard. I'm confident that we will get that back."

The next stop on this road swing is a trip to Washington, and McCarthy said the Packers have been in tough spots before.

"Everything we want to accomplish big picture-wise is still in front of us," McCarthy said. "But the reality is we need to get a little healthier and we have to prepare and play better and we have to win the next game."