The Green Bay Packers are running out of answers for why their once dominant offense has continued to struggle to create big plays and score points during the 2015 season.
Given a chance on Sunday to put pressure on the Cardinals for the NFC’s No. 2 seed, the Packers managed just eight points and 178 total yards on 64 plays during an embarrassing 38-8 loss in Arizona.
T.J. Lang, who has started for the Packers at guard since 2011, can’t figure it out. And he’s not certain it’s going to get turned around.
“If this was maybe a one- or two-week problem, I’d say maybe [it could change],” Lang said, via ESPN. “But it’s been a lot of frustration for a long time now on offense. When you’re used to something, and that changes, it’s hard to deal with. Every year I’ve been a starter here, we’ve been making big plays, scoring a lot of points. And this year it’s been different. I’m sure everybody wishes they had answers as to why.”
The Packers are now 10-5 and in need of a win over the Minnesota Vikings in Week 17 to win the NFC North. Playing for a division title is an enviable position for most NFL teams, but this is a franchise that has won the NFC North four straight years. Goals are set higher in Green Bay, especially after the team came within a monumental collapse of playing in the Super Bowl last season.
When combined with big losses to the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers earlier in the season, Sunday’s defeat in Arizona makes it seem very unlikely that the Packers will suddenly flick on the switch and make a miracle run to the Super Bowl next month.
The Cardinals sacked Aaron Rodgers eight times, and the Packers finished the contest with just 77 net passing yards. Overall, Green Bay averaged three yards per play and just two yards per passing play. The Packers rank in the bottom half of the NFL in many offensive statistics, including total offense (23rd) and passing offense (26th).
Rodgers believes his veteran team can still turn it on to finish the season.
“We’ve won a lot of games here,” Rodgers said. “When you play long enough, you’re going to be on the wrong side of it sometimes. But I have confidence in those guys and myself that when it matters for all the marbles, we’re going to show up.”
The Packers had plenty to play for on Sunday, and no one in green and gold showed up. The quarterback must always exude confidence, especially in times of crisis, but it’s becoming clear—especially from Lang’s comments—that conviction is starting to weaken within the Packers locker room. Some aren’t convinced this sinking ship will find buoyancy.