And just like that, the Packers’ season is effectively over. A team that couldn’t pull out a win against the Lions or Commanders and couldn’t move the ball this game with the season on the line in the fourth quarter now has to win basically every game left on the schedule just to have a chance at the postseason.
It’s ironic for it to end this way because the Titans play like the Packers should. Their offense depends on the run game to open up passing lanes. Their defense is full of castaways and bereft of true superstars. They even lost their superstar edge rusher to a season-ending injury like the Packers did. But the Titans are almost always in games because of smart in-game coaching decisions and players who play hard no matter what.
Too often in the LaFleur era getting knocked down is the same thing as getting knocked out. Part of the reason last week’s shocking victory over the Cowboys was so sweet was that 14-point comebacks just aren’t something we’ve seen in Green Bay in close to a decade at this point.
So what’s next?
Does the team go even more all-in? Convincing Rodgers to stick around and wrecking even more future seasons with salary cap shenanigans to keep Aaron Jones and recruit another receiver?
Do they admit defeat this season and let Rodgers sit for at least a few weeks to get his thumb to heal and give Jordan Love a chance to put his game on tape?
Do they fire Joe Barry mid-season and give Jerry Gray a chance to run the defense?
My guess is none of the above. I can’t imagine Rodgers will want to return following this lost season and as long as he’s here there’s no one in the building willing to stand up to him and bench him anymore or willing to fire a coach mid-season. If LaFleur was willing to make coordinator changes midseason the Packers probably would have fired Maurice Drayton last year and made the super bowl.
That means all we can do now is focus on the young core of the future. Celebrate every big play that Christian Watson, Romeo Doubs, Jaire Alexander, Quay Walker, or Kenny Clark makes. These are the guys who will need to be our bright spots through potentially several years of pain. May as well get used to it.
Mike Price is a lifelong Packers fan currently living in Utah. You can follow him on twitter at @themikeprice.