Just 2 weeks ago, the Green Bay Packers immersed themselves in the NFC playoff race. Sitting at 6-6, they controlled their own destiny and looked poised to make an unlikely postseason run. Fast-forward to today, the team has dropped 2 straight games and have fallen out of the NFC playoffs. After another disastrous display by the defense, the Packers crash back down to Earth with a 34-20 loss to Tampa Bay.

Any sort of positive play for the Green Bay defense hinged on whether or not they were able to get pressure on QB Baker Mayfield. If not, it was easy pitch and catch all day for Tampa Bay’s offense. Very little was contested by the Packers and the Bucs were able to control the middle of the field. It was a rough day for the linebackers and safeties to say the least. When the pass rush got to Mayfield, they did well at converting those opportunities to sacks. Ultimately, on any play where that didn’t happen, the back end of the Packers defense couldn’t hold up in coverage.

Packers defensive coordinator Joe Barry’s job has been in jeopardy, especially with how the defense has performed the last two games. Mayfield threw for nearly 400 yards while the Bucs averaged a whopping 7.6 yards per play in yesterday’s game. It was like the Bucs knew exactly what was coming from Green Bay. This loss was a costly one for the Packers. According to PFF (Pro Football Focus) prior to yesterday’s game, a loss would have dropped the Packers playoff chances to just 29%. Not great.

It wasn’t as egregious as the Giants game, but Jordan Love and the Packers passing attack was off again for stretches in the game yesterday. There was poor spacing among the receivers, some missed throws by Love, and whiffed blocks up front that disrupted the timing of certain plays. On the flip side though, we also saw Love and the offense find some rhythm, which included key 3rd down conversions and an impressive touchdown pass to Jayden Reed in the 3rd quarter. With that said, when your defense only forces one punt the entire game, it’s incredibly tough to keep up.

On some positive notes, it’s been impressive how reliable Jayden Reed and Dontayvion Wicks have become this season. On 3rd downs, in the red zone, and in must-have-it situations, they often come through. Also, it was good to see Aaron Jones back on the field. That burst and his playmaking ability that he possesses is unmatched. He had a chunk run early with some other positive carries mixed in. It is also worth noting that the veteran leadership that he brings to an offense consisting of mostly rookies and second-year players is invaluable. Another bright spot was that Anders Carlson was perfect on his field goal and extra point attempts after an inconsistent few weeks.

While it’s disappointing to be back under .500, the Packers still have a small chance at the playoffs. We all knew this year would be filled with highs and lows with a young team. Regardless how things shake out, the Packers have the young talent on both sides of the ball that points to a bright future ahead. It will be interesting to see if any changes to the coaching staff will occur in the off-season. Until then, let’s just hope this team continues to play hard and with pride.