Aaron Jones: Good teams don't lose two in a row


We're less than 24 hours removed from the conclusion of Week 12 and in hindsight, it already has the feel of a momentous grouping of results.

In college football, sometimes they refer to such a weekend as "Separation Saturday," but the NFL's separation -- however minor it may be -- started Thursday, when the Houston Texans outlasted the Indianapolis Colts to take a one-game lead in the AFC South and split their season series. We saw more separation Monday night when the Ravens, a favorite to win the AFC, destroyed the defending NFC champion Rams.

None might have been more emphatic, though, than the San Francisco 49ers' dominance over the Green Bay Packers.

Sticking to their winning formula, the 49ers harassed Aaron Rodgers all night, choking the Packers' offensive attack before it could ever get going. Meanwhile, San Francisco's offense racked up the points, taking a 23-0 lead into the half and never looking back.

The win felt like San Francisco's most emphatic expression of its potential in 2019. Sure, it had dominated others, but two weeks after its first loss of the season in a wild overtime thriller to division rival Seattle, the Niners need a legitimate bounce-back performance (against a team not named Arizona). It was that and then some against another NFC favorite that looked anything but a favorite.

The key for that team, Packers running back Aaron Jones said Monday, is to keep such a disheartening loss from happening again.

"We just keep with the mindset good teams don't lose two in a row," Jones said during a Monday appearance on USA Today Network-Wisconsin's live weekly show "Clubhouse Live". "We haven't done that all year, so we're going to keep that mindset. We feel like we're a pretty good team. Just go back to work."

Jones has been a do-everything dynamo for Green Bay in 2019, serving as a fully unlocked weapon for a Packers' offense that frequently overlooked him in previous campaigns under since-ousted sideline leadership. He went for three scores and just under 100 yards on the ground in Week 11, but his effectiveness was limited Sunday night in part because the Packers quickly found themselves trying to dig out of a hole on the road. That hole only grew deeper by halftime, severely limiting their offensive potential under Matt LaFleur and ultimately leading to an ugly result.

"They just beat us. They're a great team, and we didn't come ready to play," Jones said of San Francisco. "We didn't play like ourselves, and that's what happens when you don't come ready to play."

With a new week comes a new opportunity, though, and the road opens up for the 8-3 Packers. Of its final five games left, four are against teams with sub-.500 records: New York Giants, Washington, Chicago and Detroit.

One massive contest looms, though, in the unfriendly confines of U.S. Bank Stadium. Tied atop the NFC North after 12 weeks, the division could come down to Green Bay's Week 16 meeting with Minnesota in Minneapolis.

For Green Bay's sake, here's to hoping Jones' squad plays like itself with a potential division title game ahead.