The Green Bay Packers strutted to L.A. rolling, winners of four straight with an offense clicking. They left with the truck stranded in the mud on the side of the road.
"We're kind of rolling, 7-1, and starting to listen to the chatter maybe a little too much. I think this will be a good thing for us. We'll regroup, go back home and play another good team [Carolina] before the bye."
The previous four weeks, the Packers scored 32.5 points per game, averaged 409.3 yards, 292.3 passing yards and compiled a whopping 33 big plays (20-plus yard passes or 10-plus yard rushes). Rodgers earned a perfect passer rating two weeks ago, and accounted for 11 touchdowns the past three games.
The Packers put up 50 total yards in the first half with just three first downs. By the end of the third quarter that total was up to just 84 yards. After a couple garbage-time drives when the deficit was already massive -- and could have been worse -- Green Bay finished with 184 total yards, the fewest in a game that Rodgers started and finished since Week 16, 2016 (vs. Cardinals; 178). The Packers gained 50 or fewer first-half yards in a Rodgers start for the first time since Week 8, 2009 versus Brett Favre's Vikings (MIN won 38-26).
It wasn't just Rodgers and the pass attack that was stymied, with the Chargers picking up three sacks and seven QB hits. The ground game, which had been so potent during the winning streak, was stuck in quicksand. Aaron Jones compiled 29 scrimmage yards with 30 yards rushing -- I think you can do the math there.
"We've got to be honest about our routine and decisions we made the last 48 hours and make sure that our heads are in the right place the next time we come on a big road trip, which will just be in three weeks," Rodgers said, referring to the Nov. 24 game at San Francisco.
"I think it can happen to any team," Rodgers added of the loss. "I don't think it was complacency at all. Whether it was the trip, not everybody taking care of themselves the right way over the two days or we were just tired or the differences in temperature, but those are just excuses. The facts are that we weren't locked in from the start, and that's a little disappointing."
A little disappointing can turn into a lot of disappointing for Green Bay if Sunday's ills spread and become more than a little bump in the road along the way to a playoff berth.