The Green Bay Packers' offense looked like a shell of itself with Brett Hundley running the show Monday night versus the Detroit Lions at Lambeau Field.
Despite the early struggles from the young quarterback in the blowout 30-17 loss -- which wasn't even as close as the score indicated -- coach Mike McCarthy isn't ready to panic and ditch the Hundley experiment.
"I have great faith in Brett Hundley. Brett Hundley is not our issue right now," McCarthy said via the team's official website. "There's some very lopsided statistics. Look close at those. They told the story."
The coach later added: "I believe in Brett, and that's not just a press conference statement... He's got what it takes. He has it in his body, he has it in his mind, and he definitely has the heart."
Hundley's stat line doesn't look terrible: 26 of 38 for 245 yards with no interceptions and no touchdown passes, and four rushes for 22 yards and a TD dive. The third-year pro also earned much of that in garbage time, with the Lions up 14-plus points most of the second half. The Packers offense went four of six drives with five plays or fewer before Detroit took a seemingly insurmountable 20-3 lead.
Hundley struggled early with accuracy and far too often stares at pressure, missing receivers running open downfield. Resident NFL.com Next Gen Stats guru Matt Harmon went further in depth on Hundley's troubles last night.
The young quarterback showed flashes. On the opening drive of the game he used his legs to help churn out a 15-play drive that ended in a blocked field goal. Late in the blowout, Hundley showed he was comfortable in the no-huddle, calling plays from the line and moving the ball. A big play here or there early could have changed the complexion of the game -- a deep shot falling just out of Devante Adams' reach was a big one.
During the three-game skid, the Packers' warts have been laid bare, without Aaron Rodgers there to mask the hideous lumps. Green Bay's defense didn't force a single punt all game. Receivers didn't earn enough separation. The ground game struggled to find a footing. And the special teams flubbed a field goal.
(Somewhere, Rodgers' agent is clipping off the film of last night's game and sending it to Packers management with a note asking for $20 bajillion on a new contract extension.)
Could any quarterback step in for Rodgers and win consistently? McCarthy doesn't seem to believe so. NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported last week that the Packers looked at adding Brian Hoyer after the veteran was cut by the 49ers. McCarthy, however, brushed that off, suggesting it was merely the front office doing its due diligence.
"We can't let this loss or the last loss define us as a team," Hundley said after Monday's game. "We have to shake this off."
"It hurts. I want to stand up here with a W. Tomorrow I'm going to wake up, God's blessed us with another day, and we've got to go to work."
Unless McCarthy changes his mind, that day of work won't involve a new veteran signal-caller in the quarterback room.