They did know this: Despite Sunday night’s tough 31-27 loss at New England, the Packers still are virtually assured of a playoff spot if they win their final two games.
Even after watching yet another close game go the wrong way _ all six of the Packers‘ losses this season have come by four points or fewer _ Packers coach Mike McCarthy generally was upbeat about the way his team played in a road game against the NFL’s hottest team with Rodgers on the sideline.
“You get angry, and you don’t sweep anything under the rug,” McCarthy said Monday. “There was a lot of positive aspects of the game last night that would lead to a very high performance level, and there’s some things that we need to do a better job in, particularly in critical points in the game.”
“We’re still going through our medical process now with all of our players,” McCarthy said.
Backup Matt Flynn played well in Rodgers‘ place, throwing for 251 yards with three touchdowns and an interception. He nearly rallied the Packers late in the fourth quarter, but a late drive ended with a sack.
“It’s a tough one to swallow,” Flynn said after the game. “It makes you sit there and think what you could have done different, make a play here, just things that kind of eat you up that you can’t stop thinking about. It’s definitely tough to swallow, but we’ve got to look forward. We’ve got two games left and we’ve still got things in front of us.”
“Me and Aaron talked all week,” Flynn said. “He just told me to cut it loose and have fun out there, trust your preparation, trust your reads. He was with me the whole time on the sideline, talking to me. He was a big help to me.”
Flynn said his inexperience wasn’t a factor on the final drive.
The Packers were driving toward what could have been a game-winning touchdown, but got bogged down after a sack forced them to burn their third timeout with just under a minute remaining. A third-down pass from Flynn to Donald Driver came close to the first down marker, but the Packers lost valuable time while waiting to officials to determine if it was first down or fourth down.
They ended up a yard short. Flynn got one last snap off with the clock running down, but was sacked on the final play.
“That third-down play, we couldn’t really tell if we got the first down or not,” Flynn said. “We would have gone up and clocked the ball and had an opportunity to call a better play, but once they spotted it late, it was fourth down and we just had to go. I don’t feel like it was inexperience. I’ve been around the game and we work 2-minute drills all the time.”