DENVER (AP)Jordan Love had a receiver open in the flat late in the fourth quarter, trailing by two. Instead, he tried to go deep.
His pass was intercepted.
It was another loss and more growing pains for Love and the young Packers offense, which scuffled once again while falling 19-17 to the equally scuffling Denver Broncos on Sunday.
Love is frustrated by the offensive inefficiency. So is coach Matt LaFleur. Same with the defense, which held Russell Wilson and the Broncos (2-5) largely in check and rallied to take a 17-16 lead midway through the fourth quarter.
“We just lost to Denver. Not saying they’re terrible, but come on,” defensive back Rasul Douglas said after Green Bay’s fourth loss in five games. “We’ve got to win – and it’s just hard for us to win. Whatever we’ve got to do to change that, I think that’s what we’ve got to do.”
The Packers (2-4) can’t find any rhythm on offense, especially early. They’ve been outscored 63-6 in the first half of their last four games and trailed Denver 9-0 at halftime.
“Obviously, extremely disappointed,” LaFleur said. “We just keeping digging ourselves in a hole. Give credit to Denver. They did enough to win, but it’s just disappointing to have no points at the half. … It’s just way too fragmented and just not consistent execution.”
Love took over as Green Bay’s starter when the Packers traded Aaron Rodgers to the New York Jets last spring, and it’s been a rocky transition.
Case in point: Love had running back AJ Dillion open in the left flat for what would have been a big gain on third-and-20 from the Green Bay 46 in the waning minutes. But Love looked deep and his heave to Samori Toure was picked off by backup safety P.J. Locke.
Any thoughts of checking down to the running back?
“Yeah, I mean you can look on it and say that you could have done so many different things,” said Love, who threw for 180 yards and two touchdowns along with the interception. “That’s part of the process of learning and growing. But yeah, check it down and you go for it on fourth-and-12, who knows what happens? It’s one of those things – what if?”
LaFleur shouldered the blame, too.
“Probably should’ve called a safer play where you get half of it and try to set yourself up for a manageable situation on the next down,” LaFleur said. “We took a shot. Obviously, we didn’t come through.”
Running back Aaron Jones put a more positive spin on things. Next time, he reasoned, Love will have another dose of experience in this type of situation.
“Expectation level is the same as it is for (Rodgers),” Jones said. “We know (Love) is just as capable. He can take us down that field. He’s done it many times. Just didn’t go our way.
“Jordan will be better and we’ll be better from this game.”
The Packers’ defense did its part as the Broncos were 1 of 4 in red-zone efficiency. Trailing 17-16, the Broncos drove for a go-ahead 52-yard field goal by Wil Lutz with 3:50 remaining.
The Packers need faster starts so they’re not always playing catch-up after halftime.
“I don’t know who we think we are. But I guess we’re just supposed to be some miracle, second-half team, ‘Space Jam,’ everybody drink the juice or whatever, and just win,” Douglas said. “That (expletive) is just not the NFL. You’re not doing that. So you have to come out and you’ve got to do whatever (we’re doing) in the second half in the first half and then repeat that again in the second half. Once we do that, we’re good.”
NOTES: LaFleur had no updates on the injuries to defensive backs Darnell Savage (calf) and Eric Stokes (hamstring), defensive lineman Devonte Wyatt (knee) and tight end Luke Musgrave (ankle). Musgrave left the game after taking an illegal hit from hard-hitting safety Kareem Jackson on an 18-yard reception along the Packers sideline. Jackson was ejected for the second time this season.
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