GREEN BAY – Brett Hundley said it over and over again following Sunday’s 23-0 loss to the Ravens.
“I’m going to learn a lot from this game” was the refrain, or some version of it.
There’s not much else to say, especially when the education began on the game’s very first drive.
Hundley opened by efficiently directing the Packers to second-and-goal at the 5. With Randall Cobb in the slot to his left and Davante Adams out wide to the same side, Hundley saw cornerback Jimmy Smith across from Adams and no one on Cobb.
Easy touchdown, right?
Not when a veteran, savvy defense can make zone coverage at the goal line look like man-to-man. Or maybe Hundley did have them in an “awkward defense,” as he said, but the Ravens are astute enough to make split-second, on-the-fly adjustments.
Either way, Hundley did not have the upper hand he thought he did. As Cobb angled toward the back corner of the end zone, seemingly uncovered, Smith dropped off Adams and put himself right in the throwing lane to pick off Hundley’s pass.
“I can’t just get locked in on thinking something, I have to read it out every time,” Hundley said. “That comes from experience. I’ll learn for sure from that.”
Hundley didn’t say he went back out trying to make up for the goal-line error, but he definitely tried to do too much on his next drive.
Scrambling on second-and-long, he fired deep down the sideline to tight end Lance Kendricks, but safety Eric Weddle floated over for a gift interception. Hundley admitted his head wasn’t in the right place.
“I just have to lead this offense and take what’s there, really, not try to force anything,” he said. “You don’t need the chunk plays. The second interception was a chunk-play mentality, and it ends up in the wrong hands.”
From there, the game kept going sideways. In taking six sacks, Hundley said he’s trying to figure out when it’s best to bolt the pocket versus try to move around within it, but a defense as good as the Ravens’ doesn’t make that thought process a simple one.
Rookie Devante Mays’ fumble on his first pro carry caused Head Coach Mike McCarthy to lose confidence in him, and McCarthy suggested he shrunk his own playbook as a result.
The offense was in a tough spot, and McCarthy vowed to do more to help Hundley work through it, reiterating he’s not changing quarterbacks.
“Drama will not be part of our operation,” he said.
Green Bay’s defense got a turnover of its own, limited the Ravens to just 58 rushing yards, sacked Joe Flacco three times, and held Baltimore in check despite positive field position for the visitors for much of the game.
Efforts like that will help Hundley next week in Pittsburgh and moving forward, but given the Packers’ defensive struggles against quarterbacks Drew Brees and Matthew Stafford in Hundley’s first two starts, it was a shame to waste the solid showing against Flacco.
“It sucks, it hurts,” Hundley said. “Especially when you know, this kind of game, we could have won this. But we just didn’t do it today.”
His education remains ongoing, he’s now gone through ups as well as downs, and his life isn’t getting any easier with the Pittsburgh Steelers on deck, on the road, in prime time.
If there’s not much else to say but how he’ll learn from this, there’s also not much else to do but take it all in and get back at it.
“I just have to be better,” Hundley said. “I can’t expect to be perfect but at the end of the day I can expect to be better than this.”
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