GREEN BAY—Mike McCarthy told his players in their Saturday night team meeting that he felt they were a very “consistent” bunch.
Then they went out and proved him right against arguably the best team in the AFC.
Performance-wise, the Packers moved the ball effectively, as they’ve done at home all season. The only negatives were the struggles in the red zone. Emotionally, they stayed steady and hung tough, particularly on defense, in the 26-21 victory over the Patriots.
“Every year you get an understanding of the type of team that you have, and one characteristic jumps out more than others,” McCarthy said on Monday. “This is clearly the most consistent team in my nine years. The way they prepare … they don’t have a bunch of personalities that go up and down.”
There wasn’t much over-exuberance in the locker room after the game when the media entered for interviews, another sign of their focus and discipline, according to McCarthy. He did suggest, though, there was a bit of celebrating going on before reporters entered.
“I just think they were mesmerized with the fact they got an extra day off,” joked McCarthy, who told the players they wouldn’t be practicing until Thursday with a Monday night game coming up.
“Hey, it was a fun locker room. A lot went into that game, for both teams. They were probably tired more than anything.”
The extra day off should help in that regard, and the offense will come back to work eager to attack the red-zone issues that bogged the offense down on Sunday.
The Packers went 0-for-4 in the red zone with drives stalling in New England territory at the 14-, 17-, 15- and 10-yard lines. All resulted in field goals. Another drive nearly reached the red zone, stopping at the 22, and ended with a missed field goal.
McCarthy gave credit to the Patriots defense, which produced a big third-down sack to kill one drive, but he also pointed to his own team’s execution. Rookie receiver Davante Adams, who had the best game of his young career with six catches for 121 yards, dropped a sure touchdown in the fourth quarter.
“Every man on offense has a high sense of urgency toward our red-zone meeting this week, and that’s the way it has to be,” McCarthy said. “Total team accountability.”
That mindset will remain as the Packers enter the final month of the regular season. At 9-3 and with four straight wins, they’re tied for the best record in the NFC, yet they have not clinched a playoff spot nor come close to winning the NFC North at this point. At 8-4, Detroit remains one game behind and visits Lambeau Field in Week 17.
Plenty will be on the line each week, beginning next Monday against the NFC South-leading Falcons. That should keep at a premium the “consistency” the Packers showed in their most impressive win to date.
“It’s the way you want to go into the fourth quarter,” McCarthy said. “We’ve had a very good month of November. Our goal is to play better in December than November.”
ADDITIONAL COVERAGE - DEC. 1