Aaron Rodgers hopes to see ‘Packer World’ back in London despite defeat
Aaron Rodgers hopes the Green Bay Packers will soon get another chance to play across the pond after their much-anticipated London debut ended in a shock defeat to the improving New York Giants.
Having waited 15 years since the NFL began its international series, a little bit of Lambeau Field came to the capital as the Packers became the 32nd and final team to cross the Atlantic for a regular season game.
Green Bay looked in control during a first half that began with touchdowns for Allen Lazard and Marcedes Lewis, before Daniel Bellinger ran home at the end of a superb Giants trick play at the sold-out Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Matt LaFleur’s team were 20-10 up at the break, but Gary Brightwell and Saquon Barkley touchdowns complemented elite defensive play as the Giants roared back to win 27-22 and frustrate the Packers’ expectant fans.
“Well, first of all, we’re sorry,” quarterback Rodgers, the reigning MVP, said smiling. “We wanted to come here and put on a show, win a football game.
“The crowd was outstanding. This was just a fantastic experience I think for all of us.
“There’s guys in the locker room that have never been across the pond. Just the hospitality from the fans.
“When we were out, me and Allen on Friday, was outstanding. The crowd response today, taking the field, was incredible.
“Seeing the different flags from different countries was amazing. The fans were loud the entire time. It was outstanding.
“So much love for Packer World. I think we can say that now. It’s been Packer Nation for the first hundred and couple years.
“Hopefully the team will get a chance to come back and play here again because it was a special week for all of us, one that we’ll never forget.”
Rodgers said the experience in England would have been a “little sweeter with a win”, admitting they need to “handle adversity a little bit better” and find “that rhythm, that steadiness”.
They kicked our butt in the second half
Packers head coach LaFleur did not hide his emotions quite as well after the defeat.
“Obviously this is as disappointing as it gets for us,” he said. “Give New York all the credit – they out-coached us, they outplayed us.
“They definitely wanted it more. It was the tale of two halves. They kicked our butt in the second half. You can’t do that in this league.”
The 32nd game in London was the first between two teams with winning records and few predicted it would be the Giants moving on to 4-1, meaning they have already matched last season’s win total.
Daniel Jones impressed at quarterback and the defence stepped up in the second half, when the only points Green Bay scored was the late safety New York gave up to run down the clock.
It was another stunning display by running back Barkley that got them over the line, with Giants head coach Brian Daboll delighted by his team’s efforts in the capital.
“Hard-fought win,” he said. “Again, it came down to the end. Our guys competed for 60 minutes, made a few more plays than Green Bay.
“They are a good football team. We got things to work on. Obviously, some nicks, some bumps, some bruises. Long trip back. So, get at it and go next week.
“I appreciate all the support, the crowd support here. It was obviously a lot of Packers fans – it felt like an away game, which I know was their home game but at the end of the game it felt like a home game.”
As for battler Barkley, the running back’s toughness in bouncing back from what appeared to be a game-ending shoulder injury delighted Daboll.
“I kept asking him on the sideline, ‘Are you good to go?’ He was good to go,” he said.
“We’ll see where he’s at but you know, hopefully he’ll be ready to go next week.
“He’s a competitor. That’s what I say about Saquon. He competes.”
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