Packers push forward after bitter loss

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange


A festive atmosphere goes with the territory on game day at Lambeau Field.
What Packers head coach Mike McCarthy doesn't want Sunday, when his team hosts the New Orleans Saints, is for a pity party to break out.
Not even 48 hours separated from perhaps the biggest injustice ever given to an NFL team in a game, McCarthy had his wronged and disgruntled players on the fast track toward doing right next time out.
"I look at this week no different than any other week," McCarthy said Wednesday. "Our experience the last couple days has definitely been different, unique. You cannot deny that or throw it off to the side. I think it'd be foolish.
"(But) we are about one thing (this week) -- and that's New Orleans," he added. "We're focused on New Orleans. And, frankly, all we want to talk about is New Orleans."
Athletes in competitive sports are conditioned to have a short memory and, regardless of whether the most recent experience was positive or negative, move on to the next challenge. That isn't so easy, in theory, for a Packers team that went from being 12-7 winners on a would-be interception by safety M.D. Jennings to 14-12 losers on a controversial touchdown catch awarded to the Seattle Seahawks' Golden Tate on the final play of the game Monday night.
The silver lining is that by being on a short week and having to play again six days later the Packers have no more time to scream, vent, swear, lament, pout and wonder why their season record is 1-2, not 2-1.
"I think as players you've had tough losses before and it's frustrating, but you know you've got to move on," said center Jeff Saturday, a 14th-year veteran. "It's not the way you want to lose -- you don't ever want to lose. But, at the end of the day, it's a loss, (and) you have to put it behind you."
With the possibility the replacement referees (who have become the scorn of Packers fans after the shenanigans that transpired Monday) will be replaced by the locked-out regular refs for this week's slate of games, cooler heads could prevail in the Lambeau stands. Up until Wednesday's encouraging news that a new labor deal between the league and the referees may be on the horizon, speculation was all over the place about how the Lambeau crowd would welcome the next crew of replacement refs Sunday.
After all, the favorite team of those ardent fans still is peeved.
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers on Wednesday after practice referred to the statement released by the NFL that supported the last-second touchdown call on the field as "a bogus report."
McCarthy is all for his players' taking whatever frustration may be lingering Sunday out on the Saints.
"I love emotion," McCarthy said. "Emotion is the engine that makes this thing go. I'm for any kind of emotion, as long as it's channeled properly. So, if you want to talk about chips on your shoulder, whatever it is, the only emotion that I don't care about is self-pity. We're not the victim. Nothing is guaranteed to you. The game of football is not perfect. That's why you play the whole game, and at the end of the game, one team walks off as the winner."
As unsightly as their 1-2 record is, the Packers will have to contend with perhaps an equally ornery Saints squad. New Orleans is 0-3, and its season would likely be on the brink of collapsing if it can't win Sunday.
"We've got work to do, and that's take care of the Saints, get to 2-2 at the end of the first quarter (of the season) and give ourselves a shot at the playoff picture," Saturday said.