Matt LaFleur Talks Packers' 'Bothersome' NFC Championship Game Effort vs. 49ers

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistJanuary 22, 2020

Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur speaks during a news conference after their loss against the San Francisco 49ers in the NFL NFC Championship football game Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020, in Santa Clara, Calif. The 49ers won 37-20 to advance to Super Bowl 54 against the Kansas City Chiefs. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

The Green Bay Packers were steamrolled Sunday by the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game in a 37-20 loss that wasn't even as close as the score indicates.

Head coach Matt LaFleur opened up during a news conference Wednesday about what he said was a lack of urgency and effort, per Rob Demovsky of ESPN:

"That's something that I'm still trying to figure out right now as we speak. I mean, I don't understand that because you're there. You have an opportunity to go to play in a Super Bowl. And for that to happen, it's extremely...it's bothersome. We have to look at ourselves, everybody. I'm going to look inside of myself and see why weren't our players playing with their hair on fire. I think everybody in our organization has to do that."

While the offense was held scoreless during the first half and didn't find a rhythm until Green Bay was in a 27-0 hole, the defense was even more to blame for the failure.

Raheem Mostert torched the Packers to the tune of 220 rushing yards and four touchdowns as San Francisco threw the ball just eight times. There was no need for the 49ers to force the issue through the air because Mostert was picking up chunks of yards almost every time he touched the ball.

LaFleur was asked about the defense and addressed the status of defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, who joined previous head coach Mike McCarthy's staff last year. LaFleur said the 49ers "definitely outcoached us" but deferred on Pettine, saying, "We're still working through everything right now, just trying to evaluate everything."

The defense was a bend-but-don't-break unit, finishing 18th in the league in yards allowed but ninth in points allowed. It broke with a spot in the Super Bowl hanging in the balance.

LaFleur also said "there obviously is" when asked if there was a notable gap between his team and the 49ers, who had defeated the Packers 37-8 in Week 12.

That stood in stark contrast to quarterback Aaron Rodgers' take. He said: "They got us a couple times, but I don't think it's that big. I think we're really close."

Perhaps more urgency the next time the teams meet can help close that gap.

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