Packers #12 Aaron Rodgers New Season Jerseys

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Packers #12 Aaron Rodgers New Season Jerseys

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Matt LaFleur stopped at a TV on his way into the Lambeau Field media auditorium to watch the end of the San Francisco 49ers-New Orleans Saints shootout.

"I may have caught the end of it," the Green Bay Packers coach said.

The 49ers' 48-46 last-second win over the Saints helped move Green Bay into the No. 2 spot in the NFC, but after another middling performance from the Packers in Sunday's 20-15 win over the Washington Redskins, it's worth wondering what LaFleur's team needs to do to put up points like those two teams.

"I think if we had the answers right now, you wouldn't be seeing what you saw today," LaFleur said.

What everyone saw was a second straight game against a losing team from the NFL's worst division take the Packers all the way to the fourth quarter before they could exhale.

Despite a productive day from running back Aaron Jones -- 192 total yards from scrimmage (134 rushing, 58 receiving) and his team-leading 15th touchdown -- and four sacks of Redskins quarterback Dwayne Haskins, it was far from the dominating performance that was expected against a team with a rookie quarterback and an interim head coach.

"It was frustrating at times just not being able to get over that hump and put them away," Rodgers said.

"But it feels good to be 10-3," Rodgers added.

Rodgers threw for just 195 yards and one touchdown on 18-of-28 passing despite having more time to throw than he's had in an game over the past four seasons. According to NFL Next Gen Stats, Rodgers averaged 3.5 seconds to throw and only 3.6% of his passes were thrown into a tight window (also his lowest in a game he completed over the past four seasons). He also was pressured on only 24% of his dropbacks, below his season average of 28%.

"It might be ugly at times to maybe some folks, but we ran the ball today for 180 yards or so and got Aaron Jones going," Rodgers said. "Different teams have thrown different things at us. I just think we need to be a little more consistent at times. I don't think we had maybe the same type of flow after the first couple early drives with just the energy. We just missed on a couple things. We've got to clean some of that stuff up, but I wouldn't mind winning ugly all the way to the Super Bowl."

And yet Rodgers said he wasn't concerned about the way they've been winning.

"We're finding ways to win," Rodgers said. "That's the most important thing. I think we're learning a lot through the process. I know there's a lot of conversation about the identity of the offense and all that stuff. We're figuring it out week to week, I think. This week, we got Jimmy [Graham] going with a couple passes early, got Aaron Jones going in the run game. We were too inconsistent on first down, which put us in some holes, and we missed a couple throws and didn't convert a couple third downs we had a chance to do, I fumbled on a two-minute drive and took points off the board. That all led to us not being able to put them away."

Still, the Packers are assured of breaking a run of two straight losing seasons but after getting blown out by the 49ers last month and struggling to put away the Giants and Redskins in the ensuing weeks, there were plenty of questions about how far they can go. They have three games remaining -- all against NFC North teams -- beginning with the Bears (7-6) on Sunday and at the Vikings (9-4) in Week 16 on Monday Night Football before the finale at the Lions (3-9-1).

And then there's whatever would come in the playoffs, including a potential rematch against the 49ers (11-2) or games against the Saints (10-3) or Seahawks (10-2).

As veteran right tackle Bryan Bulaga said when asked how they can beat teams of that caliber playing the way they did on Sunday, "It's definitely going to make it difficult to beat those [top] teams, let's just put it that way. You go into division play -- and we all know each other so well -- we're going to need to be better. And it starts this coming week with Chicago. We're going to have to be better and perform better and just go back to work and clean things up."

Like he's done all year, LaFleur, who on Sunday set the Packers' record for most wins by a first-year coach, put the blame squarely on himself.

"There's stuff I'm sure I'm going to look at and be upset at myself about," he said. "I've got to be better for this team."

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