Packers will take fine-tooth comb to loss vs. 49ers, Matt LaFleur says

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- It will likely be a painful film session, but a thorough review of what happened to the Green Bay Packers in their season-worst 37-8 loss at the San Francisco 49ers will be a necessary task for coach Matt LaFleur.

It's on his early-week to-do list before Sunday's NFC Championship Game rematch at Levi's Stadium.

"I've got to go back and watch that tape again to really try to grasp what happened and why it happened and how can we adjust and what are we going to do to ensure it doesn't happen [again]," LaFleur said Monday of the Week 12 game. "That'll happen over the next couple days."

LaFleur and his staff, of course, reviewed it in the immediate aftermath, and it led to a run of five consecutive victories to close out a 13-3 regular season that turned into an impressive 28-23 win over the Seattle Seahawks in Sunday's NFC divisional-round game at Lambeau Field. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers put on one of his best performances of the season against the Seahawks, a team that beat the 49ers in the regular season.

That was in contrast to Green Bay's loss to the 49ers on Nov. 24, when Rodgers managed just 104 yards passing for the second-lowest total in a game he started this season and also did not leave because of injury. Rodgers fumbled on the Packers' first possession while backed up in his own territory, and it was never a game after that.

The Packers' two trips to California this season have ended the same way, with non-competitive losses that led to introspection from LaFleur. The first-year head coach took the team to Los Angeles on Friday -- a day earlier than usual -- before the 26-11 loss at the Chargers on Nov. 3. He rethought that idea and went to the San Francisco Bay Area on a Saturday, but the result was the same.

LaFleur indicated Monday that he would go the Saturday route again.

"Well, we just had to fine-tune the things that we were doing," receiver Davante Adams said after the Seahawks game. "I think we were in a really good position going into that, the last time we played the Niners, and we just kind of coughed it up a little bit. We didn't go in with the greatest plan, we didn't go in with the right mindset to start the game. We turned the ball over early and put ourselves in a really bad position. So everybody being awoke to that, I think that'll be able to allow us to make a big change going into this next week."

The Packers opened as 7.5-point underdogs, only the fourth time in Rodgers' 191 career starts (including playoffs) that he's an underdog of a touchdown or more, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. He's lost all three: 2018 at the Rams (7.5-point underdog), the 2015 divisional round at Arizona (7) and the 2014 NFC Championship Game at Seattle (8.5).

Earlier Monday, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said he doesn't want his players thinking the first meeting will have any bearing on Sunday's conference championship game, telling his team, "Don't be that stupid."

The LaFleur-Shanahan connection -- they coached together with three different NFL teams -- was a dominant storyline ahead of the first meeting, as were the facts that LaFleur's brother, Mike, is on the 49ers' coaching staff and that LaFleur has a long friendship with San Francisco defensive coordinator Robert Saleh. The fallout from the November rout will likely be the narrative this week.

"I'm going to look at everything, and everything that anybody that's had success against them," LaFleur said. "I mean, that's a really good team in all three phases. They've got obviously one of the top defenses, I think it's one of the top offenses and they're really solid on special teams.

"So I've got a lot of respect for everybody over there. Richard Hightower does a great job with the special teams, you all know my relationship with Robert and what I think about him not only as a person but as a football coach, and I think Kyle does as good as anybody drawing up plays and scheming people as there is in the National Football League. So we have a big challenge in front of us. But it's something that I think our guys are going to roll up their sleeves and come in and prepare the right way and be ready to go."

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