KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Inexperienced Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur lamented not having a ok plan. His quarterback, Jordan Love, emphasised that he wanted to play higher. There have been different gamers who talked about missed alternatives and important miscues, however the backside line is the Packers did not do proper by their second-year signal-caller. This was a recreation the place he deserved much more help than he acquired.
Love’s first NFL begin Sunday ended with a 13-7 loss to the Kansas Metropolis Chiefs. The result simply might’ve gone the opposite method if not for a collection of particular groups errors that killed the Packers. Inexperienced Bay had one missed area purpose, watched one other one blocked and likewise allowed the Chiefs to recuperate a muffed punt return contained in the Packers’ 10-yard line late within the second quarter. These forms of errors will damage the debut of any younger quarterback on this league.
Love could be extra prepared to simply accept that at some later date. After Sunday’s recreation, he was extra essential of his play and his incapacity to beat these setbacks whereas making an attempt to switch starter Aaron Rodgers.
“It isn’t ok,” Love mentioned when requested to evaluate his efficiency. “We began off slightly gradual. I began off slightly gradual, personally. I acquired right into a little bit of a rhythm later, however clearly, it was too late.”
We knew this recreation was going to be all about Love. As a lot because the Chiefs are attempting to construct momentum after a sluggish begin to their very own season, the Packers had been much more intriguing as a result of Rodgers could not play on this contest after contracting COVID-19. The quarterback scenario in Inexperienced Bay has been a provocative matter ever because the crew chosen Love twenty sixth total within the 2020 draft, and Rodgers spent most of this previous offseason fuming over years of what he thought of disrespectful therapy by the group. This was the competition that might give us some indication of why Love was price that funding within the first place.
Love claimed he wasn’t ok on Sunday, however in some ways, he was. He wasn’t going to stroll into this example and throw for 400 yards and three touchdowns. The extra probably state of affairs was precisely what performed out. He’d look terrible at occasions, uncomfortable at others and blend in some flashes of promise someplace in between for a crew that simply fell to 7-2 on the season.
Love wound up with respectable numbers for a debut, as he accomplished 19 of 34 passes for 190 yards with one landing and one interception. The Packers typically fizzled on third downs — changing simply two of their 12 alternatives — however that additionally had a lot to do with the relentless blitzing Love confronted from the Chiefs. That is the place LaFleur mentioned he let down his quarterback. When Love was requested to sit down within the pocket and make throws towards such intense strain, he typically failed.
Love in the end discovered extra momentum with shorter, safer throws within the second half, as he led the Packers on their solely scoring drive of the sport within the fourth quarter. That collection ended with him throwing a 20-yard landing cross to large receiver Allen Lazard with 4:54 left within the recreation.
“Inside performs, there are longer-developing performs, and if you cannot defend, it is sort of exhausting to throw out of your again,” LaFleur mentioned. “There have been a pair performs the place he acquired out of some stuff … however I am dissatisfied that we did not deal the ball sooner and name issues that may present slightly bit faster for him.”
LaFleur ought to’ve been extra essential of his kicking recreation. Probably the most he would say was that the Packers “might’ve used the six factors” that did not come from these missed area targets and that his crew just about gave the Chiefs one other area purpose with that muffed punt return (Packers large receiver Malik Taylor fell down and had the soccer skip off his proper foot earlier than Chiefs cornerback Chris Lammons recovered it on the Packers’ 10-yard line).
The Packers’ protection did its half, limiting the Chiefs to only 237 whole yards, the bottom quantity since Patrick Mahomes turned Kansas Metropolis’s beginning quarterback in 2018. There have been performs that Love certainly wished to have again — reminiscent of when Chiefs cornerback L’Jarius Sneed muscled a cross away from Davante Adams for an interception — however that stuff goes to occur to novice signal-callers. The extra promising facet of Love’s efficiency was his toughness. He took a number of hits from Kansas Metropolis’s strain and did not wilt within the second half.
If something, he gave his crew an opportunity to win within the fourth quarter due to his poise.
“The surroundings, the quantity of strain, the hits he took, standing in there and nonetheless delivering the ball and giving us a possibility on the finish of the sport, he confirmed a number of resilience,” LaFleur mentioned. “And that is an excellent high quality to have in a quarterback.”
This might be the final time we see Love this season. Per the NFL’s COVID protocol, Rodgers should quarantine for 10 days from the date of his constructive take a look at, which implies he might be eligible to return in time for Inexperienced Bay’s recreation towards Seattle subsequent Sunday. Love will nonetheless be able to observe with the first-team offense this week, as a result of Saturday is the earliest Rodgers can return to the sector. Nonetheless, LaFleur acknowledged the apparent — that Rodgers is greater than able to taking part in a recreation with out being concerned in observe throughout the week.
We additionally realized a number of issues about Love. The sport seemed to be too quick for him early, however then his mobility and arm energy allowed him to make performs off script when the second required such improvisation. He is a good distance from giving Packers followers a purpose to ponder the probabilities as soon as Rodgers strikes on. He is additionally not a practice wreck, which might’ve been obvious in a marquee recreation like this.
“You by no means know when that chance goes to come back and I acquired it at this time,” Love mentioned. “Clearly, we had a number of possibilities. Protection performed a very good recreation and gave us a number of possibilities. That is what is most disappointing. I wasn’t capable of execute, and we weren’t capable of end and get extra factors on the board early.”
That may be a predictable response in a second like this. Love is a competitor, and he is nicely conscious of the scenario he is been positioned in. There’s little doubt he wished to come back into this contest and depart a robust impression on anyone who noticed him play. He most likely wanted to show a number of issues to himself after taking part in hardly any soccer over the previous 17 months.
It probably will likely be a superb period of time earlier than we see him once more. There additionally would be the looming query of what occurs to Rodgers after this season ends. Love did not do sufficient to make that predicament any simpler to determine as soon as it arrives. What he did do was study a strong lesson that may assist him in the long term: Each quarterback wants loads of assist to win at this degree.
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