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“Squarely This Thing Falls on Me” is a phrase that means to be in the middle of something with no escape. The meaning of this phrase is to face squarely meaning to be brave and not run away from your problems.
The Green Bay Packers have lost a football game for the second time this season. Jordan Love, who was making his first NFL debut, looked like a rookie quarterback making his first NFL start. The Packers, who were defeated 13-7 by the Kansas City Chiefs, have now lost for the first time since Week 1.
For Green Bay, it wasn’t a nice game. It wasn’t a nice game for either side, to be honest. Green Bay, currently 7-2, mustered only one touchdown and went 2-of-12 on third down with Aaron Rodgers at home due to a positive COVID-19 test.
Kansas City’s offense, on the other hand, didn’t fare any better, as the Chiefs continued to struggle.
Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs eventually won to move to 5-4, leaving the Packers with a few key problems to address.
Love is the farthest thing from their minds.
Matt LaFleur, the head coach of the Green Bay Packers, took full responsibility for the defeat.
Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur on the sidelines during the fourth quarter of their game at Arrowhead Stadium against the Kansas City Chiefs | Jamie Squire/Getty Images
It’s easy to point to the Packers’ lackluster performance without Rodgers and blame the defeat on Love. After all, Green Bay had a Top 15 offense that averaged over 20 points per game coming into the matchup. On the other side, Kansas City has been a disaster on defense. Surprisingly, the Packers were unable to capitalize.
Love, to be honest, wasn’t all that amazing. He threw for 190 yards on 19-of-34 passing with one touchdown and one interception. He only managed 5.6 yards per pass on average, and he was constantly pressured by Kansas City’s defense.
Failure to prepare for pressure, according to LaFleur, is all on him, and not on the shoulders of the rookie quarterback.
“It wasn’t necessarily any one guy,” LaFleur stated on the team’s website after the defeat. “There’s a lot that has to be fixed. This is all my fault — I just did not have a solid enough game plan to go out there against that pressure, particularly with a rookie quarterback.”
Although the Chiefs only had one official sack, they blitzed Love in every key moment. That also makes sense. That’s how you defend a rookie quarterback, and it’s surprising Green Bay wasn’t ready for that.
Despite just recording one sack, Kansas City was able to hit Love seven times. He ended with a 27.5 quarterback rating and a 69.5 passing rating.
Love’s act did have a silver lining.
To predict that Rodgers would enter the field in Kansas City and pass for four touchdowns and 400 yards would be a cop-out. Of course, with the three-time MVP, that sort of stat line is always feasible, but using made-up data to undercut Love’s performance isn’t fair.
No, Love didn’t set the world on fire the way Green Bay general manager Brian Gutekunst had hoped he would. Yes, he seemed to be outmatched at times, and he was probably taken aback by the quickness of an NFL defense in a real game. Remember, this was not only Love’s first start, but also his first appearance in a regular-season game outside of garbage time.
Love is essentially a first-year quarterback. In 2020, he didn’t play at all and has only seen limited action with Green Bay’s first-team offense.
While he struggled at times in that situation, he also looked excellent at moments. Love has a strong arm and is athletic enough to play in the NFL today. He demonstrated a solid throw with a tight spiral at times, demonstrating that he has the physical attributes to thrive in the NFL.
Love’s fourth-quarter touchdown drive was really rather promising. Love threw a 20-yard touchdown throw to Allen Lazard to cap a 10-play, 53-yard drive for the Packers. In that drive, Love connected with Randall Cobb for 15 yards on a 3rd-and-10 situation. On 4th-and-5 with a lot of pressure on him, he threw a gutsy touchdown ball to Lazard.
In the end, the Packers’ head coach commended Love for his performance in his first start. He also bemoaned the fact that his offensive was unprepared to protect the rookie quarterback, which he believes was a coaching error.
“I think Jordan performed quite well, and I was very pleased of him.” According to ESPN, LaFleur remarked, “He stuck in there, absorbing hits and delivering the ball.” He performed an excellent job, in my opinion. But I believe that, in the end, I must be better, and this responsibility lies entirely on my shoulders.”
LaFleur knows he has failed his young quarterback.
Green Bay’s special teams are a stumbling block.
Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur watches the game against the Detroit Lions at Lambeau Field in the second half | Quinn Harris/Getty Images
If Rodgers is available, LaFleur stated the Packers would start him in their next game against the Seattle Seahawks, but Green Bay has a bigger concern.
The Packers’ special teams have always been a problem for them, and this season has been no different. Maurice Drayton’s special teams squad boasts a superb punter in Corey Bojorquez, but the rest of the unit has been much too prone to errors. They’ve turned into a liability for a club that, on paper, seems to be a Super Bowl contender, particularly now that the defense is gelling.
Green Bay’s greatest problem has been veteran kicker Mason Crosby and the field goal unit, which is shocking. Crosby’s bizarre game against the Bengals may go down in history as one of his worst, but he had another bad day against the Chiefs.
Crosby’s 40-yard field goal attempt was wide left, while his 37-yard field goal attempt was blocked. Green Bay’s special teams also failed with 2:48 remaining in the second half, when rookie returner Amari Rodgers let the ball bounce near the end zone and off Malik Taylor’s foot. The Chiefs regained possession on Green Bay’s 10-yard line and converted a field goal to extend their lead to 10-0 at halftime.
Green Bay’s special teams cost them nine points in a six-point defeat.
“Obviously, the six points might have helped us,” LaFleur said. “And when we mishandled the ball, we practically gifted them points. That’s not going to happen.”
In the NFL, winning is a team effort, and losing is a team effort as well. Even Rodgers would have struggled to make up for nine points surrendered on special teams while on the road at Arrowhead, thus Love was not to blame for the loss.
Finally, Love made an impact on his teammates with his very first start. He may not have been the three-time MVP, but he played like a starting NFL quarterback.
Starting running back Aaron Jones stated, “He took charge of the huddle even when we were down 13-0, he’s still in the huddle, ‘Hey, we need a play, come on guys, let’s lock in.” “You want to hear all the right things from your quarterback, and you can see in that game he never got down on himself and just kept playing.”
ESPN and Pro Football Reference provided the statistics.
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