Down 8 points, 2:09 left, 4th & Goal, MVP Quarterback, #1 offense in the NFL, struggling defense.
Matt LaFleur kicked it.
He took his star quarterback and stud red zone receiver out of the game to kick the field goal.
Now, instead of needing a touchdown, the Packers needed a touchdown.
This will be the moment I’ll remember as a Packers bettor on Sunday.
This is a fireable offense of Matt LaFleur.
The hold that was subsequently called on Chris Godwin that put the game away was a hold. Unfortunately, there were a multitude of uncalled holds all game on both sides, and the refs decided the waning minutes were the right opportunity to bring the flags out.
Matt LaFleur is the reason it happened. You don’t kick a field goal down 8 with two minutes to go.
Instead of putting faith in his number-one offense to get a score and a two point conversation, he decided to trust his middling defense that had already let the Buccaneers score 31 points.
An awful decision no matter how you slice it.
What do the Packers Do From Here?
This was Green Bay’s second straight loss in the NFC Championship Game.
After neglecting to find much talent in the 2020 draft besides the unknown of Jordan Love, what’s Green Bay’s next move?
Rodgers was clearly disgusted by the playcall:
Yes, Rodgers should’ve scrambled on 3rd & Goal, as it looked like he had a clear path to the endzone. (10:34 mark)
Despite that misread, Rodgers had one hell of a season. He should win MVP, though recency bias of Patrick Mahomes still playing may tip it back to him.
On the year, Rodgers threw 53 touchdowns to six interceptions. Because of LaFleur’s inexcusable decision to kick the field goal, uncertainty looms around what Rodgers next move is.
He has three years remaining on his contract, I’d imagine the ball’s in his court if he’d like to explore options elsewhere.
If his disgust for LaFleur’s decision is as strong as it looked in that interview, maybe it becomes a choice of one or the other. Do you stick with your 36 year old franchise quarterback, or turn a new leaf with Love?
Matt LaFleur Kicking
What was the worst case scenario for Green Bay there by going for the touchdown? The reasoning for kicking a field goal was that the 2-minute warning remained, on top of having all three timeouts.
But, that reasoning supports even more going for the score. If you fail to get it, the Buccaneers are pinned deep, you can still stop them and get the ball back with reasonable field position.
It’s a mind boggling decision that goes against the grain of where this league is headed. It’s somehow worse than Mike Vrabel’s decision to punt in the Wild Card round.
At the end of the day, in big games, you have to trust your big time players to make big time plays. If you can’t do that, then what are you doing?
Thus ends my sour grapes on Packers -3.5. We’re on to Super Bowl LV.
Follow me on Twitter, @griffybets, where we’ll get back to some positivity and finding value.
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