Matt LaFleur shouldered the blame for the Green Bay Packers’ loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, even though it was out of his control.
The Green Bay Packers have had themselves an eventful week after it was confirmed that quarterback Aaron Rodgers tested positive for COVID-19, is unvaccinated and would miss their game against the Kansas City Chiefs. That meant Jordan Love would get his first career start in a favorable matchup against the Chiefs’ struggling defense.
On Sunday, the Packers fell to the Chiefs 13-7 in what was a rough game for both teams. In the postgame press conference, head coach Matt LaFleur said that the loss falls on him.
“This one falls squarely on me” – Matt LaFleur
— Lily Zhao (@LilySZhao) November 8, 2021
Matt LaFleur: “This one falls squarely on me. To go 2-for-12 on third down, obviously didn’t have a good enough plan for their pressure.”
Several times LaFleur said “the plan wasn’t good enough,” and at least once added “especially with a young quarterback.” pic.twitter.com/cEizn8fDqp
— Rob Demovsky (@RobDemovsky) November 8, 2021
When looking at it, the loss is not entirely on LaFleur, considering the circumstances prior to and during the game.
Packers loss to Chiefs was not all on Matt LaFleur
It was obvious from the start that Green Bay’s chances of winning were going to be much slimmer with Rodgers unavailable for the game. With the news being received this past Wednesday, that meant LaFleur had to pivot and game-plan with Love as his starter.
Even though Kansas City’s defense is among the worst in the league, Love appeared to be a bit nervous on Sunday. It certainly did not help that he was getting his first start in the loud Arrowhead Stadium. Even with less than stellar play, the Chiefs and quarterback Patrick Mahomes kept Love and the Packers in it.
Love did have the chance to score a touchdown midway through the fourth quarter, but his pass intended for Davante Adams was intercepted by cornerback L’Jarius Sneed. But Love would get in the end zone on a fourth-down touchdown pass to Allen Lazard. Unfortunately, Mahomes ended things with a third-down conversion with Green Bay having no timeouts remaining.
The 2020 first-round draft pick completed 19-of-34 passes for 190 yards, one touchdown and one interception against the Chiefs.
In reality, that scoring pass could have carried entirely different implications, had the special teams unit made their two field goal opportunities in the first half. Mason Crosby attempted a 40-yarder field goal on Green Bay’s second drive, but it flew wide left. On the following drive, Crosby tried to make a 35-yarder, but it was blocked by Chiefs defensive lineman Alex Okafor.
Oh, and there was also the muffed punt in the first half that gave the Chiefs possession in Green Bay’s own 10-yard line. That allowed Kansas City to kick a field goal to extend their lead to 10-0. Had all of those special teams gaffes not happened, we could be talking about an entirely different outcome.
This loss is not entirely devastating, as LaFleur and the Packers can take solace in the fact that they still have a commanding lead in the NFC North.