Packers: Love & Offense Struggle but so did LaFleur

Nov 7, 2021; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur watches play against the Kansas City Chiefs during the second half at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 7, 2021; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur watches play against the Kansas City Chiefs during the second half at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports /

It was not the debut for Jordan Love that we had hoped for as the Green Bay Packers offense struggled to move the ball for much of the game.

Green Bay would score just seven points, they’d convert only 2 of their 12 third-down attempts, and averaged just 5.0 yards per play, among other issues. For Love, he would finish the game 19/34 for 190 yards with a touchdown and an interception per ESPN.

The nerves and jitters early on were palpable, and he faced accuracy issues throughout the course of a game. Things were clearly moving too fast for Love at times as he looked like a deer in the headlights.

While this one game does not provide us with any additional insight into how his career will turn out — I mean, it’s only one game — it does let us know that there is plenty to work on and that he is not ready to be a starter at this time.

However, now having pointed all of that out, I also want to add that Matt LaFleur’s game plan didn’t exactly put Love or the offense in a position to succeed. Last week in my 7 Quick Thoughts article, I discussed how LaFleur’s quarterback-friendly offense and his ability to scheme players open would make things easier for Love—but oftentimes, that wasn’t the case.

The most obvious issue was that the offensive line, and in general, this Green Bay Packers team had no answer for all of the blitzes that Kansas City dialed up. According to PFF ($$), the Chiefs would record 28 pressures — which is a huge amount — and Love was blitzed on 21 of his 39 dropbacks.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Kansas City wanted to pressure and fluster the young quarterback; the surprise was that no adjustments were made. There were no protection changes, which oftentimes meant there were more pass-rushers than blockers, and many of the routes took just too long to develop—there were very few quick passes in these instances.

Now, this isn’t meant to completely absolve Love of his poor play, but again, LaFleur didn’t do him many favors in this regard, and he accepted blame following the game.

"“Ultimately, it comes down to myself, making sure we have a better plan to handle those pressures. Certainly we did not do that tonight,” LaFleur said via Packers Wire."

According to ESPN Stats & Info, when Love was blitzed, he was just 6/17 for 30 yards. When he wasn’t blitzed and had time, he was 13/17 for 160 yards. During the fourth quarter, we saw Love find a rhythm and complete several passes when he wasn’t under constant duress.

Love also found success on play-action, completing five of his eight pass attempts for 60 yards per PFF. This is something else that I wouldn’t have minded seeing more of either.

"“I was really proud of the way he played. He hung in there. He took hits and was delivering the ball. Ultimately, I have to be better, and this one falls squarely on me,” LaFleur said via Packers Wire."

Another critique was the run game—or lack thereof. As you saw and as we just highlighted, moving the ball through the air wasn’t easy, but the Green Bay Packers did find success on the ground—even with the Chiefs knowing that the run game was going to be a key component on offense.

Aaron Jones averaged 4.4 yards per carry, while AJ Dillon averaged nearly six yards. The issue, however, was that Jones had only 12 attempts and Dillon had just eight—far too few if you’re asking me.

More carries for Jones and Dillon could have resulted in more manageable third-down situations — the Packers were just 2/12 — helped open up the passing game for Love, reduced Kansas City’s ability to blitz, and set up more play-action opportunities—where Love found success.

All of this would have been helpful for Love in his first start. Even with Aaron Rodgers, we’ve seen how a well-established run game can really benefit the passing attack—this rings especially true for a young quarterback.

And while Green Bay was trailing for basically the entire game, they were never down so much that they should have gotten away from the run game like they did. In the past, we’ve seen this tendency from LaFleur when the Packers fall behind.

Again, I’ll reiterate, Love is still at fault; he did not play well. But LaFleur’s game plan is at fault as well and the offensive line did the young quarterback no favors. We’ve grown accustomed to seeing LaFleur push all the right buttons when it comes to the offensive scheme and plays called, but that was not the case in Kansas City.