Jordan Love and the Green Bay Packers offense have struggled to connect on intermediate and deep passes this season. However, against the Los Angeles Rams, Love put together his most efficient performance of the season.
On throws of 10 or more air yards, according to PFF, Love completed 6-of-8 passes for 118 yards at 14.7 yards per attempt. This includes going 2-for-3 on passes of 20-plus yards for 62 yards.
"“I thought he did a nice job of being decisive and taking what was there,” said Matt LaFleur of Love’s performance on Monday. “There was still a couple plays where we allowed some pressure, where if somebody is getting through here, you’ve got to get to your checkdown a little bit quicker. There were some good teachable moments. Just the sack in the two-minute situation in terms of not trying to be so picky and taking the shallow or progressing to the under on the backside, but he’s going to have those moments. I think most quarterbacks do. Very few have played a perfect game.“But I thought all-in-all, I thought it was a pretty positive performance, especially when we needed some of those throws late in the game to kind of ice the game, and the guys made some plays for him.”"
The performance we saw from Love on Sunday on those intermediate and deep throws was a stark contrast from what has taken place most of the season. Entering Week 9, Love ranked 32nd out of 35 eligible quarterbacks in completion percentage on throws between 10-19 yards. His 6.6 yards per attempt on such passes ranked 32nd as well, and he had no touchdowns to four interceptions.
On passes of 20-plus yards, it was a similar story. Love entered Sunday’s contest ranked third in downfield pass attempts but 33rd in completion rate and 30th in yards per attempt. Love’s four interceptions were the second-most in football.
"”I just think he’s got to shut his mind off and let it rip,” said LaFleur about Love’s downfield passing. “I think a lot of times when you try to aim or guide it, you’re not going to be as successful. He’s been throwing the ball for a long time, and I think he’s done a much better job of putting air under the ball.“I think two of the explosion plays we had in the second half, the one to Wicks, I thought that was an unbelievable pass. I know it wasn’t a go-ball but he had pressure in his face, and he stayed on platform and changed his arm angle, and threw a ball right on the money to Wicks. Then followed that up the next play on the deep cross route to Musgrave. That was a beautiful pass as well. He certainly can make all these throws.”"
It’s not a coincidence that Love put together an efficient performance when there was less chaos going on around him. For one, the Packers actually had a run game to lean on. As Love discussed post-game, having that element opens up opportunities in the passing game, specifically downfield.
Along with creating running lanes, the offensive line did a good job of giving Love time in the pocket as well. During the previous four games, Love was pressured on the fourth-most dropbacks in football. However, against Los Angeles, he was pressured on only seven of his 31 dropbacks. As a result, we saw his decisiveness as a decision-maker and accuracy improve as he was able to go through his progressions.
All of this not only benefited Love but the Green Bay receivers as well, who weren’t dealing with obvious passing situations constantly and had additional time because of the offensive line play to create separation. PFF credited the Packers pass catchers with only one drop, and they were two-for-three on contested catches after entering the game 9-for-43 in those situations.
Conditions around a quarterback are not always going to be ideal, and Love has to improve when there is chaos going on around him. However, for a first-time starting quarterback, he was also being asked to overcome a lot of issues that were out of his control.
Against the Rams, with some stability around him, Love was very efficient, and his processes were much improved. The next step for both him and the offense as a whole is to build upon this performance and not become stagnant or even go backwards like we have previously seen.
"“I thought when we needed it,” said LaFleur, “especially down the stretch late in the game, he (Jordan Love) made some plays. Hopefully we can build upon that. Every time out is going to be a learning experience and there’s going to be plays that you wantback.“I’ve never seen a quarterback go through a game that’s been perfect. There’s been games that guys have had perfect ratings, but nobody is going to be perfect. As long as we continue to build upon the things that he’s done well, and learn from the mistakes that have been made, there’s a lot of good that can come out of that.”"