Green Bay Packers QB Jordan Love draws praise from Aaron Rodgers despite up-and-down day in Detroit

Kassidy Hill
Packers News
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DETROIT - Jordan Love needed to put together a drive. Something, anything, if his Green Bay Packers wanted a chance at the lead and a win against the Detroit Lions. His day to that point had been respectable but modest, helped along by a huge Josiah Deguara catch-and-run touchdown. 

Instead, Love threw a high ball intended for receiver Equanimeous St. Brown, which got picked off by Tracy Walker III and sealed the Lions' 37-30 win, only the third victory of the season for Detroit. 

As for what the Packers wanted to see out of Love against the Detroit in an entire half of action, during which he went 10-17 for 134 yards, one touchdown, one 2-point conversion and two interceptions, coach Matt LaFleur said it was simple.

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"How he plays, every snap. So we’ll take a look at the film.”

Love’s first pass play against the Lions ended in a sack for an eight-yard loss. He rolled to his left, looking downfield and didn’t feel pressure coming in the backfield. His second pass play was a completion to Juwann Winfree that was fumbled and recovered by the Lions. One play later, the Lions scored. 

Jan 9, 2022; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Jordan Love (10) passes the ball during the fourth quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Thus began the day for Love, his first significant action since Week 9 against the Kansas City Chiefs. Love did play last week against the Minnesota Vikings in mop-up time. As quarterback Aaron Rodgers continues to nurse a fractured toe, the reigning MVP has taken limited reps in practice the past two months. In his place, Love has taken the majority of first-team reps. 

Despite that, it took till his third drive for Love to ease into the offense. After a Mason Crosby field goal, Love retook the field, his team down 24-16. He dinked and dunked a couple of passes and leaned on the run game to produce a Patrick Taylor touchdown. The two-point conversion attempt to Amari Rodgers was off, though, and the Packers trailed by two. 

Love’s next drive began with two short passes, before Deguara scored the aforementioned 62-yard touchdown. Then the quarterback used his legs to scamper right on a successful two-point conversion attempt, giving Green Bay a three-point lead. 

Jan 9, 2022; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Green Bay Packers tight end Josiah Deguara (81) celebrates after a touchdown catch during the fourth quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

It was a picture of what Love can do well, amplified by what it will take from those around him to be successful. Bootlegs and dump-offs, taking what’s there to open up grass for some plays that can be mobile if needed. 

After back-to-back touchdown drives, however, the next two drives effectively closed out the game for the Lions and gave Love tape from which to work this offseason. He had a ball get tipped at the line and then bounce out of Amari Rodgers arms. Then there was the Walker interception with less than a minute to play. In the midst of those two possessions though, receiver Allen Lazard pulled Love aside to deliver a message: Own the moment, no matter what. 

“I told him right before he made that second-to-last drive, I was just like ‘go own that huddle. Go install some confidence and some positive energy into those guys. Make it be well known that you guys are going to finish the drive off with a touchdown,’” Lazard said.

That drive didn’t end with a touchdown, but Love’s response in a game that mattered only to the Lions' draft order was encouraging to his teammates. 

“To see the way that he’s able to play and to see him be able to kind of control the game the last quarter or so ... obviously didn’t end the way we wanted it to but mistakes happen all the time and just because it happened at the end it’s gonna be pointed out a little bit more, but I thought he did a great job,” Lazard said. “He’s been steadily growing  this entire year and obviously his snaps with Aaron being up and everything but he’s grown tremendously throughout practice week in and week so I’m very proud of him."

This is not yet Love’s team and Rodgers won’t always be on the headset, or for that matter, in the room to help him along. So in the meantime, Rodgers is working on loosening up his protege to better handle not only days like Sunday in Detroit, but the future of this franchise. 

“I’ve seen Jordan’s personality continue to come out as he settles into the NFL and professional life,” Rodgers said. “It’s been a lot of fun, he’s a great kid, he really is. He cares about, he works his butt off, he asks good questions and he’s got a great, wry sense of humor. He’s a quiet kid, but I respect that, I was a quiet kid as a young player, too. I really enjoy his personality, I enjoy his friendship. We have a lot of fun together and I’m proud of the way he played today.” 

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