Struggling as the Packers’ starting quarterback in his first season, Love blossomed over his last four games, stringing together his most impressive performances. So the mention of his name alongside Rodgers and Favre is the latest sign of progress for a franchise long blessed with stellar signal-caller play. After a four-game skid dropped the Packers to 2-5, Love’s improved play has been matched by the team, and 5-6 Green Bay is very much alive in the playoff picture.
“I think it’s night and day,” LaFleur said of the difference in Love’s game, which included two interceptions and five sacks in a Week 4 loss to the Lions. “I mean, I don’t know how you feel. I’ll have to go back and look at it, but sure enough, that’s what it looks like. And being a little more aggressive with some of the calls has given us a lot of confidence. When you trust your offensive line. When you trust your quarterback, It allows you to go where you need to to make the ball easy and throw it in rhythm. We had a lot of, I mean deep developing plays and hit a lot of intermediate throws for some chunk plays, and that ended up being big for us.”
In front of a national audience playing against the NFC’s top-ranked Lions, Love was exceptional. He chose his shots behind a great performance from the attacking line and was accurate short and long.
“I think he’s done a tremendous job. He can’t do it by himself. I think a lot of guys made plays for him,” LaFleur said. “I think this story is a line of attack. It’s to give him protection.”
It started with a 53-yarder to Watson on a play in which LaFleur had second thoughts about the call before talking to Love.
“I almost changed that first play call,” LaFleur said. “I was thinking a little bit. I texted Jordan this morning and said I was going to change it to something else. And he said he wanted this call, so I said, ‘Okay.'”
Three plays after the first Love-Watson connection, Love connected with Reed for a 10-yard score and the Packers never looked back.
“That’s what we want,” Anbu said. “We want to start fast, put those points up early, help the defense and then go from there.”
Love, who had a 37-yard run of the game, found Tucker Kraft on a 9-yard scoring pass for his first career TD, capping the Packers’ second offensive drive. It’s a great start for a Packers team that has been on a very slow roll. Before Thursday, Green Bay had just 20 first-quarter points on the season. It fit on Thanksgiving Day.
As Love continues to grow game by game and keep the Packers’ postseason hopes alive, he will face the team where he made his first career start in prime time next week: the Kansas City Chiefs.
For now, Jordan Love’s maturation continues with a three-TD on Thursday.