The Jordan Love victory tour didn’t last long.
Week 1 seems like a long time ago. That day, Love looked great and the Packers blew out the Chicago Bears. It turns out the Bears were a lot worse than we knew at the time. Maybe Love was too.
The Packers got blown out in Week 4 by the Detroit Lions, and even though the performance was on the terrible play of the offensive line as much as it was on Love, they clearly wanted to limit anything Love did on Monday night. They came in with a surprisingly conservative gameplan, content to make it a low-scoring, close game from the start.
While the Packers didn’t give Love many chances, he also didn’t do much with them. The Packers’ offense was terrible, Love threw three interceptions, including a bad one in the final minute, and Green Bay fell to 2-3 with a disheartening 17-13 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders.
The Packers aren’t going to win much if they can’t trust their passing game to do more. Love didn’t do much to give them more faith in it on Monday night.
Raiders and Packers without much offensive punch
The Packers and Raiders each had their offensive issues, and their quarterbacks hand the other team points with terrible turnovers.
In the second quarter, Love never seemed to see linebacker Robert Spillane and threw it right to him. That set up a touchdown by Jakobi Meyers, the first touchdown of the game. The Raiders led 10-3.
Jimmy Garoppolo gave some back. He threw one right at Packers safety Rudy Ford, who picked it off. The Packers couldn’t move it after that and settled for a field goal.
The Packers were doing their best to hide Love on Monday night, but a broken coverage led to a huge play by Christian Watson. Watson got 77 yards but came up just short of the end zone. Then the Packers ran up the middle twice, Love threw incomplete on third down and they settled for another field goal. That gave the Packers a 13-10 lead but it should have been more.
The Packers’ offense was letting the Raiders stay in the game, by their gameplan and performance as well, and eventually Las Vegas took advantage.
Packers-Raiders is close into fourth quarter
The Raiders took a 17-13 lead on a Josh Jacobs touchdown four seconds into the fourth quarter. At that point Love had nine completions on 15 attempts, and 77 of his 136 yards came on one pass to Watson against a busted coverage. The Packers clearly came into the game wanting to limit how much Love would do, and try to win a grind-it-out game. That plan was even more inauspicious because Aaron Jones was out with an injury. They wanted to try to win the game with A.J. Dillon with 20 or more carries.
The Packers needed Love to do something in the fourth quarter. The Packers moved the ball after Jacobs’ go-ahead touchdown but Love was sacked on first down and then threw a pass into coverage that was batted and picked off by Spillane for his second interception. The Packers defense did its job and forced a quick three-and-out after Love’s second interception. The Packers gave it right back with a three-and-out.
The Raiders gave Green Bay one more chance with a conservative call. The Raiders didn’t go for it on fourth-and-one, opting for a field goal instead. The field goal went off the upright and the Packers had some life right after the two-minute warning. They even had good field position after the missed kick.
The Packers had a chance but the offense hadn’t done much to that point. They got a couple first downs into Raiders territory. Two drops, one by Romeo Doubs and the other by Luke Musgrave, stalled the drive. Love had to make a play but then threw the game away. He threw to Watson downfield in the end zone, and Raiders cornerback Amik Robertson recovered and picked it off. There seemed to be a moment in which Watson was open, but Love was late throwing the ball and Robertson easily recovered.
The biggest story of the NFL offseason was the Packers trading Aaron Rodgers to the New York Jets. Finally Love, a former first-round pick, had his chance to shine. The Packers talked him up and he had some good moments in the preseason and in the opener. It hasn’t been so good since then. The Packers seem to be losing confidence in him.
The big question the Packers had to answer this season is whether Love could replace Rodgers as a long-term option. It’s early in the season, but Monday night wasn’t a positive answer to that question.