After Aaron Rodgers exited the 40-33 loss with an oblique injury, the Packers were forced to roll out the third-year quarterback in the fourth quarter. The 24-year-old held his own, completing six of nine passes for 113 yards and a touchdown with a passer rating of 146.8. Had Green Bay’s defense been able to produce a stop, Love would have had a very real opportunity to lead a game-tying drive to force overtime.
Instead, the Packers' defense was gashed for over 360 rushing yards with zero answers for Jalen Hurts and Miles Sanders, moving them to 4-8 on the season with the playoffs nearly out of sight.
With injuries to Rodgers’ thumb and ribs, Love has a very real opportunity to start next Sunday against the Chicago Bears. Based on what we saw against the Eagles, he might be able to hold his own if he plays.
One of the things that stood out was how poised Love was when delivering his throws. Whether it was his first read or after scanning the field, Love’s footwork was terrific.
There are too many times when you watch young quarterbacks, especially ones in college, where they are too high on their toes and throwing with studs up off the dirt. As you can see on some of these strikes, Love did a great job of setting his feet with a strong, clean base to deliver with velocity and accuracy.
Throw #4— Tyler Brooke (@TylerDBrooke) November 28, 2022
Scans across the field, sets his feet, fires an accurate pass to Watson.
First down. Good ball. pic.twitter.com/6Ru2sdJEm9
Just outstanding footwork on this throw.— Tyler Brooke (@TylerDBrooke) November 28, 2022
Look at how all of his studs are in the dirt as he sets and delivers this one. pic.twitter.com/aFRyVuslzq
For a quarterback that doesn’t have elite-level arm talent like Patrick Mahomes or Josh Allen, mechanics are vital to long-term success at the position. Those mechanics haven’t always looked clean for Love, but on Sunday night they were the best that we’ve seen from him in limited regular-season action.
The footwork wasn’t always perfect, however. On his sixth pass attempt of the game, Love threw a pass behind Lazard after kicking out his front leg too wide, relying on hip rotation and arm strength to push the ball through tight coverage.
Throw #6— Tyler Brooke (@TylerDBrooke) November 28, 2022
Footwork isn't as clean here and Love isn't driving through his base, causing this throw to be a little behind.
Still is able to find Lazard in a tight window. pic.twitter.com/g28hLWirOt
Still, it was an impressive throw from Love to squeeze it into Lazard through a tight window in between four different defenders.
Love looked confident when reading Philadelphia’s defense as well. On his first throw of the game, the young QB set up to throw to his primary read with Lazard running a quick out route. However, he noticed that Darius Slay was sitting on the flat and waiting to jump it, so Love bailed on the throw and found his check down instead.
Love's first throw of the game.— Tyler Brooke (@TylerDBrooke) November 28, 2022
Gets his feet set for his first read, sees Darius Slay sitting and waiting to jump it, moves to his checkdown.
Might be disastrous if he throws on his first read here. pic.twitter.com/hJO9qXGCnW
Arguably Love’s most impressive read and throw weren’t even on a complete pass. After recognizing Cover 2 with Slay playing the flat, Love showed the confidence and arm talent to deliver a ball to Aaron Jones in the “turkey hole” between the flat corner and the deep safety down the sideline.
Jones ended up dropping the pass, but the confidence and decisiveness of Love to throw an accurate ball in such a tight spot was impressive from the young backup.
Throw #5 was my favorite pass from Love of the night, even if it was an incompletion.— Tyler Brooke (@TylerDBrooke) November 28, 2022
Love sees Cover 2, knows Slay is playing the flat.
Throws with confidence and hits Jones perfectly in the Cover 2 hole on the sideline.
Tough drop by Jones, but heck of a throw by Love. pic.twitter.com/AUrI0NwTEm
There was a lot to like about Love’s performance in Week 12, showing good footwork and great timing to deliver passes in rhythm. However, when the play was covered and Love had to go off-script, it left something to be desired.
Love could have had a touchdown on his first off-script play had he been a bit patient. Lazard recognized Love rolling out and adjusted his route, beating his defender vertically. However, Love had already committed to throwing to Christian Watson, missing him in the end zone.
Throw #7 was Love's first off-script opportunity. Left some to be desired.— Tyler Brooke (@TylerDBrooke) November 28, 2022
Rolls outside and misses on the throw to Watson.
Might have had Lazard over the top on his route adjustment if he waits an extra second. pic.twitter.com/5cqhityAYj
Had Love just waited for another second, he might have recognized Lazard was open over the top.
On Love’s other off-script opportunity, he did a great job of escaping the pocket under duress but was a tick late when trying to find Randall Cobb in the end zone after he adjusted his route.
Last throw of the game. Another off-script opportunity.— Tyler Brooke (@TylerDBrooke) November 28, 2022
Love does a good job escaping the pocket, and Cobb does a nice job adjusting his route.
Just a little late and a little off target. pic.twitter.com/gSHIBUkaf8
Both of these plays were timing and chemistry issues on off-script plays. That’s not a surprise considering Love normally practices with backups and younger receivers, but also is more focused on the structure and timing of plays during practice. His lack of real game time makes it difficult for him to have a feel for off-script plays in the heat of the moment.
That comes with experience, and if Rodgers can’t go against the Bears, Love will have the opportunity to keep working on those kinds of plays in Week 13.