The Jordan Love era in Green Bay is off to a fast start with Love leading the Packers to a 38-20 win over their division rival, the Chicago Bears. The Packers never trailed in this one and Love looked confident and in command of the offense like he had been a veteran three-year starter before this game. The Packers improved to 9-0 versus Chicago since Matt LaFleur took over as head coach.
Here’s LaFleur after the game:
“All in all, I couldn’t be more proud of just his performance, his poise. There’s a big-time belief in that locker room for Jordan Love. I think the guys, they’re going to rally around him. They’re excited for him. They love him. They respect him. He comes to work every day, great attitude, great energy. I think you saw that today.”
Love went 15-of-27 for 245 yards, and three touchdowns. His biggest contribution came on third down, where he was 6-for-8 with five of those completions converting to a first down or touchdown and was 1-for-1 and a touchdown on fourth down.
First play, 1st quarter, 3rd-and-8, 6:14 remaining
The Packers offense drove down inside the 10-yard-line on their first drive of the game and Love connected here with receiver Romeo Doubs for the game’s first touchdown and his first as the full-time starting quarterback.
The play call is a dig and flat combination from the two-receiver side with a shallow crossing route from the trips side of the formation.
The Bears are in “red-2,” a zone match cover-2 in the red zone that seeks to compress the space and close the throwing lanes.
The middle linebacker drives on the shallow crosser from the tight end and opens the middle of the field. Love gets the linebacker to drive on the route with his quick peek at the middle of the field and this subtle move creates a huge hole in the defense. Doubs stems to the corner and quickly cuts inside of safety Eddie Jackson over the middle of the field where the middle hook defender vacated.
Love pumps but Doubs is held up slightly so he pulls it down but then winds up to throw again as Doubs breaks free across the back of the end zone.
Second play, 2nd quarter, 3rd-and-10, 1:04 remaining
This play has become a staple passing concept for Love and the Packers' offense since the preseason and it put the Packers in scoring position for a field goal before the half.
The play is a 3x1 dagger concept where the dagger comes from the #1 receiver outside behind the deep crossing route from the #2 receiver in the slot. The tight end, #3 is the checkdown in the flat. The progression for Love is the deep crosser to the dagger/dig route, to the checkdown.
The defense is playing cover-3 mable (Alabama/Saban terminology), which is a strong side rotation of the safeties to the passing strength, and linebacker Tremaine Edmunds should take the new #3 up and back down the field.
Love drops back and looks to the right with the dagger concept coming from right to left. The strong side safety rotation down to the trips pushes the hook defenders away from the trips. Since the safety drops down, there’s no throw to the dig route behind the crosser.
He could maybe fit the pass in there but he manipulates the underneath defenders back toward the middle of the field and throws almost a no-look pass as receiver Jayden Reed hits the second window of the progression. Edmunds never locates the crossing route from Reed.
Third play, 4Q, 3rd-and-8, 15:00 remaining
The Packers came back to another 3x1 formation on this 3rd down to convert a long 3rd and 8 on this touchdown drive.
The play is a sail concept to the trips side with a backside dig route at 10 yards. Sail is a deep out that crosses under a skinny post route with a flat route occupying the flat defender.
The defense is in the same cover-3 mable shell with strong side rotation of the safety down to the hook zone.
This time the Bears are looking for the crosser from trips but there isn’t a crossing and the safety is unable to win leverage on the deep out route so Love drops it in the bucket out near the sideline. Two plays later Love found Doubs for this second touchdown catch of the game.
This play set up the nice jump ball pass to Doubs for his 2nd touchdown catch of the game.
The touchdown pass came on a duo alert fade run-pass option concept where Doubs had 1-on-1 coverage out wide with no safety help over the top or shaded to his side. The Bears were gearing up to stop the run. The blocking was a duo run scheme. Love puts the pass perfectly over the defender who has his back to the quarterback. Doubs snagged it out of the air.
Fourth down play, 3Q, 4th-and-3, 6:34 remaining
On a fourth down call, 4th and 3 before just after the midway point in the 2nd quarter, Love found Aaron Jones over the middle on a choice route out of the backfield.
Love read the middle linebacker, who drove on the underneath quick slant for the #1 receiver in trips to the right. The Bears middle linebacker, in cover-1 hole, looks to take away the shallow quick slant so Love sees his movement away from the middle of the field and delivers a strike to Jones who sprints for the touchdown.
While I think that Love played a good game overall, we’re going to look at some of the off-target throws and WR miscommunication that also occurred in this game in a later article. There are a few passes he’d probably like to have back that will come with better timing and more reps.