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Packers Film Room: Jordan Love seals the win vs. the Bears

Today we break down four critical throws on the final field goal drive of the week 18 game.

Chicago Bears v Green Bay Packers Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images

After breaking down most of Green Bay Packers quarterback Jordan Love’s performance against the Chicago Bears in a previous article, we’re briefly going to look at four more throws that Love made on the second-half field goal drive and final drive of the game to ice the game and send the Packers to the playoffs in Dallas as the 7th seed.

The Packers would put the game out of reach with this field goal drive where Love hit an explosive pass play working out of structure where Matt LaFleur confirmed Jayden Reed was not part of the progression as the alert route. This throw shows Love’s ability to be a trick shot artist, a keen understanding of defender leverage and the arm talent to hit this kind of throw while rolling to the left. It’s not easy.

The concept is another play-action pass with a crossing route and a flat route as the primary reads. Love sends Reed in motion where he runs a clear out for the routes underneath. Love has the crossing route from Wicks open but sees the corner’s back turned to him while chasing Reed and the safety opens to the inside vertical rather than the outside deep half.

Love threw the pass on a rope and led Reed inside away from the safety. The ability to hit this throw on the run and change his arm slot to get the pass out there is elite-level quarterbacking from the first-year starter.

On the same drive, Love nearly hit as tight of a window throw to Melton as anyone’s hit all season. The play was ruled a touchdown on the field but overturned in replay review to an incomplete pass.

On the game’s final drive, Love converted two third-down throws to ice the game and send the Packers to the playoffs, one throw was a nice throw in rhythm and one that was off schedule and off platform.

On the first throw on a 3rd-and-2 here, Love hit Reed over the middle on an intermediate crosser versus cover-1 hole. The crosser is the best route to throw versus this coverage. There’s no threat of the corner sinking under the crossing route from the single receiver side as he is tied up in man coverage to that side. Love’s throw just has to beat the trailing defender and safety closing on the throw.

Later on the drive, Love hit Tyler Kraft for a 15-yard gain on 3rd-and-7.

From a 3x1 formation, the offense is running a dagger concept to the right. Kraft is the #3 receiver in the trips in tight to the formation running a delayed release as the check-down option. The Bears are playing poach quarters coverage where the backside safety away from the trips looks to rob #3. The trips side quarters safety caps the deep through route from the #2 receiver and the corner and hook defender closes the dagger route window.

Love sees there’s no throw to either the primary or secondary reads so he looks to scramble. Luckily Kraft knew how to find grass and get open so Kraft ran toward the middle of the field and Love changed his arm slot to get a throw off around the defender. Kraft catches the pass and turns upfield for 15 yards.

Outlook

The Packers and Love will be looking to carry over this momentum into the wildcard round with a match against their former head coach Mike McCarthy and the Dallas Cowboys. Cross-checking the 2018 roster to the 2023 roster, and it appears only four players remain from that 2018 team: Aaron Jones, Jaire Alexander, Kenny, and David Bakhtiari.

The last time these two teams met was in 2022 and the Packers won 31-28 in Green Bay where Christian Watson went off for three touchdowns. In fact Green Bay is 6-1 versus Dallas in their last seven meetings, including two playoff wins, one in Green Bay and one in Dallas. Right now there is more pressure on Dallas to win a playoff game and make a run than there is for Green Bay. It’s one reason, if the Packers continue to play well, that Dallas could lose.