The Green Bay Packers hung tough with the Philadelphia Eagles all night. They were overmatched and dealing with injuries but they put up a good fight — even when it appeared that game was over long before the final whistle.
Aaron Rodgers had led the Packers down the field for a drive, late in the third quarter, that ended with a field goal, and his night then ended immediately. He ran into the locker room and would not return after suffering an oblique injury, on top of the thumb that needs surgery.
The Eagles’ offense then took the field and continued to beat up the Packers’ weary, and undermanned, defense. It resulted in a field goal, but it was a 14-play drive. Jordan Love got the opportunity to lead the Packers for the rest of the night, and the young man was impressive.
His first drive was solid. Love converted a third down by throwing a pass from the left hash to the far side of the field. Then on the next play he hit Christian Watson on a play-action pass over the middle of the field. After the catch, Watson decided to turn on his invisible juice and run 50-plus yards for a touchdown.
The Eagles would drive again and kick another field goal. In his final drive, Love would go on to throw only one errant pass. Two of his incompletions on the Packers’ final drive should have been caught, including one that would have given him a second touchdown. Love looked composed, and in control. Two words that would not have been used the last time we saw Love behind center.
Of course he played a lot in the preseason, and also some garbage time, but the last time that America got a good look at Love was against the Kansas City Chiefs in 2021. Aaron Rodgers had COVID and could not play. So Love led the Packers against Patrick Mahomes and only lost by four points.
However, that result had more to do with a tough day at the office for the Chiefs than anything Love did. The Packers lost 13-7, but didn’t score a point until there was less than five minutes remaining in the game. This game took place when the Chiefs’ defense went from awful to outstanding, but Love did nothing. He appeared unsure of himself and overmatched when playing against starting-caliber NFL talent. The Packers’ three drives in the fourth quarter before the touchdown? Punt, punt, interception.
There was every reason to believe that the Packers wasted that late 2020 first-round pick on a player who would never be ready to contribute. Compare the sentiment after Love’s play in a full game, as opposed to Love’s success last night, it would be easier to write off what happened in Philadelphia. Philly safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson was out, it’s usually easier to run a passing offense when down multiple scores late in a game, and the one touchdown was all Watson. Also, Love only played two possessions.
If he has to start against the Chicago Bears next week maybe he looks different — likely not though, with how poorly the Bears’ defense has played of late. There is no reason to believe that Packers will now go on to have 40 years of Hall of Fame Quarterback play after Brett Favre, Rodgers, and now Love, But what he did show on Sunday Night Football, was that there is a chance he could work as the Packers’ franchise quarterback.
Watching him play against the Chiefs last year, there was no reason to believe that. Now, at least there is reason for Packers fans to be optimistic about the future. That’s enough for a quarter of a day’s work.