Some were left scratching their heads after the Green Bay Packers passed the ball on four straight plays from the Philadelphia Eagles‘ 1-yard line, failing to cross the goal line on what would have been a game-tying touchdown drive.
Not Brett Favre.
The NFL Hall of Fame quarterback said Tuesday on SiriusXM NFL Radio that first-year head coach Matt LaFleur’s decision to attempt four consecutive passing plays “makes perfect sense” even after seeing the end result — a 34-27 Packers home loss against the Eagles.
According to The Athletic’s Matt Schneidman, the 11-time Pro Bowl gunslinger who made a legendary name for himself in Green Bay heaped praise on his successor, Aaron Rodgers, and his ability to extend plays for the offense while the defense struggled to contain the Eagles.
“By no means am I questioning Matt LaFleur, his thinking, his mindset, because he’s got Aaron Rodgers as he quarterback,” Favre said. “It makes perfect sense. Even after the fact, it makes perfect sense. And I’m sure you can go back and study the film as they have and say, ‘Look, if we had executed this a little better, we’d have done this, we do have a touchdown.’ But you know what? It is what it is.”
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Rodgers Liked All Four Calls on Goal Line
Struggling to get the run game going was something the Packers anticipated against a stout Eagles defensive front coming into Week 4, but things became far more challenging when running back Jamaal Williams was knocked out of the game on the first play of their opening drive.
Without him, primary rusher Aaron Jones was focused and contained well aside from his 3-yard touchdown charge in the first quarter. He gained just 18 yards on his other 12 carries, which when subtracting his longest run of seven yards left him at just one yard per carry. Rodgers easily outpaced him with 46 rushing yards on scrambles and keeps.
Given the choice from the 1-yard line, LaFleur placed his trust in Rodgers and his receivers and committed to the passing game, watching three passes fall incomplete and the remaining play break down without a chance.
“I feel good about all four calls,” Rodgers said in Thursday’s postgame. “We had a fade to Jimmy (Graham), we had a keeper that they played well, we had an RPO and then we had the fourth-down call. We had a couple of opportunities there to score, we just didn’t quite execute. Obviously, the way they were stopping the run, we felt good about those four calls and I liked the calls and I felt like we were close on a couple of those to scoring and tying it up.”
Final Stand Ended in Rare Moment for Rodgers
Remarkably, the Packers offense got one more shot in the red zone after regaining possession with about five minutes to go, but Rodgers was picked off on a try from second-and-8 that effectively sealed the team’s first loss of the season. Interceptions, even in the end zone, happen plenty around the league, but they don’t where Rodgers is concerned.
In his 743 pass attempts since the start of the 2018 season, Rodgers has been picked off just three times while tossing 31 touchdowns. It was also the first time ever he has been intercepted from the 3-yard line or closer, according to ESPN Stats & Information, with a prior record of 64 touchdown passes from that range.