Packers Coach Matt LaFleur Offers Brutal Truth on Anders Carlson

The Packers' Anders Carlson kicks a field goal against the 49ers.

Getty The Packers' Anders Carlson kicks a field goal against the 49ers.

The Green Bay Packers loss to the 49ers on Sunday cannot be entirely laid at the feet of kicker Anders Carlson, but inevitably, the missed 41-yard field goal in the fourth quarter will go take the bulk of the blame for what wound up being a 24-21 loss. Making matters worse for Carlson was the report from sideline man Tom Rinaldi in which he paraphrased coach Matt LaFleur saying he leaves it up to the heavens whenever he sends Carlson onto the field.

As Fox Sports’ Rachel Nichols noted on Twitter/X: “What a report from Tom Rinaldi recounting Matt LaFleur talking about Packers kicker Anders Carlson: ‘When he goes out there, I just pray.’”

Indeed, Carlson’s record, after the Packers made him the team’s sixth-round pick out of Auburn this year, has been spotty. He made 81.8% of his kicks over the course of the year, which was 11th in the NFL. But after making his first 17 kicks—field goals and extra points—in the NFL, he began to slip. He missed two extra points and a field goal in the final three weeks of the year, then missed an extra point in the playoff win over Dallas.

Said Carlson: “There’s a lot to learn. For me, it’s tough to see these guys because I know how much work they put in. I want to put them in the best position possible. So just thinking about them, working for them.”

Anders Carlson ‘Played it Right to Left’

As for the kick itself, the Packers had used an extraordinary run from Aaron Jones—a 53-yarder—to get themselves deep into San Francisco territory, with a first-and-10 at the 24-yard line. But the drive stalled, setting up the chance to make a 21-17 lead a 24-17 lead.  For Calrson, there was wind but he said he took that into account.

“The flag showed right to left. I played it right to left. I just hope to have a better hit next time,” Carlson said.

But the ball drifted too far to the left and the chance to build a touchdown lead disappeared.  Carlson was asked after the game whether there was some commonality among the missed recent kicks.

“I don’t think the kicks have been the same miss every time. So, each kick is different,” Carlson said. “Coach talks about, each kick is its own story. Just trying to make the best story with every one but they’ve been inconsistent.”

Packers’ Matt LaFleur: ‘It’s Never One Play’

After the game, LaFleur addressed the missed kick but was not so harsh on Carlson in doing so.

“I felt like we had plenty of opportunities to put the game out of reach but unfortunately didn’t do enough. And it’s never one play,” LaFleur said. “I am sure a lot of it is gonna come down to the missed field goal but there were plenty of opportunities—go back to the first half and we had three red-zone opportunities and had six points. You know, there’s a lot of plays out there that if one play goes different, probably have a different result right now.”

Asked if he had any idea what was going on with Carlson and his recent misses, LaFleur was at a loss.

“I don’t know. I mean, I think if we had the answer, we would have fixed it. Certainly, gotta work on the consistency. We’ve seen him do it, we know what he is capable of, but you gotta be consistent,” he said.

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