The Packers found themselves in a key situation late in the NFC Championship game, and for some reason, head coach Matt LaFleur took the ball out of his future-Hall-of-Fame quarterback’s hands.
And to make matters worse, he made the pivotal mistake of punting the football to arguably the greatest quarterback of all time, never to get it back.
Green Bay was faced with a fourth-and-goal situation, and LaFleur did the unthinkable, kicking a field goal, while trailing by eight points. Mason Crosby’s kick cut the Bucs’ lead to 31-26, which ended up being the final score.
It was an awful decision, no matter how you view it, and LaFleur explained why he chose to kick after the crushing loss.
“Yeah, anytime it doesn’t work out, you always regret it, right?” LaFleur said after the game, via ESPN.com. “It was just the circumstances of having three shots and coming away with no yards and knowing that you not only need the touchdown, but you need the 2-point [conversion]. The way I was looking at it was, we essentially had four timeouts with the two-minute warning.
“We knew we needed to get a stop, and I thought we were going to have a stop there at the end, but we got called for [defensive pass interference] and it didn’t work out. I think anytime something doesn’t work out, do you regret it? Sure, but we’re always going to be process-driven here, and the way our defense was battling, the way our defense was playing, it felt like it was the right decision to do. It just didn’t work out.”
LaFleur should be apologizing to his team, and to Aaron Rodgers. His inexperience was on display at the worst possible moment, and now the Packers are stuck wondering how they let a winnable game slip away from them.