During his postgame press conference, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers didn’t seem pleased with the team’s decision to kick a field goal late in the NFC Championship Game.
Down by eight with 2:09 left, Packers head coach Matt LaFleur made the decision to kick a field goal instead of going for at on 4th down at the eight-yard line. It’s no doubt going to be one of Green Bay’s lasting memories from losing the NFC Championship Game to Tampa Bay, 31-26.
In his post-game press conference, Rodgers said he was “gutted” multiple times. And when he was asked about LaFleur electing to kick instead of go for it on fourth-and-goal at the Buccaneers’ 8, Rodgers said that it wasn’t his decision to make.
“I didn’t have a decision on that one,” Rodgers explains. “It wasn’t my decision, but I understand the thinking. Above two minutes with all of our timeouts. But it wasn’t my decision.”
The Packers had all of their timeouts left and had forced three interceptions on three of the last four Buccaneer drives. But as time would ultimately tell, it would be the last time Aaron Rodgers would touch the ball.
Fans watching the game took to social media to hit LaFleur with immediate scrutiny.
Have a look at Rodgers’ reaction below:
Aaron Rodgers and Packers Offense Missed an Opportunity to Tie Game
However, there were other chances to be had prior to the field goal attempt. It was Aaron Rodgers with the ball in his hands as the Packers were looking to tie the game.
It was 3rd-and-goal with 2:15 remaining in the fourth quarter. Rodgers was unable to connect on a pass with Davante Adams. The Packers QB had some green grass in front of him and may have had an opportunity to run the ball into the end zone or at least get close enough for Green Bay to try to go for a score on 4th-and-short.
Rodgers, however, did note he thought his offense would have another shot after the third-down incompletion to Adams.
“I felt great about the third-down call. We actually ran it earlier in the game — the same play that ‘Tae caught out of the end zone,” Rodgers said. “I felt like I had a chance, maybe, to run it. But I felt like there was a guy kind of closing on me. Based on the call — Matty allowed me to call that third-down play. If I’d known we were going to kick it if we didn’t get it, maybe something else would’ve been… maybe would’ve gone with some sort of crossing routes maybe there instead. But I thought we maybe were going to have four chances to get it.”
By the time he saw the place-kicking unit running onto the field, there wasn’t time to discuss LaFleur’s decision.
“That decision was made and we moved on,” Rodgers said.
Unfortunately for the Packers, it’s a decision that could have cost them a trip to Super Bowl LV.
Nonetheless, Aaron Rodgers and Matt LaFleur will likely face a long offseason of questioning regarding the play on third down and the decision to kick. Hopefully, the move doesn’t create a rift between Rodgers and his coach. It’s not like the Packers have done much to help their star quarterback over the last few years.