An impressive first season for Jordan Love as the Packers’ starting quarterback ended with what he admitted was a “mortal sin.”
Facing first-and-10 from his own 36-yard line with less than a minute to go and the Packers trailing the 49ers by three with two timeouts left, Love rolled to his right and had trouble finding an open receiver.
Instead of throwing it away, Love threw the ball into triple coverage toward receiver Christian Watson and it was intercepted by Dre Greenlaw to end Green Bay’s season.
Had Love, 25, tossed the ball out of bounds, the Packers still would’ve had plenty of time to get into field-goal range for a chance to force overtime, but Green Bay was left stunned Saturday in a 24-21 loss in the divisional round of the NFL playoffs.
Love said he “tried to force one” to Watson and “didn’t see the back side.”
“I haven’t looked at it yet. Haven’t looked at any pictures. Looking back on it, yeah, throw it away,” Love told reporters after the 24-21 loss. “I don’t know if I had an opportunity to be able to run, maybe get out of bounds but, you know, force it across the middle late, which is a mortal sin and it cost us. So it’s something I’ll look at. That’s an area right there where I’ll be able to look at [it], grow from and get better in the future.”
Love finished the game 21-for-34 with 194 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.
Both of his touchdown passes came in the third quarter — a 19-yard pass to Bo Melton and a 2-yard pass to Tucker Kraft that put the Packers up 21-14.
Love’s playoff debut last week against the Cowboys went much better for the Packers, who dominated Dallas as the quarterback went 16-for-21 with 272 yards, three touchdowns and zero turnovers.
“As a leader of this team, I know this one’s gonna hurt him,” Packers coach Matt LaFleur said of Love after the loss. “I’m sure he’ll be really hard on himself. And he’s just got to use it as fuel to continue to get better. But I think we saw so much growth throughout the course of the season. Not only from his ability to go out there and play consistent, winning football but also, I think he grew as a leader. I think that’s very important to be the franchise quarterback that I expect him to be for a long time around here.”
During the regular season, Love threw for 4,159 yards, 32 touchdowns and 11 interceptions while completing 64.2 percent of his passes.