GREEN BAY, Wis. – Matt LaFleur said that while he finally regretted his decision to take the ball out of Aaron Rodgers ‘hands and kick a goal in the field with 2:09 left in the Green Bay Packers’ 31-26 loss to the Tampa Bay Bookers at the NFC Championship Championship on Sunday, he trusted the thinking behind the move.
Reducing eight points (31-23) at the time and facing a fourth goal on the 8-yard line, LaFleur sent Mason Crosby for a 26-yard goal instead of giving another shot to Rodgers in the end zone (and then an attempt to talk with 2 points) to equalize the result.
Crosby converted, but Rodgers never got the ball back, thanks to Tom Brady and a call to intervene when Packers cornerback Kevin King passed, which allowed the Bucs to run out of time.
“Yeah, it doesn̵
“We knew we had to stop and I thought we would have a stop there at the end, but they called us [defensive pass interference] and did not work. I don’t think anything happens all the time, are you sorry? Of course, but here we will always be guided by the process and the way our defense fights, the way our defense played, it seemed to me that this was the right decision. It just didn’t work out. “
Rodgers understood the thinking, but after the game he said, “It wasn’t my decision.” He said LaFleur gave him the opportunity to call the previous game in third place – a game that led to a collision and a throw-off when Rodgers may have been able to complete it.
Rodgers said he could have called up another game if he knew LaFleur would pick a goal on the field.
“I thought we might have four chances to go,” Rodgers said.
According to ESPN’s chances of winning, the Packers had a 10% chance of winning by finishing fourth in the bottom and a 9.5% chance of winning by kicking a goal on the field.
The model also suggested that the Packers needed a 21% chance of conversion to justify the choice of a touchdown there, with the average conversion rate in the league at this location being 23%. The Packers were the number one offense this season.
Earlier, LaFleur chose a 2-point call after a 2-yard pass from Davante Adams with 24 seconds in the fourth quarter made it 28-23. The Packers Equanimeous St. Brown missed Rodgers’ pass in the end zone. According to the ESPN model, a failed 2-point experiment is the right solution from the point of view of analysis.
However, having lost one point that they would have received for an extra point, the Packers later found themselves in a position to drop to eight and thus need a touchdown and a 2-point call in the final minutes before their last field goal.
Tampa Bay coach Bruce Arians said he thought the decision was the right one – “I thought they had a lot of confidence in their defense at the time,” he said, “but backback Shack Barrett said he was surprised by what unfolded. .
“I couldn’t believe it honestly because there was no guarantee that they would be able to go back there again, even if they were in fourth place – they could try too,” Barrett said. “I know our offense – they were amazing in the four-minute attack this year without giving the ball to the team – so I had the most confidence in them. But I know if he could bring it back, he probably won’t do it next time.”
Although LaFleur did not necessarily talk about the decision to score on the field, he said at the end of his press conference that he was not on top of his game.
“I felt we had a lot of opportunities tonight to take advantage and get the job done,” LaFler said. “We didn’t do it and it’s up to me and it’s a hard pill to swallow when you’re in charge of everyone in this organization to make sure you’re in your A-game and I don’t feel like I was tonight. I’m just pretty disappointed with that [I] I disappoint many people. “
ESPN’s Jenna Lane contributed to this story.