Aaron Rodgers did not seem pleased with Matt LaFleur’s head-scratching call01/25/2021
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It is a decision that will haunt Matt LaFleur through the winter of his discontent, and maybe longer.
He didn’t give Aaron Rodgers, arguably the best quarterback in the game today, a fourth-down chance just 8 yards from the end zone trailing by eight points, calling for kicker Mason Crosby instead, hoping against hope for a defensive stop with all three timeouts available to him.
It meant that he gave Tom Brady, the 31-26 winner, the chance to close out the last 2:02 of the NFC Championship game and advance to his 10th Super Bowl.
Which Brady did.
And Aaron Rodgers never saw the ball again.
And Rodgers appeared downright somber on his Zoom call when he was asked about his head coach’s disastrous decision.
Rodgers chose his words carefully when he said: “I didn’t have a decision on that one. … It wasn’t my decision, but … understand the thinking, about two minutes with all of our timeouts, but … yeah, it wasn’t my decision.”
LaFleur faced the music, pointing to the fact that Rodgers had just thrown three straight incomplete passes.
“Anytime it doesn’t work out you always regret it, right?” LaFleur said. “Having three shots and coming away with no yards and knowing not only need the touchdown but the two-point. … Anytime something doesn’t work out, do you regret it? Sure.”
Bucs pass rusher Shaq Barrett, who sacked Rodgers three times, was thrilled with LaFleur’s conservatism.
“I couldn’t believe it, honestly, because there’s no guarantee that they’re gonna make it back down there again even if they were on fourth down, you might as well try,” Barrett said. “I know our offense has been amazing in four-minute offense this year, not giving the team back the ball, so I had all the utmost confidence in ’em but. … If [LaFleur] could take it back, he probably wouldn’t do that next time, but I appreciate it.”
Bucs head coach Bruce Arians stayed true to the unspoken coaching fraternity bylaws, and didn’t criticize his counterpart.
“They had a lot of confidence in their defense at that point in time,” Arians said. “I thought it was a good move by them.”
Of course he did. He’s going to Super Bowl 2021.
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