GREEN BAY, Wis. — Matt LaFleur stated that whereas he did find yourself regretting his determination to take the ball out of Aaron Rodgers‘ fingers and kick a discipline aim with 2:09 left within the Green Bay Packers‘ 31-26 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers within the NFC Championship Recreation on Sunday, he trusted the considering behind the transfer.
Down eight factors (31-23) on the time and dealing with fourth-and-goal on the 8-yard line, LaFleur despatched Mason Crosby in for a 26-yard discipline aim as a substitute of giving Rodgers yet another shot on the finish zone (after which a 2-point-conversation try) to tie the rating.
“Yeah, anytime it does not work out, you all the time remorse it, proper?” LaFleur stated after the sport. “It was simply the circumstances of getting three photographs and coming away with no yards and realizing that you just not solely want the landing, however you want the 2-point [conversion]. The best way I used to be it was, we primarily had 4 timeouts with the two-minute warning.
“We knew we wanted to get a cease, and I believed we have been going to have a cease there on the finish, however we bought referred to as for [defensive pass interference] and it did not work out. I feel anytime one thing does not work out, do you remorse it? Certain, however we’re all the time going to be process-driven right here, and the best way our protection was battling, the best way our protection was enjoying, it felt prefer it was the suitable determination to do. It simply did not work out.”
Rodgers understood the considering however after the sport stated, “It wasn’t my determination.” He stated LaFleur gave him the choice to name the earlier play on third down — a play that resulted in a scramble and a throwaway when Rodgers may need been capable of run it.
Rodgers stated he may need referred to as a distinct play if he knew LaFleur was going to go for a discipline aim.
“I believed perhaps we have been gonna have 4 possibilities to go,” Rodgers stated.
In response to ESPN’s Win Chance mannequin, the Packers had a 10% likelihood of successful by going for it on fourth down and a 9.5% likelihood of successful by kicking a discipline aim.
The mannequin additionally prompt the Packers wanted a 21% likelihood of changing to justify going for the landing there, with a league-average conversion price in that spot at 23%. The Packers have been the No. 1 scoring offense this season.
Earlier, LaFleur opted for a 2-point dialog after Rodgers’ 2-yard landing move to Davante Adams with 24 seconds left within the third quarter made it 28-23. Packers receiver Equanimeous St. Brown dropped Rodgers’ move ultimately zone. In response to ESPN’s mannequin, the failed 2-point attempt was the proper determination from an analytics standpoint.
Nevertheless, by dropping out on the one level they’d have gotten for a made additional level, the Packers later discovered themselves within the place of being down eight and thus needing a landing and a 2-point dialog within the closing minutes earlier than their final discipline aim.
Tampa Bay coach Bruce Arians stated he thought the choice was the suitable one — “I believed that they’d a whole lot of confidence of their protection at that time limit,” he stated — however linebacker Shaq Barrett stated he was shocked by what unfolded.
“I could not consider it actually, as a result of there was no assure that they gonna make it again down there once more, even when they was on fourth down — they may as properly attempt,” Barrett stated. “I do know our offense — they have been superb within the four-minute offense this yr, not giving the staff the ball — so I had the utmost confidence in them. However, I do know if he might take it again, he most likely would not do this subsequent time.”
Though LaFleur wasn’t essentially speaking in regards to the discipline aim determination, he stated close to the top of his information convention that he wasn’t on high of his recreation.
“I felt like we had loads of alternatives tonight to reap the benefits of and get the job accomplished,” LaFleur stated. “We did not do it, and that falls on me, and that is a tricky tablet to swallow while you’re liable for all people on this group to just remember to’re in your A-game, and I do not really feel like I used to be tonight. I am simply fairly disillusioned that [I] let lots of people down.”
ESPN’s Jenna Laine contributed to this story.