GREEN BAY – Just three months into his run as the Packers' starting quarterback, Jordan Love has already mastered the art of riding the weekly waves of the National Football League.
The 25-year-old waded through some midseason doldrums to rally Green Bay during its recent three-game win streak – a stretch in which Love didn't commit a single turnover and fashioned a 116.9 passer rating.
As is life at football's highest level, however, the Packers came down to earth during a 24-22 loss to the New York Giants on Monday. Love had a hand in it, losing a fumble and throwing an interception on back-to-back second-quarter possessions.
Love could have tucked tail and let the negativity affect the rest of the game, but rather than worry about what's happened, he chose to focus on what's next.
"Just tell myself to forget about it, move on and go make that next play," said Love on Wednesday. "I think that's the name of the game. Because if you get stuck on that, that's when things snowball and things kind of go downhill. I just try to do my best to keep calm and move on."
And Love did, completing 10 of 14 passes for 106 yards during the Packers' final three series, including a fearless 43-yard shot to tight end Tucker Kraft in the middle of the field.
After shaking off a few giveaways in game-ending situations earlier this year, Love showed progress in leading Green Bay down the field and hitting receiver Malik Heath for a 6-yard touchdown to put Green Bay ahead 22-21 with 1 minute, 33 seconds remaining.
Monday night wasn't Love's best game by any measure, but the 6-foot-4, 219-pound quarterback still made something of it and gave his team a chance to win the game. It's the poise and composure Green Bay has come to expect from its starting QB.
"I just think that speaks to the character of Jordan Love in terms of just his mindset and what he's all about. Finding a way," Head Coach Matt LaFleur said. "It wasn't easy, but finding a way to put us in a position where potentially we could win the football game."
And so, Love turns his attention to the next task – the Packers' Week 15 showdown with Tampa Bay. Like Green Bay, the Buccaneers sit at 6-7 and are looking to make a late-season playoff push.
Defensively, the Buccaneers' 27th-ranked unit has been banged up. Cornerback Carlton Davis (groin), linebacker Devin White (foot), defensive lineman Vita Vea (toe) and safety Ryan Neal (back) were all estimated as practice non-participants on Wednesday.
Yet, several clear and ever-present dangers still lurk. Veteran linebacker Lavonte David still patrols the middle of Todd Bowles' defense, while former second-round pick Antoine Winfield Jr. has developed into a dynamic playmaker.
The Pro Bowl safety leads the Bucs with 97 tackles to go along with four sacks, four forced fumbles and two interceptions.
"He does a lot of good things with coverage recognition, understanding the routes and playing off the quarterback's eyes," Love said. "He's a guy you have to know where he's at. Obviously do some things where you're able to look him off but just knowing where he's at and what he's capable of, being aware of that is huge."
The Packers also have plenty to figure out on the injury front. The team also didn't practice on Wednesday, but estimated receivers Christian Watson (hamstring) and Dontayvion Wicks (ankle) plus running back AJ Dillon (thumb) as DNPs.
One silver lining coming out of Monday night, though, was receiver Jayden Reed not sustaining a concussion on the failed two-point conversion after Heath's go-ahead touchdown.
Reed had 65 total yards and a touchdown on 12 touches against the Giants. The rookie second-round pick currently leads Green Bay's offense with 540 receiving yards.
"There's so many things you can do off of all the reverses and sweeps we do with J-Reed that I think adds another layer for the defense to think about, have to study throughout the week," Love said. "Obviously, there's endless possibilities you can run off these plays to make things look alike."
For Love, Sunday's matchup with the Buccaneers offers a chance to bounce back at Lambeau Field and extend a three-game home winning streak. Love completed 72 of 102 passes for 817 yards, six touchdowns and no interceptions (113.9 passer rating) in his last three home contests.
"It's just about how we respond," Love said. "It's another opportunity that we get to take and try to put our best foot forward on Sunday. Just learn from this last game. Obviously, it wasn't our best, wasn't my best, but just things to learn from, move on and grow and build this week."