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Rapid reaction: Jordan Love's leadership on full display in comeback

Teammates and coaches agree: Locker room believes in him and will fight for him

Green Bay Packers QB Jordan Love reacts after scrambling for 24 yards and a first down in the fourth quarter of the Packers' 18-17 victory over the New Orleans Saints.
Green Bay Packers QB Jordan Love reacts after scrambling for 24 yards and a first down in the fourth quarter of the Packers' 18-17 victory over the New Orleans Saints.

GREEN BAY – Since the day he took over for Aaron Rodgers, even before his first game as QB1 two weeks ago, the raving about Jordan Love's poise and steadiness could be heard from every teammate and coach.

That quality was put to an incredibly stern test on Sunday at Lambeau Field, and Love still didn't get rattled.

It played a huge part in the Packers' rally from a 17-point, fourth-quarter deficit for an 18-17 triumph over the Saints, because for everything that was going wrong, … well, here's a teammate to explain.

"I salute him," receiver Romeo Doubs said of his quarterback, "because any other guy in that position, at that position, will lose his mind."

Love would've been forgiven if he'd shown more than a hint of frustration. The Packers had a penalty on each of their first six offensive drives. Some open receivers were missed. Some catchable balls weren't caught. Easy plays looked hard.

"We hurt ourselves more than we helped ourselves," Love said, putting it mildly.

Regardless, Love is determined to not let anything get to him. It's part of who he is. It's also a concerted effort on his part as the leader of an offense full of young players and, for the last two games, missing several key, veteran pieces.

"I do think it's important," Love said of his demeanor. "I always want to be that guy that guys can look at and never see me getting flustered, never see it on my face that things aren't going right on the field. A guy that people can look at and just get confidence that we're going to keep going.

"But I feel like that's how you've got to be – never too high, never too low. And I think that helped the situation."

There's no question it did.

"I think the poise that he shows is really remarkable," Head Coach Matt LaFleur said. "I think the leadership that he shows is unbelievable. I'd go down there before we take the drive and he's talking to all the guys and encouraging everybody. Those guys, they're going to fight for him.

"I think everybody in that locker room is going to fight for Jordan Love."

Love is going to fight for them, too. For another example of that determination, look no further than the winning touchdown.

With the ball in the red zone, Love had been attacking the one-on-one coverage of former Packers cornerback Isaac Yiadom against Doubs. Which made sense, because Yiadom was playing in place of injured starter Paulson Adebo, and All-Pro corner Marshon Lattimore was on the other side.

But multiple attempts at fades to Doubs in the corner of the end zone, on different drives, hadn't connected. Calling it the offense's "bread and butter," Love kept after it, and the back-shoulder finally hit for the game-winner.

"So it wasn't working for us a couple times but that's something we've just got to keep going at it," Love said. "I feel like if we keep going, one of them's going to hit and that's what we did. I've got all the faith and trust in the world in Romeo that he's going to go up and make that play so I'm going to keep feeding him."

He showed more emotion on that score than probably any other play through the season's first three games, proving he can get fired up if he allows himself. Obviously, he's going to pick his spots.

There's a process to taking over as a team's signal caller, and games like this certainly speed up that process. Games like last week's do, too.

If the three-and-out, three-and-out, four-and-out fourth-quarter Atlanta sequence that let a game slip away was a learning experience all young quarterbacks must go through, flipping the script one week later with field goal, touchdown, touchdown shows it wasn't any lack of ability in crunch time. That's just football sometimes.

One day, all the strong play for three quarters can be wiped away in 15 minutes. Another day, 45 minutes of struggles can be forgotten when the confidence never gets shaken.

Check out photos from the Week 3 matchup between the Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints at Lambeau Field on Sunday, Sept. 24, 2023.

"It's always about how the game ends," Love said. "It felt great at the end. That's all I can say. It felt really good at the end."

If LaFleur said it once on Sunday, he said it 100 times – all a coach can ask is for players to battle with all they've got for four quarters.

Love was committed to doing that, no matter what went wrong, and everyone else followed suit. Love said "everybody just stayed together," and that takes leadership, from the head coach, to the quarterback, to the defensive energy of Rashan Gary, and on down the line.

Yet so much is put on the quarterback in this game, leadership-wise, and Love is embracing all of it, in tough losses like last week and thrilling wins like Sunday.

"It's not your team until you're the guy," LaFleur said. "We're seeing what he's all about. He's a competitive dude.

"It's cool to see his personality come out, his fight and his playmaking ability."

Which makes him worth following. That's what matters most as a leader.

"We believe in him, man," veteran linebacker Preston Smith said. "I tell him every time I get a chance to talk to him that that's all that matters. As long as your guys believe, it don't matter what everybody else say.

"We believe in him."


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