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Rapid reaction: Packers have 'real dude' at QB, as Jordan Love keeps rolling

Green Bay’s offense hits yet another gear on playoff stage

QB Jordan Love
QB Jordan Love

ARLINGTON, Texas – Matt LaFleur delivered what might be the best comment of the year on Packers quarterback Jordan Love.

"He's a dude," LaFleur said after Love lit up the Cowboys in a 48-32 wild-card playoff victory Sunday at AT&T Stadium. "He's a real dude."

And this Packers offense is really hot, or dangerous, or explosive. Take your pick.

Love's passer rating was the max 158.3 until a late incompletion, "dropping" to 157.2 officially (16-of-21, 272 yards, three TDs).

Beyond those numbers, though, it was how unstoppable the Packers looked out there. Six of the first seven times they touched the ball, they found the end zone.

With the defense adding a score on Darnell Savage's pick-six, the 48 points were on the board with 10 minutes left in the game. That's 48 points in 50 minutes. Mercy.

It was just three months ago the Packers were struggling to get a first down in the first half of games, let alone scoring any points. Now they're scoring them seemingly at will.

"We believed in him from the beginning," running back Aaron Jones said of Love. "We know it's a process. It wasn't all on him when we couldn't pick up a first down. All 11 across the board have to be on the same page.

"We knew it would take time. You heard it from me and other players, 'We were right there, right there, right there,' and we've been able to get over that hump."

And how. All three individuals who spoke at the podium after Sunday's victory – Love, Jones and LaFleur – quickly and repeatedly praised the work of the Packers' offensive line setting the tone by establishing the run and protecting the QB.

Once that was in good shape, it turned into quite a show. Two plays (of many) really stood out.

The first one came on third-and-7 from the Dallas 20-yard line with 3½ minutes left in the first half. The Cowboys, already down 14-0, were desperate for a stop and blitzed, sending a six-man pressure against an empty backfield.

According to LaFleur's recounting of the play, Love called for tight end Tucker Kraft to help in protection. Then the quarterback stood tall, backed up just enough to buy time, and fired a laser to the goal post, which rookie Dontayvion Wicks snatched out of the air for the TD.

It was a stunning moment that put a stunning score on the board: Packers 20, Cowboys 0.

"It was an all-out look … for him to hang in there and get that throw … those are things you can't necessarily – you can try to coach it, but what a moment for him," LaFleur said.

"To me that was a big-time play. It just shows the growth he's had from his first start versus KC (in 2021) to now."

With those pass rushers in his face, Love says he's just "playing quarterback," but this isn't garden-variety stuff. The current run he's on, playing both fearlessly and almost flawlessly, has to give any defenses second thoughts about blitzing him and leaving their coverage in the back end shorthanded.

Check out photos from the NFC Wild Card playoff matchup between the Green Bay Packers and Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium on Sunday, Jan. 14, 2024.