We’re two-thirds of the way through the Wild Card round in the NFL, and we’ve seen some fascinating storylines unfold. On Sunday, Jordan Love captured the hearts of millions of fans with an epic performance against the Cowboys in a road win where nobody gave the Packers much of a chance. Love’s performance was historically great, and I decided to break it down in detail here.
It was obvious early that the Packers had the goods to compete on Sunday. Love led the team down the field on a 12-play, 75-yard drive for an opening touchdown. He drove the team down the field on two long drives in the first half that helped them open up a 27-7 halftime lead.
Overall, in the Packers’ 48-32 road win, Jordan Love completed 16 of 21 passes for 272 yards and three touchdowns. He averaged a mind-numbing 13 yards per attempt in the game and had a near-perfect 157.2 passer rating. Brock Purdy led the NFL with 9.6 yards per attempt in the regular season. Only three quarterbacks who played more than five games were over 8 yards per attempt.
Love finished the game with an EPA of 25.7 and an EPA/play of 1.22. Brock Purdy was once again the league’s best quarterback in adjusted EPA/play, but he came in at 0.360 per play during the regular season. The league average for pass attempts per game this season was 33.8. Over that sample, the gap between Love’s playoff performance and Purdy’s regular season would have been around 30 points per game.
According to Aaron Schatz of FTN, the Packers had a pass offense DVOA of 190% today. That’s the highest pass offense DVOA in a game in Packers history. That includes 252 games of Aaron Rodgers and 277 games of Brett Favre. You don’t need me to tell you that Rodgers and Favre have had some historic games in Green Bay. Love’s performance today was better than all of them by DVOA.
Love massively outperformed the most efficient quarterbacks in the NFL and outpaced the best quarterbacks in Packers history. On the road in Dallas, where the Cowboys were 8-0 this season. Against a top-five pass defense by EPA. With Romeo Doubs as his WR1, a former fourth-round pick out of Nevada who finished this season outside the top 50 in yards and receptions despite playing every game.
Took Jordan Love one season to go through the Josh Allen development arc.
Dude became a super hero in 18 games pic.twitter.com/ShssHZlU0X
— Sam Monson (@PFF_Sam) January 15, 2024
It wasn’t just the game today where Jordan Love has been exceptional. After a rocky start to the 2023 season, Love has been otherworldly over the second half of the year. After a troubling Week 15 loss to the Buccaneers, the Packers dropped to 6-8 and were on the cusp of elimination. Love took over from that point, posting some absurd stat lines in a string of wins:
- Week 16: 17-28 passing for 212 yards, 3 total TDs, and 0 INTs
- Week 17: 24-33 passing for 256 yards, 4 total TDs, and 0 INTs
- Week 18: 27-32 passing for 316 yards, 2 total TDs, and 0 INTs
- Wild Card: 16-20 passing for 272 yards, 3 total TDs, and 0 INTs
From Week 9 to 18, Jordan Love had 21 passing touchdowns to just three interceptions. Over that stretch, he was third in adjusted EPA/play, fourth in success rate, and fifth in big-time-throw rate. He was outside the top 15 quarterbacks in all three categories over the first eight weeks of the season.
Most impressive to me, though, is how much Love’s accuracy improved. From Week 1-8, he ranked 32nd in completion percentage over expected (CPOE) and 35th in adjusted completion rate. From Week 9 to 18, he ranked 3rd in CPOE and 9th in adjusted completion rate. Against the Cowboys, he had a CPOE of 17.7%. The best in the NFL this season was Purdy at 5.4%.
Jordan Love fadeaways 🔥
— PFF (@PFF) January 14, 2024
There should be little doubt at this point that Jordan Love is the future of this franchise. Just one season after Aaron Rodgers left, the Packers have a budding superstar at the position. It’s unfair. Most teams spend large swaths of time in the wilderness at the quarterback position. But the normal rules don’t apply in Green Bay, and Love is proving to be the next in a great line of quarterbacks playing at Lambeau.
Head coach Matt LaFleur deserves a ton of credit for the ascension of his young quarterback. Green Bay had seven offensive possessions in the game on Sunday, and six resulted in touchdowns. Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, who is reportedly a “top candidate” for head coaching vacancies, had absolutely no answers for the Love onslaught.
Last summer, Love signed a one-year extension with the Packers worth up to $22.5 million, keeping him signed through the 2024 season. Rather than sign a long-term contract, the Packers told Love to prove it, and he absolutely has. Love has earned himself a ton of money over the past two months, and his extension should be significant this coming offseason.
First, the Packers will look to play spoiler one more time in the playoffs – they’re 9.5-point underdogs on the road against the 49ers this week. It’s a daunting task for the fifth-youngest NFL playoff team since the 1970 merger. However, with Love under center and young talent all over the roster, the future is bright in Green Bay.