With their playoff lives seemingly hanging in the balance Sunday afternoon, the Packers elected to play it safe.
Trailing the Buccaneers by eight points with just over two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, Green Bay elected to kick a field goal on a fourth-and-goal from Tampa Bay’s 8-yard line. Aaron Rodgers and Co. never got the ball back, and they’re now forced to watch the Bucs represent the NFC in Super Bowl LV.
Speaking with the media after the game, Rodgers effectively side-stepped a question about the decision to kick rather than take another shot at the end zone.
“I didn?t have a decision on that one,” Rodgers said, per Pro Football Talk. “It wasn?t my decision, but I understand the thinking. Above two minutes with all of our timeouts. But it wasn?t my decision.”
Matt LaFleur tried to make sense of the call after the game. With three timeouts at his disposal as well as the two-minute warning, the Packers head coach was confident his defense would be able to get a stop and give the ball back to Rodgers with a chance to win it. Green Bay came awfully close to regaining possession, but a controversial pass interference penalty sealed the game for Tampa Bay.
It would have been deflating for the Packers to come away with no points on what proved to be their final drive of the NFC Championship Game. That said, Green Bay probably should have had more confidence in the likely 2020 MVP’s chances of putting up six in that situation.