Matt LaFleur Says Packers' Error on 49ers' Game-Winning Field Goal 'Can't Happen'

Adam WellsJanuary 23, 2022

GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN - JANUARY 22:  Head coach Matt LaFleur of the Green Bay Packers watches during pre-game warm-ups prior to the NFC Divisional Playoff game against the San Francisco 49ers at Lambeau Field on January 22, 2022 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)
Quinn Harris/Getty Images

Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur took responsibility for his team's special teams blunder at the end of Saturday's 13-10 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC divisional round.

Speaking to reporters after the game, LaFleur said it "can't happen" in reference to the Packers only having 10 players on the field for Robbie Gould's game-winning, 45-yard field goal.

"It's unacceptable," LaFleur added. "Again, that's on me."

Tom Pelissero @TomPelissero

The NFL’s worst special teams unit turned in one of the worst special teams performances in NFL playoff history … and appears to have had only 10 men on the field for the winning field goal. <a href="https://t.co/bJvPtHYXkQ">pic.twitter.com/bJvPtHYXkQ</a>

Per Football Outsiders' DVOA, Green Bay had the worst special teams unit in the NFL during the regular season.

That came back to bite the team in Saturday's loss. The 49ers' only touchdown came when Jordan Willis blocked Corey Bojorquez's punt attempt that Talanoa Hufanga recovered and took six yards for the game-tying score with 4:41 remaining in the fourth quarter. 

Earlier in the game, the Packers had a chance to take a 10-0 lead before halftime after gaining 75 yards on five plays in 53 seconds, but 49ers safety Jimmie Ward broke through the line of scrimmage to block Mason Crosby's 39-yard field-goal attempt.

Green Bay's kickoff coverage unit was also lacking, as the 49ers averaged 30.3 yards on three returns in the game. 

The Packers only having 10 players on the field for Gould's game-winning field goal was just the tip of the iceberg on what was a terrible day in the midst of a horrible season for their special teams.

LaFleur did acknowledge there were other reasons why the Packers lost.

"You could argue that was the difference in the game, but I think it was more than just that play," he said. "I don't know exactly what happened. I'll have to go back and take a look at the tape. We had two blocks in this game, and obviously it played a big part in us coming up short."

All of it adds up to the Packers, the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs for the second consecutive year, getting a much earlier start to the offseason than they were planning.