Aaron Rodgers on Packers' Call to Kick FG vs. Bucs: 'It Wasn't My Decision'

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistJanuary 25, 2021

Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur talks to Aaron Rodgers during the second half of an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press

Head coach Matt LaFleur took the ball out of Aaron Rodgers' hands with a spot in the Super Bowl on the line.

The Green Bay Packers were down by eight points with less than three minutes remaining in Sunday's NFC Championship Game and facing a 4th-and-goal from the 8-yard line. Rather than attempt to score a touchdown and go for the game-tying two-point conversion, LaFleur elected to kick the field goal.

Green Bay never got the ball back in a 31-26 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

"It wasn't my decision," Rodgers said, per Andrew Siciliano of NFL Network. "Understand the thinking...but, it wasn't my decision."

Frankly, it was a stunning decision from LaFleur. Compounding it was the fact that the Packers didn't attempt an onside kick and instead gave the ball right back to Tom Brady, who was able to run out the clock with some assistance from a penalty by Kevin King on a key third down.

While the coaching at the end stands out, it isn't the only reason the Packers lost.

They fell behind 28-10 in the third quarter after Tampa Bay parlayed an Aaron Jones fumble into a touchdown one play later. Green Bay's defense then stepped up and held the Buccaneers to a mere three points in the final 28 minutes while picking off Brady three times.

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Yet Rodgers and the offense were unable to fully take advantage of the defense's play and scored a mere three points in the entire fourth quarter.

Rodgers still threw for 346 yards, but the likely MVP was unable to score a touchdown with the game on the line in the fourth quarter. It appeared as if there was a running lane for Rodgers on the third down before LaFleur chose to kick the field goal, but he chose to throw it into tight coverage.

The pass fell incomplete and turned out to be Rodgers' last throw of the season.