One of the most-anticipated games of the NFL’s Week 1 slate kicked off at Soldier Field, with the Chicago Bears taking on the visiting Green Bay Packers. With the departure of Aaron Rodgers to New York, Bears fans believed that this could finally be the year Chicago got out from under Green Bay’s shadow.
As for Packers fans, they believed a torch had been passed from Rodgers, to Jordan Love. A torch that the former Utah State passer could carry given his talent, and what he had done in limited action since he was drafted in the first round back in 2020.
On a macro level, Packers fans came away confident, thanks to Green Bay’s 18-point win over the Bears. Love looked the part, completing 15-of-27 passes for 245 yards and three touchdowns. Meanwhile his counterpart Justin Fields struggled, throwing an interception and opening the door to speculation about his future in Chicago.
But on a micro level, one play from that game could be the best evidence available to Packers fans that they have the team’s next franchise passer. Late in the second quarter the Packers faced a 3rd-and-10 situation on their own 44-yard line. With Green Bay holding a slim one-point lead, a failed third down could open the door to a punt, and Chicago taking the lead before halftime.
Love had other ideas.
While the Bears show Love two deep safeties before the snap, they spin into single-high zone coverage, dropping safety Eddie Jackson underneath. Wide receiver Jayden Reed runs a crossing route, working out of the right slot. This is the route that Love wants to throw, but the defender that poses the biggest problem is linebacker Tremaine Edmunds, lurking underneath.
Watch as Love solves the Edmunds problem:
Love uses his eyes to perfection, getting Edmunds to jump to the linebacker’s left before ripping a no-look throw away from the LB’s movement. To truly appreciate this throw, take a look from the end zone angle:
Put yourself in Edmunds’ mind here. You see Love drop back and, after a quick glance to your left — likely to spot the rotating safeties — you see him stare at your right. Once he hits his drop depth, you see him flash his eyes back to your left. Everything to that point is screaming to you that he’s trying to get you to move right, before throwing to your left.
That’s what Edmunds thinks, as he breaks in that direction. As he does, Love whips a no-look throw to Reed, crossing behind the linebacker into that secondary window, and 3rd and 10 turns into 1st and 10 thanks to the 30-yard gain.
Green Bay would tack on a field goal on the final play of the half to take a 10-6 lead into the locker room, and they would not look back.
Sure, it is one play. But it is a play that tells a story, one Packers fans have been longing to hear for months.
Love can play too.