Jordan Love stats vs. 49ers: Late interceptions erase Packers QB’s early success in playoff loss

Packers QB Jordan Love had a terrific first season as an NFL starter in 2023, but he — much like his team — was often streaky.

The 25-year-old got off to a dominant start in the opening weeks of the season before hitting a rough patch in October, a stretch which included some baffling decisions. By the second half of the campaign, Love regained his form and was able to lead Green Bay to a come-from-behind playoff berth.

Packers fans saw both sides of Love in Saturday night’s divisional-round loss to the 49ers. He fit throws into tight windows early on, routinely driving Green Bay down the field against one of the league’s toughest defenses, but Love also committed a pair of costly turnovers in the second half as the game slipped away. 

MORE: Projecting Jordan Love’s next contract

Here’s a closer look at Love’s performance against the 49ers, including two pivotal second-half interceptions.

Jordan Love stats vs. 49ers

Love finished 21-of-34 passing for 194 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions in the loss to San Francisco. 

He flashed a strong connection with Romeo Doubs once again, hitting the second-year receiver four times for 83 yards with the help of some tight-window throws, but he struggled to establish a rhythm with other pass-catchers. Jayden Reed (4-35) was the only other Packers receiver to surpass 20 yards, as Green Bay found more success running the ball with Aaron Jones.

Love threw both of his touchdown passes in the second half, hitting a wide-open Bo Melton on a busted coverage by the 49ers and later finding TE Tucker Kraft after a long Keisean Nixon kick return (and heads-up fumble recovery by Eric Wilson) set up the offense in the red zone. 

While the Packers’ defense shoulders some blame for allowing 10 points in the fourth quarter, the offense’s inability to score over the game’s final 20 minutes rightfully puts some of the blame on Love. Green Bay was near midfield looking to extend its lead to two possessions when Love was intercepted by Dre Greenlaw late in the third quarter. While the 49ers didn’t score on the turnover, they kept themselves in the game simply by ending a Packers scoring threat.

Love later had the opportunity to go down the field and tie or win the game in the final minute of regulation, but he was again picked off by Greenlaw in a moment he would certainly like to have back.

Here’s what you need to know about the turnovers that doomed the Packers.

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Jordan Love interceptions

Love’s decision-making bubbled up as a concern early in the season, particularly when he threw three interceptions in a prime-time loss to the Raiders in October. There is no denying Love’s raw arm talent, but he proved on Saturday that his decision-making is still no sure thing.

The game-ending interception will go down as simply a poor decision by Love, who threw across his body into traffic on a play that had little chance of ending well. The ball didn’t have a prayer of finding Christian Watson, who was the closest Packers receiver, and it had a good chance of ending up in the arms of Fred Warner if Greenlaw didn’t come flying in to pluck it out of the air. 

Love’s first interception was tipped into Greenlaw’s arms, but he shares most of the blame for that turnover, as well. Love sailed a ball too high for a wide-open Tucker Kraft, to the point that the 6-5 Kraft was unable to bring it down. While Kraft might have had a shot at the ball if he had more time to react, Love missing on such a short throw was a regrettable moment. 

Coach Matt LaFleur hinted at Love’s first turnover as a turning point after the game, telling reporters he believed the Packers had “plenty of opportunities to put the game out of reach” but couldn’t get it done.

Turnovers plagued Love early in the season, as he threw 10 interceptions in a span of just seven games from Week 3 to Week 9, but the Utah State product remarkably threw just one over his previous nine games entering the divisional round.

If there is ever an environment for a young quarterback to regress a bit, a rainy Levi’s Stadium against a deep 49ers defense would be it. Still, Love and the Packers will go into the offseason feeling like they let one get away thanks to late-game mistakes.

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