Packers’ Matt LaFleur reportedly ‘prays’ every time Anders Carlson attempts a field goal

It often feels like kickers come up in the most important situations in games. Therefore, it helps when the coach has full confidence in his ability.

That might not be the case with Matt LaFleur and Packers kicker Anders Carlson. In the fourth quarter of Green Bay’s NFC divisional-round contest with the 49ers, Fox’s Tom Rinaldi reported that LaFleur has what appears to be mixed confidence, at best, in his kicker.

Rinaldi reported, “[LaFleur] basically says, ‘Every time he goes out there, I just pray.’”

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The report from Rinaldi came moments after Carlson missed a 41-yard field goal with 6:18 left in the game. The boot would have pushed Green Bay’s lead over the 49ers to 24-17.

Instead, after the miss, the 49ers drove down 69 yards to score a go-ahead touchdown to take a 24-21 lead. The Packers, needing a field goal to tie, wound up losing on a game-sealing interception from Jordan Love after just four plays.

Carlson, a rookie drafted in the sixth round of the 2023 NFL Draft, has had a mediocre campaign. He went 27-for-33 in 2023, making all 20 kicks up to 39 yards but going 7-for-13 from 40 yards and beyond. He was 34-for-39 in extra points, the worst PAT rate in the NFL.

The Packers made the change at kicker after 2022, deciding to move on from 16-year Packer Mason Crosby, who would be entering the 2023 season at 39. Crosby had gone 24-of-25 from field goals from less than 50 yards, but he was just 1-for-4 from 50 and beyond.

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