Down by eight with 2:09 left, Matt LaFleur elected to kick a field goal.
That’s going to be one of the Green Bay’s lasting memories from losing the NFC Championship Game to Tampa Bay, 31-26.
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers said he was “gutted” more than once in his postgame press conference. But asked about LaFleur electing to kick instead of go for it on fourth-and-goal at the Buccaneers’ 8, Rodgers deflected.
“I didn’t have a decision on that one,” he said. “It wasn’t my decision, but I understand the thinking. Above two minutes with all of our timeouts. But it wasn’t my decision.”
Rodgers, however, did note he figured the Packers would have another play after a third-down incompletion to Davante Adams. The quarterback may have had a lane to run on the right side as well.
“I felt great about the third-down call. We actually ran it earlier in the game — the same play that ‘Tae caught out of the end zone,” Rodgers said. “I felt like I had a chance, maybe, to run it. But I felt like there was a guy kind of closing on me. Based on the call — Matty allowed me to call that third-down play. If I’d known we were going to kick it if we didn’t get it, maybe something else would’ve been… maybe would’ve gone with some sort of crossing routes maybe there instead. But I thought we maybe were going to have four chances to get it.”
And once Rodgers saw the place-kicking team running onto the field, there wasn’t time to lobby LaFleur to keep the offense on the field.
“That decision was made and we moved on,” Rodgers said.
Unfortunately for the Packers, it’s the Buccaneers who are moving on to Super Bowl LV.