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Jordan Love in complete control of Packers offense vs. Bears

In what ended up being a true win or go home game for the Green Bay Packers on Sunday against the Chicago Bears, quarterback Jordan Love delivered his best performance of the season.

Love finished the day completing 27-of-32 passes for 316 yards with two touchdowns. He averaged an impressive and efficient 9.9 yards per pass attempt. Love’s lone blemish on the stat sheet was a fumble, but otherwise, he was near-perfect.

“He just keeps proving to himself that he’s one of the best in this league,” said Jayden Reed at his locker. “Week in and week out, there’s not drop offs, every week he’s proven to us that he’s the guy.”

The offense ended up putting up just 17 points against Chicago, but Love and that unit were humming along for much of the game. As an offense, the Packers would average 7.2 yards per play and began the game with five straight possessions inside the Bears’ 25-yard line. For some context around that yards per play figure, San Francisco came into Week 18 averaging 6.7 yards per play, leading the NFL.

Where the Packers did sputter was on two occasions in the red zone, although Love delivered two beautiful throws on those drives – one to Romeo Doubs on the run and another to Bo Melton – that should have been touchdowns. The other instance came at the end of the first half, where Love took the blame for the Packers not being able to get a field goal attempt off. Realistically, 14 points were taken off the board on those three drives.

The Packers rookie receivers, Jayden Reed and Dontayvion Wicks, were Love’s go-to targets. Reed had 112 yards on just four receptions, while Wicks caught both touchdown passes. Behind a Packers’ offensive line that continues to get better, Aaron Jones rushed for over 100 yards for the third consecutive game.

Beyond the stat sheet, we are watching a quarterback in his first year as a starter that is in complete control of this offense right now—no matter the situation. That’s not only true of his performance against Chicago this week, but in the weeks leading up as well. While his performance against the Bears may be considered a career day, that level of play is much closer to being the norm for Love than the outlier.

Pre-snap, he is making the proper protection adjustments and when pressure does get through, he knows exactly where to go with the ball. His feel within the pocket, knowing when to step up or when to get outside of it, is second to none and Love’s deep ball accuracy has improved immensely. There’s also consistently a throw or two a game that makes you say ‘wow.’

“Jordan has been such a calm presence,” said Jon Runyan. “He has complete control of the offense. Everyone looks to him as a leader and he just goes out there and doesn’t blink at all. What he does, we trust him and what you’re able to see on the field. He’s a great guy. A great person in the locker room and what he’s done for us has been unbelievable.”

When things are going bad like they did for the Packers through the early to middle portion of the season, which included a four-game losing streak, where even picking up a first down felt like an impossible task at times, without the right type of person and player at the quarterback position, things could have gone off the rails. But instead, the Packers find themselves in the playoffs.

As always there are numerous reasons behind the Packers’ turnaround. In part, it’s a product of a young offense gaining valuable experience over the course of the season and reducing mistakes. It’s also the coaching staff learning what each of its players does best and consistently putting in those positions to success, along with many other things.

However, there were also the things behind the scenes that Love orchestrated, such as dinner at his house on Mondays for the offense. Or getting together with all the skill position plays on Tuesdays – an off day in the NFL – to watch film together. Wide receivers coach Jason Vrable mentioned recently that when a mistake was made, Love was always the first person to put his arm around the receivers and tell them to keep their heads up because he was coming back to them.

Players are going to fight for a teammate like that, and all of those factors, in their own way and to varying degrees, played a part in the Packers’ second half surge on offense.

“Just the brotherhood,” said Reed about the dinners at Love’s home.” When you know someone a little bit more, you’re willing to go that extra inch and fight a little bit more for them. I think it’s always great to get that brotherhood outside the building because at the end of the day, one day football is going to end and if you don’t have that brotherhood, you got no purpose.”

Of course, that turnaround is a testament to the entire team, including head coach Matt LaFleur, but even through those difficult times, the belief in Love never wavered within that locker room. Rather than wondering if they would turn things around, the question was instead when things would turn around.

The Packers finished 6-2 over their final eight games. From Love, this included 18 touchdowns to one interception. He would throw for 2,150 yards and complete nearly 70 percent of his passes. One season doesn’t make Love a Hall of Fame quarterback by any means, but he accomplished something in his first season as a starter that his two predecessors in Green Bay couldn’t—and that’s making the playoffs.

Although GM Brian Gutekunst may not admit it publicly, goal No. 1 coming into this season for Green Bay was to find out if Love could be the Packers long-term answer at quarterback. That question was answered prior to Week 18, but Love made sure to put an exclamation point on it anyways.

“I told him after this game,” said Rashan Gary, “he’s writing his legacy. Just stay focused. Stay locked in and it’s going to be a hell of a story.”

Story originally appeared on Packers Wire