Packers QB Jordan Love excelling under pressure entering playoffs

Jordan Love is a quarterback who is in complete control of the Green Bay Packers offense right now, and that includes when things break down and there is pressure in his face.

Since Week 14, Love has completed 60 percent of his passes when facing pressure, according to PFF, good for the sixth-best completion rate in football during that span. Love has also taken care of the football in these situations, not throwing any interceptions.

”It’s just having a feel of the play,” said Love at his locker on Wednesday. “What the defense is giving to me and finding the best answers for it.”

This is one area of many for Love and the Packers offense where we have seen a stark turnaround in performance throughout the course of the season. Through the first eight games, Love was completing only 42.9 percent of his throws when under duress, which ranked 30th out of 36 eligible quarterbacks.

“That’s something I’ve worked at and got a better feel of where I need to go with the ball. But I think more than anything else, that’s what it is, just having answers versus pressure. Knowing where to go and just get the ball to the playmakers.”

Week 12 against the Detroit Lions is where quarterbacks coach Tom Clements noticed a shift in how Love performed when under pressure. That improvement started with Love’s decision-making in those split-second situations and knowing where to go with the ball.

Clements noted the 22-yard catch and run by AJ Dillon in this game as a prime example of this. The original call was for a downfield throw, but the pressure got to Love as that play was developing, so he found his check-down option and was still able to not only generate a positive play but an explosive one as well.

The last two weeks, in particular, examples like the one described above are happening regularly throughout the course of the game. When there is pressure that makes its way through, there is seemingly zero panic in Love. He either has a good idea pre-snap of where the pressure is coming from and when it does, he knows exactly where to go with the football to get it out of his hands.

“I think if anything,” added Love, “it’s just having answers. That’s definitely something I’ve improved on in my game and gotta keep trying to improve on to keep having those answers. Be able to take advantage of what the defense wants to do.”

It’s diagnosing what the defense is doing, what the protection responsibilities are up front, and knowing where his pass-catchers are going to be, so if the pressure gets through, a quick decision is required; it’s all reactionary at that point, as Love knows exactly where the ball needs to go.

Although Love has proven to be well-equipped to handle pressure that sneaks through, the offensive line has done well limiting it–so it’s not as if Love is under constant duress either. During that same span of five games, Love has been pressured just 29.7 percent of the time, which is the fifth-lowest rate since Week 14 out of 42 eligible quarterbacks.

Like many other areas for Love, his rapid improvement has been a key part of the Packers’ turnaround on offense over this second half of the season. All the more impressive is that this is happening on the fly as a first-time starting quarterback.

Story originally appeared on Packers Wire