Breaking down Jordan Love's first start as the face of the Green Bay Packers

2RTAAHH Green Bay Packers quarterback Jordan Love passes during the first half of an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears Sunday, Sept. 10, 2023, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Erin Hooley)

The 2020 NFL Draft is best remembered for a trio of successful quarterbacks going off the board within the first six selections — Joe Burrow, Tua Tagovailoa and Justin Herbert. Often forgotten is the fourth quarterback selected in the first round of that draft: Jordan Love.

The 26th pick by the Green Bay Packers, Love hardly saw the field in the first three years of his NFL career, playing 212 snaps — the equivalent of roughly three or four games. At the time of Love's selection, the Packers already had a quarterback in tow: one Aaron Rodgers, who still had multiple years remaining on his contract. Green Bay took a similar approach to Love that they had taken with Rodgers 15 years prior, sitting him behind a future Hall of Famer for a few years before handing him the reins.

The Packers traded Rodgers prior to the 2023 NFL Draft, a move that transferred the keys to the franchise to Love, who made his first opening day start this past Sunday against the Chicago Bears.

And Green Bay's first test of the season was a massive success, as they dismantled the Bears, 38-20, in Chicago. This was in spite of the fact the team was without its top receiver, Christian Watson.

Love completed 15 of his 27 passes for 245 yards, three touchdown passes and zero interceptions to go with a league-high 123.2 passer rating; however, he also finished with zero big-time throws and one turnover-worthy play. The turnover-worthy play in question was a snap that Love fumbled and then gathered to find a wide-open Luke Musgrave deep downfield. These numbers also came on just 30 dropbacks, the fourth fewest among starting quarterbacks in Week 1.

Click here to view Jordan Love's complete Week 1 performance in PFF Premium Stats

Despite a mostly clean outing from a turnover perspective, Love generated just a 59.4 passing grade, ranking 21st out of the 37 quarterbacks to throw a pass in Week 1. That is partially because he had just as many positively graded plays as negatively graded plays (eight). His 55.6% completion percentage (26th) left a lot to be desired, and his 63.0% adjusted completion percentage wasn’t much better, ranking third worst among quarterbacks to complete a pass in Week 1.

Love’s numbers were also a bit inflated by his receivers, with 62.5% of his passing yards coming after the catch — the eighth-highest rate in Week 1. That may lead some to think that Love was being coddled and only throwing short, quick passes, much like we saw in Anthony Richardson’s debut. However, Love was allowed to let loose, as his 10.6-yard average depth of target was the sixth highest in Week 1. In fact, 51.8% of his pass attempts were beyond the first-down marker, the third-highest rate of the week. He completed five of his 11 attempts beyond 10 yards, including one for a touchdown in the back of the end zone to Romeo Doubs. On passes targeted 20-plus yards downfield, Love produced just a 44.7 passing grade, the fifth worst among quarterbacks to attempt such a throw.

Love was pressured just six times on his 30 dropbacks, but he did not respond well to being under duress. His 34.5 pressured passing grade was the lowest mark of any quarterback to attempt a pass under pressure in Week 1. Only one pressure was converted into a sack, which Love scrambled into while not seeing a looping defender. He attempted just three passes under duress, the only completion being the aforementioned Musgrave deep ball.

Stat Pressure No Pressure
PFF Passing Grade 34.5 68.4
Passing Attempts 6 24
Completions 3 14
Yards 37 208
Touchdowns 0 3

Click here to view Jordan Love's complete Week 1 performance in PFF Premium Stats

From a clean pocket, Love was much better, putting up a 68.4 passing grade on 24 such dropbacks and completing 14 passes for 208 yards and three touchdowns. His 126.4 passer rating when kept clean ranked second only to Brock Purdy.

The Packers were willing to let Love sling it in his first start as the face of the franchise, and as long as he was kept clean, good things happened. However, pressure in the pocket created some problems for him and the offense. There were some things to like from Love in Week 1, but there is plenty more he needs to improve upon if the Packers hope to regain control of the NFC North.

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