Green Bay Packers QB Jordan Love fails to lead scoring drive but shows progress in preseason finale

If all goes well for the Green Bay Packers this season, they won't see Jordan Love play any meaningful football.

But the question now is whether they saw enough to feel good about him as their quarterback in 2022 if this is indeed the end for Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay.

Love played into the third quarter of Saturday's preseason finale -- a 19-0 loss to the Buffalo Bills to cap a winless preseason in which Rodgers and most of the starters didn't play a down -- but failed to lead a scoring drive. This after he led just one touchdown drive in his preseason debut two weeks earlier against the Houston Texans. (He missed the middle preseason game due to what he revealed Saturday was a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder.)

"I think for the most part he's done a nice job," Packers coach Matt LaFleur said after Saturday's game. "Certainly these are teachable moments, and I think you have to experience those and go through those in a game setting to really learn from them, so I'm pretty certain that he will learn from those mistakes and hopefully he doesn't repeat them."

The most egregious error came in the second quarter after he led the Packers to the Bills' 21-yard line. On first down, Love stumbled on a rollout to his right, got pressured and threw a ball into the end zone that safety Micah Hyde picked off.

"That's one I've just got to obviously learn from and just dump that to the sideline right there and play the next play," Love said.

Love finished 12-for-18 for 149 yards and the lone interception, while playing mostly against the Bills' starting defense.

"I just told him that you can't ever just risk it quite like that unless it's fourth down and the game's on the line, then certainly you can throw one up," LaFleur said. "But we never want to take points off the board and those, the interception and then the one at the end of the half, certainly could've taken points off the board."

Love had plenty of good moments, too: an opening drive that got all the way to the Bills' 1-yard line but ended on a failed fourth-and-goal play, and another drive that ended with a missed 28-yard field goal. Along the way, he hit Reggie Begelton for a 28-yard play-action pass and completed a 27-yard back-shoulder fade to Malik Taylor (who might have wrapped up a roster spot with a five-catch, 69-yard game).

Love, the Packers' first-round pick in 2020 who spent the entire offseason taking first-string reps while Rodgers stayed away during his dispute with the team, finished his first two preseason games with a combined stat line of 24-of-35 passing for 271 yards with one touchdown and one interception for a passer rating of 89.1.

Considering Love's rookie preseason was wiped out by COVID-19 protocols last year and that he spent the entire year as the inactive No. 3 quarterback, those two games could be his only work before the Packers have to decide next offseason if he's ready to replace Rodgers, whether it's Rodgers' decision to move on or theirs.

The Packers still have to decide whether they keep Kurt Benkert as a third quarterback, but Love's role -- for now -- is clear.

"I'm gonna be the backup quarterback for the Green Bay Packers, back up Aaron Rodgers as best I can and help him," Love said. "He's gonna go out there and do great things this season. Just trying to do whatever I can to get him ready for the season, get him ready each week and just do my job. Obviously being a backup, you still gotta be ready. Even as No. 3 you gotta be ready every day in our position, so keep doing what I'm doing."