There are various reasons why the Green Bay Packers lost to the Atlanta Falcons in Week 2.
They threw away a 12-point fourth-quarter lead, couldn't stop the run, and the offense faltered late after establishing rhythm early on. However, the Packers inexcusably missed the opportunity to put points on the board on their opening possession.
Rookie Anders Carlson entered the field to attempt a 51-yard field goal, but the Packers were flagged for a delay of game penalty, pushing it back to a tougher but still achievable 56-yard attempt. Head coach Matt LaFleur wanted no part of that and opted to punt.
It was a head-scratching decision by LaFleur. First, why didn't he use a timeout? That's poor clock management from the Packers, but LaFleur needed to see that. Then, his decision to punt shows a lack of confidence in his rookie kicker.
Packers: Matt LaFleur defends strange decision to punt from Falcons 38-yard line
In his postgame press conference, LaFleur was asked about the decision to punt on the opening drive.
"It was a really long field goal," said LaFleur. "I mean, that was a silly penalty. We can't have that. Those are penalties that get you beat, and obviously, when you lose a game by one point, that's one of the critical points in the game."
The penalty cost the Packers five yards, but it certainly didn't put them out of field-goal range.
Carlson has struggled for consistency, but he has more than enough power to convert from 56 yards, especially in a dome. If LaFleur doesn't believe he can make it, Carlson shouldn't be kicking for the Green Bay Packers.
And Carlson can make it. He hit a 57-yarder at Lambeau Field in the preseason and converted a 52-yarder last week in Chicago that would've made it from three miles away.
To his credit, the Packers' rookie kicker has bounced back incredibly after an up-and-down summer. He has made every kick when it counts, converting all 10 attempts in his opening two games.
Every point counts, and LaFleur didn't even attempt to add three. Carlson may have missed, but at least the Packers would've tried to put points on the board.
The entire play was comically bad. A delay of game penalty there is inexcusable, as is the decision to punt from the Falcons' 38-yard line.