Matt LaFleur was not happy with Aaron Jones on the Green Bay Packers' final drive in the loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Packers had just under a minute to get a touchdown. Jordan Love kicked things off with a 46-yard strike to Jayden Reed. Green Bay moved downfield and only wiped eight seconds off the clock. With no timeouts, it was important to get out of bounds whenever possible.
However, on the next play, Aaron Jones made a costly mistake by staying in bounds. The ball was snapped with 51 seconds remaining. Jones needed to sprint out of bounds to save clock, but he instead fought for yards in the middle of the field.
The result was disastrous. Jones gained zero yards, but the decision wasted over 20 seconds. By the time the Packers snapped the ball for the next play, only 28 seconds remained. It was a drive-crushing mistake, leaving Green Bay with little margin for error, with so little time remaining and no timeouts.
Packers coach Matt LaFleur wasn't happy with Aaron Jones' decision to stay in bounds
LaFleur was asked about Jordan Love's performance in the potential game-winning drive. He went straight to the costly play by Jones.
"I thought there was an opportunity to get out of bounds right there, and we didn't. That was critical because that wasted a ton of time. We would've had a couple of opportunities at the end of the game. That was like 20 seconds or so. It felt like forever," said LaFleur.
Although he's right, it was still surprising to hear LaFleur go after Jones in the press conference. While he didn't actually blame him, instead saying "we" didn't get out of bounds, he's calling out his running back. It was Jones' mistake.
And LaFleur brought it up again later in the press conference when discussing the final drive.
"Our guys got up on the ball in a timely fashion, with some urgency, but I really think the play that really hurt us obviously was wasting so much time when we checked it down to Aaron Jones," said LaFleur.
LaFleur isn't wrong. Everything has to go perfectly when you have less than a minute with no timeouts. Clock management is priority number one. That means understanding when to fight for yards and when to get out of bounds. In that situation, the latter is almost always the best option. Jones' only way to pick up yards was to make a defender miss, which he couldn't.
The Packers will take positives from this performance. They finally started fast, and Jordan Love made a bunch of impressive plays. But they will regret some costly decisions, including Jones' mistake on the final drive.
Despite the mistake, you can still win big. Sleeper Picks lets you draft Packers players and choose if they'll go over or under a projected stat. Get your picks right and win BIG! New users get a 100% deposit match up to $100 too, so there's no better time to start drafting. Sign up for Sleeper now!