The Packers should have been building around Aaron Rodgers, not taking a mistake-prone prospect from Utah State to sit for a while. They passed on some good receivers to take Love. They were apparently too caught up in their history, trying to replicate the success of the Rodgers pick when they took their next star QB late in the first round despite having Brett Favre.
The lone caveat to the shortsighted Love pick was that if the Packers found their next high-level quarterback, it would eventually be worth the trouble. Here's the problem: Love got his shot and he might be the worst starting quarterback in the NFL this season. He's certainly on a short list.
The Packers were awful on offense in Sunday's 24-10 loss to the Minnesota Vikings, and another bad game from Love that gets us closer to the conclusion that the Packers' unbelievable run of quarterback play over three decades has finally ended. Playing at home against a middling Vikings defense, the Packers didn't get a first down until about four minutes to go in the second quarter. Green Bay was stuck on minus-5 net passing yards deep into the first half. The Packers didn't score a touchdown in the first half. It's the fifth straight game without a first-half TD and Fox said that's the Packers' longest such streak since 1988, four years before Favre arrived.
In the second half, the Vikings scored to take a 17-3 lead, Love threw a bad interception on a deep pass (Love has been one of the worst QBs in the NFL in deep passing this season) and the Vikings immediately cashed it in for another touchdown.
In the fourth quarter the Packers had some signs of life, but they failed twice inside the red zone. A bad drop didn't help Love the first time the Packers turned it over on downs. Then the defense got the ball back on a turnover, but the Packers had a run that got nothing, Love took a sack, he threw incomplete into tight coverage on third down and his fourth-down scramble came up a yard short.
Love isn't a rookie. He sat and watched for three years, and while that's a horrible allocation of resources for a Super Bowl contender, he was supposed to emerge as a somewhat polished product when he was ready to start. He had to be, after the Packers invested all that time on him. Instead, the Packers developed Love for three years just to come out of it with an inept offense. It's not like the Packers have another realistic option this season; their backup is fifth-round rookie Sean Clifford. They might as well just let Love have the season, unless his play gets so bad that they can't watch it anymore.
Here's what the Packers got out of that Love draft pick, unless there's a big turnaround coming: no more Super Bowl appearances for Rodgers. The Packers fell short twice as a No. 1 seed in the NFC after picking Love, and maybe an impact first-round player instead of a backup QB could have pushed them over the finish line. They got little benefit from having Love on his rookie deal. Green Bay had to get creative with Love's contract because the timeline of him starting was 2023, at best. The Packers should have seen that coming. He got an extension worth $13.5 million guaranteed. The Packers traded Rodgers, in part, to see what they had in Love this season, which was another consequence of a bad draft pick.
And it's looking like they didn't get a viable quarterback either. They got a Week 1 win at the Chicago Bears. And some good reps in the preseason. That's about it.
Now the Packers are back at square one. It has been a long time since the Packers had no answer at quarterback, and it's a bad place to be in the NFL. Maybe Love will come alive in the second half of the season and be that answer, but that seems dubious right now. They'll probably need to use a first-round pick at quarterback in April.
If they do, at least this time around it will make sense.
Here are the rest of the winners and losers from Week 8 of the NFL season:
The Bengals got their third straight win and it was their most impressive victory of the season. They carved up the San Francisco 49ers and won 31-17. The key sequence came in the fourth quarter after the 49ers cut Cincinnati’s lead to 24-17. The Bengals immediately went on a 10-play, 78-yard drive and scored a game-sealing touchdown. Burrow had 283 yards, three touchdowns and a 134.8 passer rating.
The talk this week will be about a couple of bad interceptions by Brock Purdy, but the play of the 49ers' defense recently is equally concerning. But on Sunday, a lot of that had to do with the Bengals' offense. They’re back.
First-place Seattle Seahawks: A few weeks ago, it seemed inconceivable that anyone but the San Francisco 49ers would win the NFC West.
But by the end of October, the Seahawks took over first place.
The 49ers have lost three in a row, and the Seahawks pulled a win out of the fire on Sunday. Helped by an interception on an odd third-down pass call by the Cleveland Browns with less than two minutes to go, Geno Smith led a game-winning drive. Jaxon Smith-Njigba scored the go-ahead 9-yard touchdown in the final minute and the Seahawks won 24-20. They're 5-2, ahead of the 5-3 49ers.
There’s a long way to go this season but the Seahawks are atop the NFC West as we head into November. Nobody saw that coming.
Tyreek Hill's MVP chances: Hill isn't going to win MVP. It's a quarterback award. And if Jerry Rice never won an MVP, Hill won't either.
But if there was a receiver who had a case, it's Hill. He became the first receiver in the Super Bowl era to reach 1,000 yards in his team's first eight games, as he had another huge day in a Miami Dolphins' 31-17 win over the New England Patriots.
When the Patriots took an early lead, Hill's 42-yard touchdown snatched the momentum right back. It was a big play early in the game, establishing that the Dolphins weren't about to be upset on Sunday.
Hill had eight catches for 112 yards and a touchdown. It's hard to argue any player has had more impact this season. That's pretty valuable.
Facing Houston Texans rookie C.J. Stroud, who went second overall in the draft behind Young and has been the better player at this early stage of their careers, Young led a drive that ended in a game-winning field goal as time expired. The Panthers got their first win of the season, 15-13.
Young was solid, outplaying Stroud. He had 235 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions. That should slow down the unfavorable comparisons between him and Stroud for at least a week.
The Cowboys' offense has been stuck, but getting Lamb going might be a good sign. Prescott threw for 304 yards and four touchdowns in a 43-20 win over the Los Angeles Rams. Lamb had 12 catches for 158 yards and two touchdowns.
The Cowboys' passing game is warming up at the right time. They face the Eagles next week in a huge NFC East showdown.
Travis Etienne Jr.: Calvin Ridley was supposed to be the catalyst for the Jacksonville Jaguars' offense. Trevor Lawrence was supposed to be the rising superstar. But week after week, it's Etienne who impresses.
Etienne had another big game Sunday. He had 79 yards rushing and 70 receiving. His 56-yard touchdown catch in the second half helped the Jaguars pull away from the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Jaguars are 6-2 after the 20-10 win. They'll probably run away with the AFC South. They even have a shot at the No. 1 seed in the AFC given their soft schedule. And Etienne's consistent brilliance is a big reason why.
Patrick Mahomes: The Kansas City Chiefs' offense has looked off for most of the season. It's certainly not as good as the past few years.
The biggest difference was turnovers. The Chiefs turned it over five times, four by the offense and once on special teams. Mahomes lost a fumble and threw two interceptions. Mahomes was battling the flu and maybe that affected him, but it’s also worth asking if the Chiefs' offense is going to hit its top gear this season.
Joshua Dobbs: For a couple weeks, Dobbs looked like he was having a bit of a breakout.
Dobbs got a rare opportunity late in the preseason when the Arizona Cardinals were desperate for a starter and traded for him from the Cleveland Browns. Dobbs played well for a few weeks. The Cardinals even beat the Dallas Cowboys.
The wheels have fallen off for the Cardinals since then. They lost their fifth straight game as they fell 31-24 to the Baltimore Ravens. The Cardinals' offense was stuck on seven points until more than halfway through the fourth quarter. A late rally came up short.
Kyler Murray seems very close to a return. He didn’t have an injury listed on the team’s injury report this past week (though, oddly he was listed as doubtful). That means Dobbs will soon go back to the bench. He has probably earned himself more years as a backup, in Arizona or elsewhere. But his hopes of being a regular starter in the NFL probably vanished during the Cardinals’ losing streak.
Graham Gano, Brian Daboll and the New York Giants: The Giants were about to pull off a really good win over their crosstown rival, the New York Jets. With third-string quarterback Tommy DeVito replacing injured Tyrod Taylor, who was replacing Daniel Jones, the Giants led 10-7. When the Giants sacked Zach Wilson on fourth-and-10 with 1:26 remaining, it seemed the game was over.
The Giants blew it. On fourth-and-1, head coach Brian Daboll didn’t go for it even though a field goal would have only put them up six points. In bad weather, Gano missed a 35-yard field goal. Then Wilson, who had done very little all day, completed a couple of 29-yard passes, the Jets spiked it with one second left and tied the game on a field goal. The Jets won it 13-10 on an overtime field goal.
Daboll and the Giants are having a rough follow-up after making the playoffs last season. They’re 2-6. This loss might hurt more than the rest because they had to do everything wrong to screw it up, and they did.
Arthur Smith: The Atlanta Falcons have one of the softest schedules you'll see, and they're still going to manage to hang around .500.
The Falcons played the Tennessee Titans on Sunday. The Titans aren't good and were giving rookie quarterback Will Levis his first NFL snaps because Ryan Tannehill has an ankle injury. And the Falcons were outplayed in a 28-23 loss. DeAndre Hopkins torched the Falcons for three touchdowns, Taylor Heinicke had to come in for a concussed Desmond Ridder and he couldn't lead a comeback, and the Falcons fell to 4-4.
There's no more fitting thing in the NFL than the middling Falcons being .500. They should run away with the NFC South. All they have left are winnable games. But they're not good enough to take advantage of it.
Washington Commanders: The Commanders had 472 yards of offense, recovered two Eagles fumbles inside their own 10-yard line, and still lost 38-31 to the Philadelphia Eagles. That's hard to do.
The Commanders are probably sellers at this week's trading deadline at 3-5, which will make it even harder for key figures like head coach Ron Rivera and quarterback Sam Howell to establish themselves in the Commanders' long-term plans.
Howell was pretty good Sunday, but a fourth-quarter interception that was returned deep into Washington territory was the game's turning point. Rivera has been a good coach but this year he's not pushing any of the right buttons. It's all bad for the Commanders.
Of all the teams that should be talking themselves into being sellers before Tuesday's trade deadline, the Commanders are near the top of the list.
Up-and-down Indianapolis Colts: The Colts are a hard team to figure out. Sometimes they look better than expected, like in a win at the Baltimore Ravens. Then there are games like Sunday.
The defense let the Colts down Sunday in a 38-27 loss to the New Orleans Saints. Taysom Hill ran for two touchdowns, Rashid Shaheed made some huge plays including a 58-yard touchdown and the Saints piled up 511 yards.
The Colts' offense was OK, but a bad second-half interception by Gardner Minshew in Saints territory didn't help.
The 3-5 Colts have looked good at times. They just can't do it consistently.