Jordan Love’s three interceptions prove that box score scouting is a bad idea

·3 min read

How often is an interception a quarterback’s fault? Less often than you think. Football Outsiders has a metric called Adjusted Interceptions, which endeavors to assign responsibility for those bad plays to quarterbacks, receivers, defenders, situations, and occasionally, dumb luck. Per FO, there are quarterbacks who have great interception luck, and others who decidedly do not.

Green Bay Packers quarterback Jordan Love could certainly relate after Friday night’s game against the San Francisco 49ers. The box score tells you that in the Packers’ 28-21 loss, Love completed 13 of 24 passes for 176 yards, two touchdowns, three interceptions, and a passer rating of 66.0. Were you to look at that and move on with your day, you may think that Love is a bust, the Packers were insane for moving up to select him in the first round of the 2020 draft, and if anything happens to Aaron Rodgers, the Packers are going to have to go trade for Jimmy Garoppolo or something.

Not so fast. Love’s head coach was not going to assign blame to love for any of those picks.

“Basically two were drops and on the other one we had two receivers run the wrong routes,” Matt LaFleur told the Packers TV Network during the broadcast.

You may think that this is a case of a coach caping for his guy, but the tape tells a very different story.

Love’s first interception came with 13 seconds left in the first quarter. He was trying to get the ball to tight end Tyler Davis, but Davis couldn’t come up with it. Cornerback Marcelino McCrary-Ball came up with the tip-drill pick. You could say that maybe Love put a little too much gas on this throw, and it was high, but this is a catchable pass.

Love’s second interception ended the next drive with 12:21 left in the first half. He was throwing a backside dig to receiver Romeo Doubs, and if you look at the trajectory of the ball, Love actually threw this to a good place — over the head of cornerback Samuel Womack III, and in a place where Doubs has a better shot at the ball than his defender. It just so happened that Doubs lost the battle for the ball after it was caught.

Love’s third interception — and Womack’s second of the day — came with 5:31 left in the first half, and it was the third straight drive in which his pick ended a drive. Here, Love was trying to get the ball to Amari Rodgers over the middle, but Womack did a great job of getting inside position. You could say that Love might have done a better job of adjusting to that… and you might be right. On the other hand, is this one of the “wrong route” examples LaFleur talked about? We also don’t know. Perhaps Rodgers was supposed to do something else if he was covered in this way.

The point here is not to absolve Love of any responsibility for his bad day — if it’s obvious that he was gacking the ball all over the field, we’re going to tell you that. But in this case, it’s clear that Love’s day wasn’t quite as bad as the box score would have you believe.

Story originally appeared on Touchdown Wire