1 of 3 | Aaron Rodgers walks off the field after the Green Bay Packers loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC Championship game on Sunday in Green Bay, Wis. Photo by Mark Black/UPI | License Photo
Jan. 25 (UPI) -- Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said it wasn't his choice for his team to kick a field goal instead of trying to score a touchdown near the end of their NFC Championship loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Rodgers commented on the call during a video news conference after the 31-26 setback on Sunday in Green Bay, Wis.
The Packers trailed 31-23 with just 2:09 remaining in the game when they faced a 4th-and-goal on the Tampa Bay 8-yard line. Rodgers had three-consecutive incompletions at the end of the drive.
Packers coach Matt LaFleur sent out kicker Mason Crosby instead of allowing Rodgers and the team's No. 1 ranked offense to attempt a game-tying touchdown and two-point conversion. Crosby made the 26-yard field goal before the Buccaneers offense returned to the field and ran out the clock for a victory.
"I didn't have a decision on that one," Rodgers said after the game. "It wasn't my decision. I understand the thinking, two minutes with all of our timeouts [remaining], but it wasn't my decision."
Rodgers said LaFleur allowed him to call the Packers' play on third down before the field goal. The third-down play, which resulted in an incompletion, was a pass intended for Davante Adams.
"If I had known we were going to kick it, maybe I would gone with a crossing route instead, but I thought we'd have four chances to get [the touchdown]."
Rodgers said "he didn't know" when asked if he had a chance to persuade LaFleur to attempt a touchdown pass instead of kicking the field goal. He also said he was "gutted" after the loss.
Rodgers completed 33 of 48 passes for 346 yards, three scores and one interception in the loss. LaFleur said he didn't feel like he was on his "A game" in his performance as a coach.
"Anytime it doesn't work out, you always regret it, right?" LaFleur said of the decision to kick the field goal. "It was just the circumstances of having three shots and coming away with no yards and knowing that you not only need the touchdown, but you need the two-point [conversion].
"The way I was looking at it was, we essentially had four timeouts with the two-minute warning."
LaFleur said he had confidence that the Packers defense could get a stop after the kick, before the team was called for pass interference, which allowed the Buccaneers' drive to continue.
"We're always going to be process-driven here, and the way our defense was battling, the way our defense was playing, it felt like it was the right decision to do," LaFleur said. "It just didn't work out."
The Packers were three-point betting favorites to beat the Buccaneers before the NFC Championship game. Tampa Bay advanced to face the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV on Feb. 7 in Tampa, Fla.