An important part of the quarterback sneak is actually having the ball.
Packers quarterback Jordan Love learned that the hard way Sunday.
Love failed to indicate to his lineman to snap the ball and then attempted to sneak without the ball, resulting in a critical false start on fourth down that killed a Packers' drive late in the fourth quarter against the Falcons.
Atlanta tallied the game-winning field goal on the next drive to complete its rally from a 12-point deficit in the 25-24 win.
"I just messed up the operation with the cadence on that one," Love said. "Not everybody got the call to get the sneak, so I just messed that operation up there."
When you forget the snap count on the QB sneak. Poor Jordan Love. ??§????В #NFL pic.twitter.com/gxzFVlbMnS- Steelers Depot 7??? (@Steelersdepot) September 18, 2023
The Packers led 24-22 with 6:49 remaining when they faced a fourth-and-one at their own 34-yard-line.
Packers coach Matt LaFleur called a play that allowed for Love to check to a sneak "if he thought he could get it."
Love, a mobile quarterback, made that check.
But Love did not indicate the plan to his offensive linemen, who all remained in their sets while he awkwardly stumbled forward between the center and right guard without the ball.
The false start forced the Packers to punt.
"I said the wrong thing. It's pretty much not a play until I give the live word and I gave the wrong live word on that one," Love said. "Just messed it up."
LaFleur tried to take the heat off his young quarterback in his first season replacing Aaron Rodgers as Green Bay's starter.
"I think he did (check to the play) and nobody heard him," LaFleur said. "It was loud and it's an unfortunate situation but, yeah, we were definitely going to call a timeout there and go for it on fourth down."
Atlanta followed Love's mistake with a 12-play, 66-yard drive that resulted in a field goal and allowed the Falcons to overcome a 24-12 deficit entering the fourth quarter.
The Packers (1-1) failed to gain a first down after getting the ball back with 57 seconds remaining.
Love completed 14-of-25 passes for 151 yards and three scores while adding two rushes for 23 yards.
He has thrown for three touchdowns in both starts this season and has zero interceptions.
"It comes down to execution and being better in the fourth quarter and being able to play a full game and I think we didn't execute well enough in the fourth quarter," Love said. "We weren't able to move the ball on third downs, so that's what hurt us."
The Packers are now 1-1 after beating the Bears in their season opener.