Packers squander late chance to score tying touchdown
GREEN BAY, Wis. — Despite all their miscues, ill-timed penalties and strategical errors, the Green Bay Packers still had a chance to maintain control of their playoff destiny by finding the end zone from 1 yard away.
But after comebacks the past two weeks, all the Packers found Sunday was misery after a 38-31 loss to the Steelers at Lambeau Field.
There were 20 seconds left, the Packers had a second-and-goal at the Steelers' 1, and
First, there was a false start penalty on right tackle Don Barclay.
“Trying to run a play,” Packers left tackle David Bakhtiari said. “Clock's running. People are screaming. I won't say it's the easiest situation.”
There was a mandatory 10-second run-off because the penalty came inside the final two minutes, and when the Packers lined up for second-and-goal at the 6 with 10 seconds left, confusion reigned.
“It just looked very chaotic and unorganized,” said fullback John Kuhn, who played for the Steelers in 2005-06. “It was a shame it came down to that. (Referee Carl Cheffers) announced it over the stadium speakers, so I think everybody caught on to that. It was just chaotic and very unorganized.”
From tight end Andrew Quarless' perspective, there was indecision beyond what was found with his teammates.
“I was kind of surprised with that 10-second deal,” Quarless said. “I did hear the ref say something, but to me there was a little level of confusion by them. I'm not going to blame it on them.''
The end came when quarterback Matt Flynn didn't take the snap until 3 seconds remained. His pass to Jarret Boykin in the end zone sailed high.
“We should have been able to get two plays off,” Flynn said. “We thought that getting the ball down, and getting the clock started, was a little bit weird.
“I don't know what happened. I think (Cheffers) was holding up the center and wound the clock when he was backing up, so I don't know.”
The Packers were out of timeouts when they burned their last one after Steelers tailback Le'Veon Bell ran to the Packers' 1 with 1:35 to play. That play was preceded by an encroachment penalty on Packers linebacker Nick Perry on fourth-and-3, which gave the Steelers a first down at the Green Bay 5.
After Bell's run to the 1, nose tackle B.J. Raji admitted the defense allowed Bell to score on the next play to save time.
“I would just say collectively, as a defense, we just decided with no more timeouts, we felt like the best chance was to (let them) score,” Raji said.
Asked why the Packers hadn't made that decision the previous play, linebacker A.J. Hawk said, “I don't know, that's a good question.''
When Packers coach Mike McCarthy was asked if he considered letting the Steelers score on first down from the 5, he paused, then said, “No, I didn't.”
In the end, that lack of timeout prevented the Packers from stopping the clock with 10 seconds left to get organized and essentially ensure they would get at least two cracks to score the game-tying touchdown.
“It was right there,'' cornerback Tramon Williams scored. “The opportunity was right there before us, and we let it slip through our hands.''
Mike Woods is a freelance writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers offensive line targeting injury-free performance as key
- Steelers interested in playing internationally again
- Former Steelers kicker Reed doesn’t like new NFL PAT rule
- Steelers’ Heyward looking to stay for long haul
- Steelers claim QB-turned-WR Gardner
- Steelers guard Foster likes offense’s direction heading into season
- NFL moves PAT back to 15-yard line
- Steelers gamble Chickillo can make transition to outside linebacker
- Starkey: Clayton, Steelers and ‘Shouldergate’
- Steelers’ Lemon hopes to put squeeze on opposing QBs
- Steelers sign first-round pick Dupree