NFL morning after: Mike McCarthy blew it

AP

You could call the NFC Championship Game a great comeback by the Seahawks, or you could call it a horrendous collapse by the Packers. But this was something different.

The Packers didn’t so much cost themselves Sunday’s game by playing badly in the fourth quarter, and the Seahawks can’t just credit their comeback to great play in the fourth quarter. What really cost the Packers this game is that when they had a chance to finish the Seahawks, put them away, step on their throats, they didn’t do it.

As great as it seemed like the Packers were playing when they built their 16-0 lead in the first half, the reality is that they were keeping the Seahawks in the game with overly cautious play calling and poor strategic decisions, particularly on fourth downs. Here are the four fourth downs that ought to have Packers coach Mike McCarthy kicking himself this morning:

1. With the Packers facing fourth-and-goal at the six-inch line in the first quarter, McCarthy decided to send in kicker Mason Crosby for a field goal. Just so you know I’m not just second-guessing after the fact, here’s what I tweeted immediately following that field goal:

2. With the Packers facing fourth-and-goal at the 1-yard line on the very next possession, McCarthy did it again: He decided to kick the field goal. That made it 6-0, when the Packers easily could have led 14-0. And McCarthy wasn’t done.

3. In the second quarter, with the Packers facing fourth-and-1 at the Seahawks’ 22-yard line, McCarthy decided to kick yet another field goal. That made it 16-0. And it was about as disappointing a 16-0 lead as a team could have. The Packers were dominating the Seahawks. They could have been up 28-0. They have Eddie Lacy. They have John Kuhn. They have a team set up to run for short yardage effectively. And McCarthy didn’t give them the chance.

At halftime, McCarthy told FOX’s sideline reporter Chris Myers that you have to take the points when you can against a good defense like Seattle’s. McCarthy was looking at it exactly the wrong way. When you’re playing a great team like Seattle, you have to score all the points you can, not just settle for three when you’re inches away from seven.

4. Early in the third quarter, with the Packers still leading 16-0, they had a fourth-and-1 at midfield. Go for it and pick up a first down, and you’re closing in on starting the second half with a score that probably breaks the Seahawks’ backs and sends the Packers to the Super Bowl. So what did Mike McCarthy do? He punted. On the ensuing drive, the Seahawks scored their first touchdown to cut the deficit to 16-7.

If the Packers had gone for it and gained the necessary yard on just one of those fourth-and-1 plays, they likely would have won in regulation. Instead, they lost in overtime.

I don’t want to suggest that McCarthy’s fourth-down decisions were the only thing that cost the Packers this game. Any time you melt down like the Packers did on Sunday, there are any number of things that went wrong: Failing to recover an onside kick. A defense that played great for 56 minutes allowing more than 200 yards and three touchdowns in the last four minutes of the fourth quarter and overtime. Morgan Burnett sliding after an interception when he appeared to have room for a big runback. A lot of things went wrong for the Packers late in the game.

But my contention is that even early in the game, when it appeared that everything was going right, McCarthy was getting a lot of things wrong. That cost McCarthy and his team a trip to the Super Bowl.

Here are my other thoughts from Sunday:

The Seahawks’ defense remains great. Aaron Rodgers may be the best player in the NFL right now, but Seattle made him look ordinary. Rodgers finished 19-for-34 for 178 yards, with one touchdown and two interceptions, for a passer rating of 55.8. That was just the second time in the last four years that Rodgers finished a game with a passer rating under 60. If the Seahawks have another great game in the Super Bowl, they have to be considered among the handful of greatest defenses in NFL history.

The Seahawks’ medical staff has some explaining to do. Russell Wilson took a hard helmet-to-helmet hit from Clay Matthews in the second quarter, and FOX’s Erin Andrews later reported that the Seahawks’ doctors only looked at Wilson for “two seconds” after that. Richard Sherman suffered an injury later in the game, went down in obvious pain on the sideline, and then went right back in without missing a single play. The sideline medical staff needs to explain why, with the NFL’s emphasis on player safety, those two players were allowed to keep playing without being thoroughly checked.

Russell Wilson has incredible luck. After picking up a fumbled snap on Sunday, Wilson has now fumbled 13 times in the regular season and postseason combined — and the Seahawks have recovered all 13 of those fumbles. That’s remarkably good fortune; the bounce of a football is so unpredictable that when a ball is fumbled, it’s little more than a coin flip which team is going to recover. But Wilson or his teammates keep falling on his fumbles. Wilson had a generally awful game on Sunday, with four interceptions, and yet when it was all said and done he topped 200 passing yards and his team somehow won. Things just keep going Wilson’s way.

The Colts wasted two first-round picks. Colts pass rusher Bjorn Werner was inactive for the AFC Championship Game simply because he hasn’t been effective this season, and running back Trent Richardson was inactive because of a family emergency, although he was expected to be inactive anyway because he hasn’t been effective either. Werner was the Colts’ 2013 first-round draft pick, and Richardson was the player the Colts acquired by trading away their 2014 first-round draft pick. And neither of them is even good enough to be one of the 46 active players for a must-win game. That’s some terrible decision-making by Colts General Manager Ryan Grigson.

No great quarterback gets less help from his teammates than Andrew Luck. It’s painful watching the Colts sometimes: Luck throws great passes and they get dropped. Luck is forced to run for his life and takes a beating behind a patchwork offensive line. The Colts’ defense fails to get stops. The Colts’ special teams makes major mistakes. It says something about how good Luck is that the Colts made it to the AFC Championship Game, because the rest of that roster is not very good. Compare the 53-player rosters of the four teams that played yesterday, and you’ll have to agree that the Colts have by far the least talent of the four. When Luck doesn’t play well — and he didn’t play well on Sunday in New England — the Colts get blown out.

Tom Brady is in for a rough Super Bowl Sunday. Congratulations to the Patriots for getting to their sixth Super Bowl with Brady as their quarterback. Brady will join former Bills and Broncos defensive lineman Mike Lodish as the only players to appear in six Super Bowls. But Brady is in for a tough time, because the Seahawks may have the toughest defense he’s ever faced in his NFL career.

The two best coaches in football are meeting in the Super Bowl. Either Patriots coach Bill Belichick will earn his fourth Super Bowl ring, or Seahawks coach Pete Carroll will become the first coach ever to win multiple championships at both the college and professional level. These are the two best coaches in football right now. Mike McCarthy could learn a thing or two from them.

155 responses to “NFL morning after: Mike McCarthy blew it

  1. Even if you don’t make it in from the 1 yard line, the Seahawks get the ball back there.

    No excuses, he choked and let his team down.

  2. You can’t coach heart. Seahawks have it. Packers made colossal mistakes and the Seahawks never stop fighting. Packers played well enough to win but simply didn’t.

  3. I didn’t agree with the goal line field goal either, but if the would have went for the TD on fourth down and were unsuccessful, everyone would have been screaming “why didn’t he kick the FG”.

  4. Much of McCarthy’s ineptitude is covered up by the fact Aaron Rodgers bails him out so often. He’s not a great playcaller, his clock management skills in the Andy Reid zone and he doesn’t adjust well.

    Still, the most bizarre thing in hindsight is Morgan Burnett just going down when he had a lot of open field. He could have at least had 15-20 more yards and maybe Green Bay gets another FG and more time off the clock. The Packers just straight up choked.

  5. I don’t have a problem with the 4th and 1 field goals. After all, one of those fourth downs came from getting stuffed on 3rd and 1.

    What I don’t understand is why teams don’t leave something closer to their normal defense on the field more often to protect against fake field goals. There’s no way you’re blocking a 36 yard FG, so why not just protect yourself against them trying to get a first down?

  6. The slide after the pick. The play calling on two possessions in the fourth. We needed first down to run out the clock and a host of weapons. He played not to lose most of the game, meanwhile the patriots poured it on.

  7. On those two FGs from inside the two yard line, if the Packers go for it both times and only convert one for a Touchdown, they got 7 instead of 6. Makes all the difference at the end of the game. GB played not to lose, rather than to win.

  8. Wilson reminds me of Eli in this game. He throws a ton of interceptions and then makes one big pass and he is considered clutch. Much like Eli, his defense kept him in this game. If not for the defense, special teams, this should have been a similar game to the Pats/Colts game.

  9. How about mentioning a fourth string tight end jumping in front of the number 1 receiver on hands coverage to just fumble away the game. He completely blew that assignment he is supposed to block and let horsy grab that ball. Complete failed assignment on his part.

  10. I agree you could for it on 4th and goal, but it is no sure thing. Seahawks are great when they know you are running and Lazy gained most of his yards on delayed shotgun handoffs. 4th and 1 from the 50 and the lead? Come on – you only go for that if you are behind or have no defense. Bad coaching was on the “prevent” on 3rd and 19.

  11. Thompson should be asking himself serious questions about McCarthy’s and Caper’s tactical understanding of the game. Hindsight’s 20/20, but some of the play-calling near the end was just non-sensical.
    Seattle’s a great team and deserves credit for seizing the opportunity when it came, but it was some undeniably bizarre decision-making on GB’s sideline that gave it to them.

  12. “If the Seahawks have another great game in the Super Bowl, they have to be considered among the handful of greatest defenses in NFL history.”

    Uh, don’t know where you’ve been, but they’ve already reached that point. Especially since recent articles cropping up with members of the Steel Curtain, 85/86 Bears, and Purple People Eaters all saying they respect the Seahawks defense as the only one in this modern era worthy of being compared to theirs.

    If the LOB and friends shame Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, easily the best QBs of this era, in consecutive Super Bowls, they’re pretty much undeniably the best ever. They whipped Drew Brees in last season’s SB run and Aaron Rodgers in this one too.

  13. I am a Packers fan and have been forever. I have seen the lean years when Starr coached a sad group to horrible season after season. Seen them win it all a couple times.

    What is beginning to happen with the Packers is how they are living in peoples memories. The Packers are all through the playoff record books. Giving up records to opponents. They can’t win even if the game is in the bag like it was yesterday. They deserve the moniker “chokers”.

    Usually after a loss, I wake up in the morning and find some good in the loss and all is well. Not this time. This time I feel like the coaching was ineffective at all levels. Good coaching staffs don’t have a letdown like that.

    I never say this. Seattle didn’t win that game so much as green bay gift wrapped it for them. There is no way we should be talking about a miraculous comeback today. We should be talking about a Packers win. We are talking about a Seahawks win because the Packers choked it away.

    Worse part is now we have to listen to how great Seattle is (when what they are is lucky they played Green Bay). We will get to hear about how great an average Russell Wilson is for another offseason (even though he played a horrible game if you take away some miracle “close your eyes and toss it up” plays).

    Green Bay couldn’t get out of their own way yesterday.

  14. Add to your list…

    Which DC in their right mind leaves no Safety in the middle of the park when the opposition is driving down the field to win the game in OT…??

    Bizarre playcalling to say the least!

  15. McCarthy. Say no more. When you play “not to lose,” you lose. Every time. This guy will never figure it out. Never.

  16. McCarthy is very bad at creating leverage for his team, especially late in games. When the Packers beat New England (Brady’s f-word moment), you could tell the Patriots very much expected to get the ball back. Cobb’s catch while being blanketed was a lucky and unfortunately all too rare of a clinching moment.

  17. Not listed is the play when it was 3rd and 19 and the Packers rushed NO ONE giving Wilson all the time he needed to find an open receiver and complete the pass for first down. How smart was that.

  18. why should the doctors have explaining Sherman’s injury? It wasn’t to his head, it was to his elbow. Can elbows get concussions now?

  19. How about when Seattle was backed up at 3rd and 19, and the Packers go into that useless prevent defense rushing only 3 lineman. They gave Wilson all the time in the world in the pocket and he completed the 29 yard pass for the first down. Why do these coaches insist on using the prevent defense?????

  20. People need to understand that the better team won. The Packers are soft, and the Seahawks already exposed them as pretenders in the season opener when they flattened them by 20 points despite GB having 4 months to prepare and being at full health. Green Bay hadn’t beaten a team above .500 on the road all season. They literally only had ONE TOUCHDOWN in this game despite 5 (FIVE!) self-inflicted turnovers by the Seahawks. Aaron “2x MVP” Rodgers is good but overrated cupcake who has a mediocre 6-5 career postseason record and has never beaten the Pete Carroll-era Seahawks.

    – The best team doesn’t have the presumptive league MVP throw for fewer than 200 yards and more INTs than TDs, including one in the endzone on the opening possession.
    – The best team doesn’t fail to get into the endzone after being gifted starting field position literally at the 3 yard line.
    – The best team doesn’t let Marshawn Lynch rush for a literal career high in yardage (157) despite knowing he’s the main threat.
    – The best team doesn’t let their own starting running back average 3.5 YPC.
    – The best team doesn’t give up on an interception return with 5 minutes left to play.
    – The best team doesn’t have a defense filled with slow chokers that let a rudderless team literally march all over them after the clock hit 3 minutes left in the game.
    – The best team doesn’t let the opposing offense completely embarrass their defense for an 86 yard touchdown drive in overtime with literally zero resistance.
    – The best team doesn’t give up an onside kick when they know it’s coming.
    – The best team doesn’t wilt and go 3 and out when they have the multiple opportunities to close out the game and run out the clock.
    – The best team doesn’t have a head coach and defensive coordinator that get circles coached around their clown asses in big moments.

    The Seahawks played the worst game they are ever capable of playing (most turnovers in Pete Carroll era) and still won and nearly covered the spread too. They’re going to assassinate Brady and Belicheat just like they did MVP Peyton and his GOAT offense. And don’t even pretend like you didn’t see it coming.

  21. Although I had no dog in the fight, I was stunned with how conservative the packers were.
    In the end they got what they deserved.

  22. Yup…he absolutely blew this game, let the team and the city down…..they had their hands around Seattle’s neck and didn’t finish…..

  23. The packers have been horrible on short yardage for years under,McCarthy, your statement about the team being setup for sho rt yardage is stupid.they had second and goal on the one and couldnt punch it in

    Its something that needs to be fixed

  24. Seattle had a 3rd and 19 in the 3rd quarter and naturally called a pass play. Green Bay ONLY rushed 3 players giving Russell Wilson plenty of time to complete a 25 yard pass. Four plays later Seattle scored their first touchdown.

  25. “Still, the most bizarre thing in hindsight is Morgan Burnett just going down when he had a lot of open field.”

    I didn’t get that either. It’s like he thought there were 10 seconds left in the game.

  26. I agree with everything you said, MDS, except one thing…

    Burnett’s decision to go down with his pick is the correct play.

    Memories are short in the NFL. A couple years ago, my Chargers had all but beaten the Patriots in the playoffs to advance to the Super Bowl. When our safety, MARLON MCREE intercepted Brady late in the 4th, it was a done deal… Except, he decided to return the INT, instead of dive/slide/knee, and after a decent return… FUMBLED the ball back to New England…

    Brady wins it, no San Diego Super Bowl.

    Burnett got the pick, he did his job. A LB or CB in front of him (one of his perspective blockers on the return, stopped blocking and turned to Burnett and motioned him to go down. Burnett was complying with his blocker’s instruction.

    As a Chargers fan, I instantly believed that Burnett did the right thing, and still do. It’s not his fault his HC can’t score from the 1 yard line 3 times.

  27. Killer instinct, The Hawks have it and so do the Pats. As a Hawk fan I just couldn’t imagine that the Packers were gona get that Title trophy on our field. Never believed they would even when it was bleak. The D was playing and it just took longer for us to get going in the second half. Yea the Pack had us on the ropes but this Hawks D is legend period and they bled out on the field , reminds me of the Dolphins Chargers game 33 years ago. Its not the size of the dog in the fight but the size of the fight in the dog.

  28. Can you spell GUTLESS? First it’s Fail Mary on Monday night…we’ll blame that one on the replacement refs…Second, it’s let’s not throw at Richard Sherman the WHOLE game earlier thus season…that one is on Rodgers…after all, he is the one throwing the football…but not challenging the Seahawks on anything resembling a 4th and 1 and calling running plays twice in the 2nd half with 3rd and 4 and not putting the ball in Rodgers hands was just plan idiotic…Pete Carrol’s game ball goes to…drum roll please…one Mike McCarthy…GUTLESS…

  29. The Seahawks D may be the toughest one Tom Brady has to face, but Brady is also the toughest QB the Hawks will face by far.

  30. McCarthy is one of those 4-5 head coaches with enough cache to survive this, but we’ve all seen coaches fired for a lot worse. It isn’t so much the play calling that should be cause for concern, but the little things like Burnett sliding down immediately after the pick and Bostick failing to carry out his assignment. Sure, the players take a lot of responsibility here, but little missed details such as these aren’t missed by good coaches.

  31. Three 4th-and-goal’s from the 1 yard line.

    For giggles, let’s say you go for it on the first one and make it… Add 4 points.

    Let’s say you go for it on the 2nd one and fail… Subtract 3 points.

    Let’s say you still go for the field goal on the 3rd one, add zero points.

    All very plausible. Your net difference is PLUS one point… Which would have put the game away and made OT impossible.

    Not going for it one the first one, a 4th-and-goal from the half yard spot, was gutless! Wrong call! Everyone knew it at the time but McCarthy!

    His argument is that Seattle’s D is too good, so you take the 3…

    No… Seattle’s D is too good, so anytime you’re blessed with being at the goal line, you GO FOR IT!

  32. I think the Packers lost more because of Dom Capers than Mike McCarthy. His prevent D prevented them from winning.

  33. This game was a bit like the famous “4th and 26” choke job the Packers did vs. the Eagles in 2004 playoffs. The Eagles were heavy favorites, the Packers had them down. Donovan McNabb hit Freddie Mitchell on 4th and 26 to keep the drive going that eventually led to Philly winning. All the Packers had to do is stop them inside 26 yards and the game was essentially over.
    The Vikings have the rap as the team with the worst chokes in league history, but the Packers are catching up.
    I’m a lifelong Packers fan. Mike McCarthy is an excellent coach in 95% of the game. But he has this blindside of always going conservative in critical situations.
    Oh well, Aaron Rodgers and Olivia Munn can now head to the west coast and frolic.

  34. MDS, this isn’t Madden. It’s easy to say go for it but you guys have praised Seattle’s defense for two years. They could have stopped the Packers and gained momentum early. Assuming the myopic viewpoint is correct and the rest of the game would have played out exactly the same way, if they get stopped then the hawks win in regulation. I think McCarthy screwed up but not necessarily on the 4th downs. I think his mistake was taking the ball out of Rodgers’ hands late when a first down was needed. Several consecutive bad runs lost yardage and forced a punt. The onside kick muffled was bad luck but the failure to contest that punt of a 2 point conversion was crucial

  35. haha of course there is the media making excuses for Luck yet again. So Wilson is lucky even though he came through at the end (yes he was lousy for most of the game) but Luck just played like crap for the 4th time against the Patriots because everyone around him sucks and no other QBs ever suffer from dropped passes. Nice bias.

    Why is it Luck gets the media pass but Manning never did nor do guys like Romo? Luck is Manning 2.0 yet somehow he gets all the credit and none of the blame. He’s got to currently be the most overrated/hyped player in the NFL today. He may turn into an elite QB but he isn’t there yet no matter how much people want to ignore the reality that shows that. If any other QB had the playoff career Luck has had so far (12 picks in 6 games, 70 passer rating) then they’d be roasted in the media.

    Oh and yep, McCarthy being conservative is why the Packers lost a game they were leading by 12 with under 3 minutes left. What idiocy to try and act like the early playcalls were the reason why they blew a 2 score lead. Then again you are the same guy who implied the officials handed Dallas the win against the Lions (ignoring the Cowboys still had to get a TD and hold that lead) so I can’t say I’m surprised.

  36. So the Packers tried 3 times to punch the ball in from the 1, and failed each time, why should they try a fourth and expect anything different?

  37. Seattle is a great team, but boy they are lucky to be playing in the Super Bowl. Pats O is better than Seattle’s O more than Seattle’s D is better than Pats D. Go Pats!

  38. Thanks for this article! The Packers are in the same position they were in the Farve years. Two of the greatest quarterbacks of all time and only 2 Super Bowls. McCarthy reminds me of Mike Sherman sometimes.

  39. McCarthy didn’t choke. He put his team in position to win and the players on field mistakes lost the game.

    Sure it could have been 28-0 but it just as well could have been 7-0 too then we’d be 2nd guessing why McCarthy didn’t take the points.

    Here’s a good rule – Always take the points. They don’t come off the board, they don’t make promises and if you have points and the other team doesn’t you win.

  40. If I didn’t see it myself I would have never believed it.
    Green Bay and McCarthy made some HUGE mistakes and the Seahawks simply got very lucky.
    That 2 point was as lucky a play as I’ve ever seen in 50 years.
    The better team lost this game.

  41. Not taking anything away from Seattle, but I can’t even say they won. This is one of those instances where the other literally lost the game. Can’t just blame McCarthy. It was an total team melt down.

  42. I’m a Colts fan and couldn’t agree more with the author’s assertion. It’s Luck, Vontae Davis and a bunch of guys. Grigson had whiffed on a bunch of players. The roster is bereft of talent in many areas, and they need a major talent infusion. I despise the Patriots, but they were clearly superior and it showed. It was like a schoolyard bully picking on a kid for his lunch money. Well, they’ll be facing someone their own size in the Seahawks.

  43. Situational football is, sadly, a concept that most players don’t understand. Not looking for the fake FG and Burnett falling on his butt with an open field are two instances in the game that simple recognition of “time and place” in relation to the game situation could have aided the Pack greatly.

  44. Mike McCarthy never had Rodgers target Sherman after he injured his elbow. He may as well had a sling on it the way he was holding it. I found that amazing.

  45. Why in the world would the defensive back from the Packers with five minutes left in the game, intercept a pass and immediately and purposely fall to the ground with an open field in front of him. This is something you do with seconds left in the game? With the added yardage, maybe a field goal would have been possible. And, why in the world would you rush three lineman on third and nineteen and give Russell Wilson all the time in the world to find his receiver for a first down?

  46. As far as heart, that is BS, this article says it all well written.
    Only the 04 Yankees collapse or Bill Buckner are equal to Mike McCarthy’s bumbling, cowardly play not to lose coaching Rodgers is the least of Green Bays woes.
    Say good night Mike you start off poorly next season and Brie Cheese is flying from the faithful your way

  47. Playing not to lose instead of to win against an opportunistic club like Seattle..and playing 0 coverage with no safety over the top on the Hawks TD..bad all around

  48. 2 weeks after Demarcus Lawrence fumbled away a turnover and nearly cost Dallas the game after trying to get extra yardage. I don’t blame Burnett for going down and putting the football in the hands of the greatest QB in the NFL.

  49. I was kind of hoping Tarvaris would say, “We want the ball and we’re gonna score” after Green Bay um, choked on the OT coin toss.

  50. McCarthy calls plays so they don’t lose the game instead of calling plays to win the game. He is supposed to have this high powered passing attack and at the end of the game he gets so conservative he runs the ball trying to get the other team to burn their time outs and burn time off the clock. Like Seattle didn’t know he was going to do that. They continued to go know where on the ground. He should let the offensive coordinator call the plays and stay the hell out of it.

  51. McCarthy is so overrated, as is Ted Thompson. I’m tired of hearing tales of their genius. I don’t care that 50 of the 53 men on the active roster were drafted by the Packers, because it’s all about one man: Aaron Rodgers. Take him off the field and they’re an average team, as we saw when the Bears knocked Rodgers out last year and beat Green Bay.

  52. NFL…

    The only league smart enough to have a game end regulation time in a TIE, and allow only one team the opportunity to score on offense.

    I am not a Packers fan, and am thrilled Seattle won the game, but this rule is lame and unfair.

    I would propose adopting the overtime rules as they are played in the NCAA. At least it seems fair to allow both teams a chance on offense and defense.

  53. No mention of Dix allowing the receiver to catch a highly improbable 2-pt conversion on which he had as much time to get in position to make a play as if the ball had been punted? Can’t get an easier potential PD than that, and it would have meant the tying FG was a winning FG.

  54. This will not be the toughest defense Tom Brady will have faced. They may be the best, but they don’t get after the quarterback like NY Giants did. If you don’t get to Brady, he will eventually find someone to throw to. You need pressure up the middle to slow Brady down. Time will tell.

  55. 3rd & 19(?) and McCarthy rushes 2 lineman and has a spy on Wilson……after going 4 rushers nearly all game and getting good pressure.

    Wilson sits in the pocket nearly forever until somebody uncovers and completes a pass for a first down.

    Why abandon what has been working ? Makes no sense except he wanted to only protect a lead.

    Another team that started playing not to lose way to early in the game .

  56. As what’s left as a Buc fan, I’d take Mike McCarthy as a head coach tomorrow. He’s a great coach and things didn’t quite workout for him yesterday. If Rodgers would have been 100% things may have been different on 4’th and 1 plays.

  57. It was pathetic and embarrassing. With 5 min left we were making plans for the SB. 5 min later we were heading home with our tail tucked. McCarthy absolutely blew it. He played to not lose.

  58. “4. Early in the third quarter, with the Packers still leading 16-0, they had a fourth-and-1 at midfield.”

    No..you DON’T go for that one. Not when you’ve held them to 0 points.

    Goal line..YES. Midfield? Only if you’re down in the 4th.

  59. Packers front office needs to take the play calling away from McCarthy the same way the cowboys did with Garrett. Belichek doesn’t call plays josh McDaniel does. A head coach needs to concentrate on all three fazes of the game , not just offense. They’re wasting the best years of Rodgers career. How about a new DC while they’re at it.

  60. This is the icing on the cake of five years of underachieving. Just a mind boggling disaster; if he blew this chance, how can anyone believe he’ll do better next year or the year after? Everyone knows how short a ‘winning window’ is for a team, and how much time do the Packers and Rodgers have left?

  61. Coaching didn’t cause the onside kick fiasco, and coaching didn’t cause Clinton-dix to not play for the ball on the 2 point conversion. Those were both player mistakes, and those were the reasons the Packers lost the game. The D shouldn’t have even had to go up against the Seattle offense after the onside, and I can’t fault them, or the coaches, for not being able to keep them from scoring again. McCarthy was up against the best defense in football, and you go with the plays that have a higher chance of scoring, especially when you’re playing that good of a D. No, the loss here was on the players, specifically Bostick and Clinton-Dix.

  62. Detroit made Rogers look ordinary twice, Buffalo once and Seattle twice. Is it possible that he only looks like the NFL’s Messiah against mediocre defenses? I’ll hang up and take your answer off the air.

  63. Aaron Rodgers IS the Packers window. He is the only reason they ever get in the playoffs and because he is all they have, it’s the only reason they almost never make it out of the playoffs. Without him they are the nothing. #Overrated.

  64. McCarthy called an awful game in 2011 when the Giants went to Lambeau & won. If that game is managed by a competent coach, it’s GB vs SF in the Championship game.

  65. I remember that Oilers/Bills game. Lol. The Bills didn’t even have their starting qb. Frank Reich led that massive comeback & Buddy Ryan threw a punch at Kevin Gilbride for continuously throwing the ball with a 30+ point lead. Lmao. Good times, good times.

  66. If Mcarthy made only one of those 4 and goal there would be now overtime. Seattle would have took an extra point to be down by 2. Then they won the onside kick and would have to score a touchdown, not a filed goal. Game over, Packers win.

  67. How the heck do the colts expect to get better if they pay luck $25mil/year which is maybe 1/7th? of their salary cap??? Good luck colts!

  68. Packers = a 9-7 team in any other division. You get to play the Vikes and Bears (and Lions, for that matter) 6 of your games each year you get to the playoffs with an inflated record and an overrated team.

  69. On their first two Fourth and Goals inside the one, EVEN IF Green Bay got stuffed on one of them, they come away with 7 points instead of 6. That 1 point would have kept the game out of OT – and the Pack would be in the Super Bowl.

    I really can’t think of a more bitter way to lose than what went down yesterday for Packer Nation.

  70. DON’T FORGET: just plays before the Seahawks scored their first touchdown they faced a 3rd and 19. The Packers only rushed 3 players and Wilson completed a 25 yard pass. Wilson had all day to throw facing the Packer’s prevent defense.
    What was Green Bay thinking?
    PRINT IT!

  71. Let’s be honest…IT’S TIME TO FIRE MIKE MCCARTHY. he cant beat SEATTLE NOR SAN FRANCISCO. IT’S TIME TO GO. Denver fired John Fox because of his inability to get the job done against elite contenders. We must do the same. Also, I hate to say this, but if I was Randall Cobb, I would sign with another team. He played and worked his tail off, and the organization didn’t resign him doing the reg or postseason. You talk about feeling unappreciated? WE DID RESIGN MIKE MCCARTHY TO A NEW EXTENSION THO. SMH LOL

  72. McCarthy is a stats guy. He goes to his press conference and states that he had a goal of running 20 times in the 2nd half. He ran 5 times (20% of his goal) in two series, late in the 4th quarter when he needed first downs to burn the clock and the Seattle defense filled the box to stop the run.
    He forgets stats put players in “position” to win, they don’t win the game. GB was in position to put Seattle away and he relied on stats to win the game, not good decisions.

    And the onside kick? His players were not even assignment sure on the play…”I was supposed to be blocking”…well, why didn’t you block and let Jordy catch the ball?

    Way too many nagging, historical issues on this coaching staff but Mike? He doesn’t regret a thing according to his post game news conference. Regret is the source of learning and improving….start regretting some things Mike.

    Another wasted year of Aaron’s short football career….shades of Bret Favre’s wasted last years with GB.

  73. Dom Capers should be getting heat for calling such passive defense on 3rd and long. Then he plays way too aggressive on the OT touchdown pass. Boneheaded at times, I blame the D- coordinator the most.

  74. Maybe by 2030, NFL coaches will understand when to go for it on 4th down and why it’s dumb to put your “fg block” special teams unit on the field instead of just leaving your base defense out there to prevent fakes. But I doubt it. Most NFL coaches are incredibly stupid. It’s amazing that he is paid that much money to squander talent. I could literally be a better NFL coach than him and I never even played organized football. Embarrassing. The first clue he was a moron was in an interview where he kept saying “we were Fustrated.” Fustrated? Yeah I’m fustrated too with your moronic coaching

  75. Enough with “That 2 point was as lucky a play as I’ve ever seen” stuff.

    If you say that you have not been watching the Packers luckiest and weirdest plays by both Farve and Rodgers over the years.

    I like to say that the Packers got “rogered” on this play! Plain and simple.

  76. Absolutely correct. Mike McCarthy, with the best QB in football, sat on a tenuous lead in late in the 4th quarter, which eventually allowed the Seahawks to come back. The first drive with 4th and inches, he chose not to go for it. Bad decision. Even if you don’t make it, Seattle has to start at their goal line. The 4th quarter was rife with bad calls and bad decisions. In overtime, the defense for GB appeared to have disappeared. It appears they had no game plan for going into OT whereas the Seahawks did. This will be the first time in 30 years that may skip the Superbowl, because I have no interested in watching the Seahawks and Patriots play for the championship game. This should have been the championship game.

  77. I would like to know what post-season game zack2482 is referring to when he says that Wilson reminded him of Eli. Please tell me the playoff game or Super Bowl when Eli threw “a ton of interceptions and then (made) one big pass and he (was) considered clutch.” I’m pretty sure there never was such a game. In fact, I’m definitely sure. Incorrect perceptions aside…when the money’s on the table, Eli has good games that end up with great finishes. Look it up.

  78. Sad but true. Coaching decisions LOST the game by MC Carthy. Packers got had by the sucker play on third down and 19 W ilson rolls left throws right over the linbackers to the right flat .. Seahawks have made this play for first down three weeks in a row!

  79. Completely disagree about McCarthy blowing it. Completely. That’s nothing but conjecture that could very well be wrong in totality. Those were the decisions that made it such a hard feat for Seattle to come back in the first place.

    The real problems were the botched ST assignment by Bostick, the ST unit not defending against a fake, the defense taking its foot off the gas in the 4th, and the coin flip.

    McCarthy’s play calling was for the most part just fine.

  80. No issue with McCarthy going for the field goal the first time around. I think there is something to be said for being the first team on the board. That being said, he nailed his own coffin in the last five minutes. If Green Bay wins, we are not talking about their offensive play-calling the first 55 minutes of the game. I actually think McCarthy had a pretty good pulse on how the game would flow. They just had 3-4 boneheaded that you are unfortunate to have in a single season let alone a single game.

    How in the world does Hawk not cover 79 down the field on the fake field goal? Ryan was being chased by 3 DBs and had AT LEAST 10 yards to go for the first down. No way he was going to get it. Maybe it was Richardson’s fault, but he seemed to running across the opposite side of the field to get there. Just bad judgment by someone, gotta think it was Hawk.

    Someone said earlier it was the right play for Burnett to take a knee. Absolutely ridiculous. Not when there is no Seahawks player within 15 yards of you and you have 5 offensive lineman and Russell Wilson between you and the end zone, not the mention a lead blocker right in front of you (Dix?) and 4 DL who were rushing the passer. Do you think Earl Thomas or any other elite safety takes a knee there? At the very least, Burnett gets that to the edge of Crosby’s FG range and they either pin the Seahawks deep or attempt a field goal.

    Bad break for Bostick. Tough with pads to make that catch over your head. Nelson was basically waiting for ball to land in his lap. That being said, you could sense before the onside that there was no way Green Bay was going to recover that kick.

    When it rains it pours, and it was downpour for the last 5 minutes of yesterday’s game. Absolutely mind-boggling.

  81. If you’re going to complain about McCarthy’s play-calling, don’t reference a defensive play call made by Capers.

  82. Oh great, another person saying “If they didn’t have , they’d be average”. You think so?

    Try any team with an elite QB:
    Brady – Garrapolo
    Manning – Osweiler
    Luck – Hasselbeck
    Wilson – Jackson
    Brees – Daniel
    etc…

  83. I’m no Packers fan, but really? There’s no such thing as Automatic Touch Downs if you go for it on 4th down. He got the points he knew he could get. Sure it wasn’t gutsy, but gutsy only gets you so far against a great defense. Maybe he would have gotten 28 points in the first half, or maybe he could have gotten 0, or 2, or 7. As a Hawks fan, my throat felt plenty stepped on throughout most of that game. Coulda, woulda, shoulda from Monday Morning, Arm Chair QB’s is worthless anyway.

  84. McCarthy goes from the elite to the scrap heap, huh? Last time I looked, he was good enough to coach them to the point where Seattle needed an onside kick to even have a prayer! And, the player who botched the onside kick recovery blew his assignment! Yes, it’s ultimately the coaches responsibility, yet, the players need to respond on the field!

  85. I didnt give the pack a chance,boy was I wrong. He did the right thing on both occasions and took the points.Anything could have happened ic they went for it. They could have turned over the ball both times,has anyone thought of that?He coached a damn good game and put the brakes on the Seahawks offense,one big play got em.Mc Carthy did the right thing,there is no guarantee they score td’s on those plays .

  86. fatty mccarthy did not do the right thing…you have to go for the touchdown….if you can’t get a yard you don’t deserve to win…anyone that thinks mccarthy made the right call is as dumb as him.

  87. Despite the Packers stream of bad calls they still could have saved it near the end, Seahawks should have never got the 2pt conversion, the receiver was barely touched. Sadly the Packers only have thenselves to blame

    UK Packers fan

  88. “As long as the onside kick goes as expected, it doesn’t matter what we do. We don’t need to play anymore football — as long as the onside kick goes as expected.”

    That was the mindset of the players and coaches with 5:00 minutes to go, as evidenced by the nonsensical conduct of the defensive back who intercepted a Seahawks pass and simply went down to the ground — after which he was congratulated (instead of being chewed out) by the coaches and players.

    Such a mindset is the fault of the head coach. He should be held accountable.

  89. All the ifs and buts are meaningless. For those bad-mouthing the Hawks defense, if they are so bad, how is that AR’s rating for the game is around 55 and 178 yards is hardly MVP stats? If it isn’t the Hawks defense, it must mean GB has a lousy offense. Also consider that Wilson had likely his worst game of his career, and still threw for more yards that AR. Consider also that 5 field goals is hardly an endorsement for a great game. I’ll take the Hawks everytime. All you nay-sayers can have your ifs and buts.

  90. I agree completely that the Packers lost this game because they were overly cautious and didn’t play to win, they played to not-lose.

    Seattle’s defense is great, there’s no denying that, but so is Aaron Rodgers. In addition to all the instances of cowardice the author listed I would add a few more…

    On one of the drives that led to a FG on 4th and 1, the previous play was a 3rd and 3. You have Aaron Rodgers. Instead the McCarthy calls a run with Eddie Lacy which comes up a yard short. YOU HAVE THE BEST QB IN THE LEAGUE AND DON’T TRUST HIM TO PICK UP 3 YARDS? Eddie Lacy has been great for the Pack, but he’s not Aaron Rodgers. In the critical situations give the ball to your best player. Perhaps Rodgers could even scramble for 3 yards.

    The Seattle comeback was legendary. That game will never be forgotten. But if McCarthy had an ounce of killer-instinct, if he’d gone for the knockout blow when the opponent was reeling against the ropes, then the game would have been so far out of reach that even a miracle comeback wouldn’t have helped. But, to use another boxing metaphor, McCarthy called the game like a fighter who believes he’s got a comfortable lead on the scorecards and coasts only to be knocked out in the 12th round.

  91. One thing is certain: If Seattle plays against NE and Bill “Barracuda” Belichick the way they played against GB and Mike “Milquetoast” McCarthy, they will lose by 30 points.

  92. Sims & Nance we sure the pack would get a first down to run out the clock . BUT the Pack dont even try and run three plays for 3yards and Punt with 3min left… end of story…

  93. Everyone is quick to forget Rodgers was playing with one leg. I thought he did a lot better than people think. A lot of yards were there if he could scramble without blowing hilf calf. Comparing Wilson’s stats at full health vs Rodgers at 75 percent just shows how lucky we packer fans are to have him as our qb. Seattle has a defense that carries the qb. Wilson on any other team would not be as efficient. Sherman and Thomas’ injuries are worse than people think. A sprained elbow will not allow Sherman to press.

  94. I have no problem with the field goals. As far as I’m concerned the Packers lost the game on two very poor defensive calls. The first game losing call in my opinion was rushing only three players on 3rd and 19 and giving Russell Wilson what seemed like 45 minutes to find an open receiver. In fact, they really only rushed two players since the middle guy hung back in case Wilson decided to run. If they had just used their normal rush, Wilson would have been forced to pass into coverage, sacked, or forced to run and likely tackled before gaining 19 yards. Stupid call. The second bad call was not defending against the possibility of a fake field goal. Is there anyone besides the Packer defense who didn’t suspect the Seahawks might fake the field goal and at least try to get a first down since they needed touchdowns – not field goals at that point in the game? Take away either of those two plays and Seattle doesn’t get back in the game and Green Bay goes out a winner.

  95. Disagree. Rodgers had previously thrown a pick in the endzone, costing the packers atleast three points. McCarthy needed to make up for losing those three points. Correct call.

  96. Agreed: McCarthy was too conservative.

    BUT Seattle is a lucky team, given:

    – the 2-point Hail Mary conversion;

    – the onsides kick muff by Bostick;

    – the winning call on the coin flip to start the OT.

    In total, it was a combination of inept coaching by GB’s head coach and its DC Dom Capers…..and a LOT of luck for Seattle.

  97. A coach (I forget who) once said when ask why he ran up the score “I’m sending a message to next week’s opponent”. Pats went to the locker room at halftime leading 14-7 and letting the Colts hang around. They heard about the manner of the Hawks victory and came out with a dagger for the Colts heart. I don’t expect the Seahawks to bumble through most of the game again, but if they do, I am certain the Pats will finish the kill, message received.

  98. the game would have ended 21-7 seattle if the packers went for it instead of kicking the field goals. 9 points is huge when you can’t pick up a first down in short yardage situations. maybe the blame should go on golden boy wroggers for throwing two terrible picks and not being able to score on all the short fields he had.

  99. When is someone going to start blaming Rodgers for this loss. Pack fans single out Bostick. Don’t remember Bostick throwing short in the end zone and having Sherman pick him off.

    That was that double check guy !

    And your coach, nice message he sends his O line when he attempts the field goal from less than a yard on 2 occasions, didn’t have confidence enough that his line and running back could make 3 feet or less. How about some blame at McCarthy.

    Epic meltdown by Greenbay! One for the books !

  100. This is exactly why Rodgers is not MVP. McCarthy didn’t trust the ball in his hands twice at the 1 yard line….and he didn’t trust it in his hands when trying to get a first down and run the clock down.

    Those aren’t the play calls you make if your QB is your MVP.

  101. Also…kicking the FGs from the 1yd line and on 4th and 1 on the 22 is putting a lot of confidence in a defense that really didn’t deserve it. Take away the early int on the deflection that should have been caught and the fumble on the kickoff return and it’s a different game with GB’s defense on it’s heels.

    Putting up FGs instead of TDs shows a lot of faith in his defense…which really he shouldn’t have had. Then, at the end when he should have put the ball in Rodgers’ hands to get a first down to kill the clock instead of running the ball….he made a play call which showed he DIDN’T have faith in his defense….so which is it??

    On the other hand….Carroll went for the onside kick at a time when I thought kicking it deep was the best call. However…he has faith in his defense. He knew that even if they didn’t recover the ball, his defense could hold them to a FG and they would still be down only 8…which would have at least given them a shot.

  102. Even with only 1 TD on two 4th downs, it would have been 7-0 instead of 6-0. Do your math Mike, no overtime here!

  103. Can’t take this any more. “Seahawks didn’t win this game, the Packers gave it away.” Keep telling yourselves that, Packers, trying vainly to show you were somehow tough enough to actually control your destiny out there on that field in Seattle. How about this, because this is what I saw: Green Bay was ONLY winning because the Seahawks were GIVING AWAY the first 55 minutes of this game, the first half on a silver platter. Then came to their senses, changed their minds, and wiped Green Bay up like so much spilled milk.

  104. The feeling brings me back to the Favre days when he would seal the teams fate with a late int. Very painful.

    I think they checked out with 5 minutes left. Like myself who was looking up flights to Arizona and making plans for the Superbowl before the game was even over, sadly I think the coaches and players were doing the same.

    Bottom line there are 28 other teams that would love to be in Green Bays’s shoes. Firing coaches is not the solution to this. They’ll be back.

  105. I think if Rodger’s calf wasn’t injured, McCarthy would have gone for it on 4th down. Rodger’s winds up running on those types of plays some times and that wouldn’t have been an option.

  106. The Packers are simply not a good TEAM. Without Rodgers they are maybe 8-8. McCarthy is an average to below average coach, made to look decent by Rodgers. It’s mind boggling that Capers still has a job. He’s had one above average defense, the SB year, and other than that they are always in the bottom half of the league.

    We are seeing the two best TEAMS this year and I hope it’s an epic battle.

  107. The Packers coaches prevented the Seahawks from getting beaten by 30 points, or more, not the players. Seahawks are overrated and their fans are fair weather.

    The vaunted 12th man leaves early because the Packers were steamrolling? That sounds more like bandwagon than anything I have read of any other team. Overrated, not to mention the pumped in phony crowd noise.

    Packers and Patriots are best teams in the league. Patriots by three TDs. Pretenders go home. They didn’t win that game. Gutless Packer coaches lost it.

  108. I’m so tired of this BS. Everyone assumes that if the Packers had gone for it on their 4th downs that they would have “easily” been ahead. You NEVER know what happens on those plays. Fumbles, interceptions, interceptions for touchdowns. When Wilson threw his 4 interceptions maybe we should be saying that he should have run the ball on those plays. Russell only had 7 picks for the entire year. What everyone is calling “Lucky Events” at the end of the game are the same as the unlucky events that led to the 4 interceptions and the fumble. Two of the picks were tipped balls. Lets give the defense some credit. Anytime that your offense turns the ball over 5 times and you’re still in the game at the end, you’ve done your job. The way McCarthy approached this game probably would have worked out well for the Packers playing most other teams, but not against a team that wasn’t going to give up til the end.

  109. So far, I haven’t read anything about the idiot who did the taunting that move the Pack back from inside the five yard line and they had to kick a field goal to score. Overall, I agree and have written earlier that the coaches cost the Pack the game. They let the whole team go to sleep. Especially on the final score where they left one guy to cover the long pass. Terrible defensive strategy.

  110. Michael,

    You are dead on. I said when they kicked the two early FG’s on 4th & inches they may live to regret it. They surely did. You don’t beat Seattle by kicking FG’s…somebody in the Packers management forgot that. I think McCarthy has to take the blame…he didn’t even try to bury the ‘Hawks when it was right there in front of him. And, you’re also right WRT Wilson being lucky…the best illustration of that was when he threw up a prayer for the 2 pt conversion late in the 4th qtr…and it was answered, largely because the GB DB (don’t recall exactly who it was) whiffed on a real chance to knock the ball away. Go figure. I think millions of NFL fans would’ve salivated at a Brady vs Rodgers SB…I know I sure would’ve. Too bad GB, you had multiple chances to make that happen and your coach whiffed.

  111. The analyst is taking obviously about the game but the real story if you get to follow the packers: every game. First possession lacy run lacy run lacy run or maybe a pass.

    My point. I read Seattle did a lot of film study and had some things up there sleeves. McCarthy did not. He had his same plan, lacy run lacy run and pass if necessary. Thus, how freeking hard is that to defend????

    Thus kicking field goals wasn’t about getting ahead it was about I’m Mike M and that’s what I do, I do it all the time, I never change.

  112. alkelly2 says:
    Jan 19, 2015 10:38 PM
    Pete Carroll 2 Mike McCarthy and Dom Capers 0

    —————————————————————–

    Actually I see it being 3-0. If the Pack had beaten Seattle in the opener, this game would have been played in GB not Seattle. By them losing that game they lost homefield advantage as well so they lost something to Seattle three times. No including the pre season game fiasco.

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