Packers coach Matt LaFleur made a mistake that could have been incredibly costly for the Packers on Sunday, challenging an incomplete pass and costing the team a timeout late in the fourth quarter of what ended up an overtime win over the Patriots.
After the game, LaFleur admitted it was the wrong thing to do.
“I’m not too proud of that moment,” LaFleur said, via PackersNews.com. “That was an emotional decision. And I think it’s a great learning lesson that, you know, you can never make those emotional decisions in the heat of the battle.”
The challenge came after Aaron Rodgers hit receiver Romeo Doubs in the end zone with what would have been a 40-yard touchdown pass with 2:02 left in the fourth quarter — but Doubs failed to control the ball as he went to the ground, and officials correctly ruled it incomplete. LaFleur challenged, and the Packers lost a timeout as a result.
The Patriots were just trying to run out the clock and play for overtime on the next possession, and New England punted with just a few seconds left in the fourth quarter. If the Packers hadn’t blown that timeout on the challenge, they could have called another timeout while the Patriots were running out the clock, and they probably would have had enough time to get into field goal range and win the game in regulation. With the Packers out of timeouts, the game went into overtime.
LaFleur admitted he challenged even though one of his assistants urged him not to.
“Connor Lewis is up in my ear, he’s in the box, and he said, ‘Ah, I don’t think so.’ He said we shouldn’t challenge it,” LaFleur said. “I just made an emotional decision, and it was almost like throwing a Hail Mary. That could have come back and bit us in the butt.”