The Green Bay Packers pointed fingers at the officials for the end-of-game sequence on Sunday at Pittsburgh.
When they review the film and the emotions from a bitter 38-31 loss to Pittsburgh have eased, maybe they’ll change their tune.
Coach Mike McCarthy, quarterback Matt Flynn, center Evan Dietrich-Smith and guard Josh Sitton all pointed to the officials in delaying the Packers’ final snap of the game.
A false-start penalty attributed to right tackle Don Barclay, though right guard T.J. Lang was the guilty party, moved the ball from the 1-yard line to the 6 and resulted in a 10-second runoff.
With 10 seconds on the clock, the Packers should have had time for two plays.
“Not when the umpire is standing there and the clock is running,” McCarthy said. “I don’t know what you can ask Matt Flynn to do or Dietrich-Smith.”
Instead, the ball was snapped with 3 seconds left. Flynn’s pass to Jarrett Boykin was incomplete and the game was over.
“We knew we were going to get a runoff, we knew the clock was going to run and so we got everybody lined up,” Flynn said. “We should have been able to get two plays off. We thought that the operation, getting the ball down and the clock started was a little bit weird. But we should’ve been able to get two plays off. We went as fast as we could.”
Upon review, here’s what happened: Umpire Undrey Walsh lined up over the ball, backed off, then went back to the ball to prevent the Packers from snapping the ball. At no point, however, did Walsh start the clock. Only when he backed off again did he start the clock. So, the umpire didn’t cost the Packers any time.
“We were up, set and ready to go,” Sitton said. “Told Evan to take his hand off of the ball. When they did that, we all kind of got up and looked like, ‘What’s going on?’ Then he went back and wound the clock as he was going back. I don’t know. I don’t know what their process in that situation is supposed to be. I’m not a ref, so I don’t know, but it’s frustrating to end on something like that. You get to the 1-yard line with 25, 30 seconds (left).”
At about 6 seconds, referee Carl Cheffers – stationed behind Flynn – came toward the line of scrimmage and said something before backing away. It didn’t appear any of the Packers reacted, however. Flynn, standing in shotgun, was signaling to his right, where Jordy Nelson was stationed in the slot and Boykin to the outside.
“Matt made a great check but we didn’t complete it,” Nelson said.
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at email@example.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.