Players Talked Mike McCarthy Into Going For It

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Mike McCarthy

Mike McCarthy

Before the Green Bay Packers were able to score that touchdown with 38 seconds left to beat the Chicago Bears, they faced two fourth downs on the drive.

The first was a fourth and 1 at their own 22-yard line. After Eddie Lacy came up just short on third and 1 — on what we considered a fairly dubious spot — coach Mike McCarthy was ready to punt.

And then some of the offensive players talked him out of it.

“It was fourth and 1 and we kind of had to talk coach into letting us go for it,” guard T.J. Lang said, via the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. “When we came to that first fourth down and coach was calling the punt team out, we were like, ‘No, let us get this. This is our time, this is our moment.’ We were able to come through in that moment. Later on we had another fourth down and everybody was calm. Go out there and handle your job and make some plays.”

It’s a good thing that happened. Obviously, the Packers picked up the first down, but there’s a decent chance they wouldn’t have gotten the ball back if they had punted.

The Bears were pounding the Packers on the ground in the second half and chewing up the clock. There’s no reason to believe that trend would have stopped the way the Packers defense was playing.

It was a gutsy call and the correct one… but only because it worked.

About The Author

Monty McMahon is one of the founders of Total Packers. He is probably the most famous graduate of UW-Oshkosh next to Jim Gantner.

6 Comments on "Players Talked Mike McCarthy Into Going For It"

  1. Abe Frohman

    What do I know, but this story surprises me. Did MM really think we’d get a stop with our D? I thought it was absolutely the right call and wouldn’t have faulted the decision had it not worked out in our favor.

    I was also thinking “why the hell is Rodgers throwing it 50 yards when we need 8?” until the camera panned to Cobb. Then I was like “Hell yeah!”

  2. Cheese

    I HIGHLY doubt the Packers get the ball back if they punt it. Good thing the players know a little about time management. Someone has to.

  3. valpoPackers

    My gut reaction was that they should punt because there was still 5:24 left and they were on their own 22. But thinking about it logically, if the Packers didn’t make it, the Bears would have A) got stopped and kick a field goal with 2-3 minutes left (depending on the 1 first down conversion)… or B) scored a touchdown to go up 8, with there being 2-3 minutes left to tie the game and go for the 2 pt conversion.

    It was an interesting decision by McCarthy to go for the XP on the Lacy TD. I know there’s a spreadsheet that makes these decisions for coaches based on statistics, but I think McCarthy figured the Bears could score 1 more TD to effectively end the game, and he wasn’t ready to trust his defense to get one more stop. Ironically, the Packers being down 1 forced them to go for the 4th down 3 times, something they wouldn’t have done if the game was tied. But that’s a lot of hindsight.

  4. valpoPackers


    I HIGHLY doubt the Packers get the ball back if they punt it. Good thing the players know a little about time management. Someone has to.

    Except Rodgers, whom inexplicably blew a timeout at the end of the 1st half (he used the other 2 on field that half as well). Can’t really blame the coaches on that one. The 2 second half time outs were burned by the defense on 3rd and long when there were 12 guys on the field, and the lost challenge, which was called from above. I still think that was a catch.

    The Packers actually had pretty good clock management on that last drive. Chicago didn’t have much time left to get anything done, and the Packers had a timeout to play with had Cobb been tackled, etc. Ultimately the decision to go for it on 4th there is the coaches decision, not the players on the field. Of course the players are going to want to go for it on 4th down. What player wouldn’t? We shouldn’t be getting on McCarthy for changing his mind and going with a correct call that ended up working.

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