GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Mike McCarthy had plenty of time to consider whether to go for two after Jeff Janis’ Hail Mary touchdown catch at the end of regulation in Saturday’s playoff loss at Arizona.
There was a considerable delay while officials were looking at replays to confirm that Janis maintained control of the 41-yard touchdown as time expired. It was long enough that the TV broadcast of the game went to a commercial break (also, a camera man was injured in the end zone and had to be carted off the field).
“The two-point conversion was definitely an option,” McCarthy said Monday in his season wrap-up press conference. “But it wasn’t the right option.”
There are those who disagree with McCarthy. Among them include ESPN’s Bill Barnwell, who used probability statistics to support his argument that McCarthy should have forgone the game-tying extra point and tried to win the game in regulation.
The Packers converted five of their seven two-point tries this season, including one in the wild-card game against the Redskins the previous week.
“I understand how analytics plays into game management,” McCarthy said. “But from my viewpoint you look at the numbers, but you also have to take in the flow of the game and things that were going on in the football game.”
McCarthy said he liked how well his defense had played up to the point and said he had “great confidence in stopping Arizona’s offense.”
There was no way McCarthy could have known that rookie cornerback Damarious Randall was going to botch the coverage of Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald on the first play of overtime that went for 75 yards. Randall was supposed to follow Fitzgerald on his cross route, but instead passed him off as if he were playing zone coverage, leaving Fitzgerald wide open.
Even if McCarthy would have considered going for two in that situation, the dearth of offensive playmakers at his disposal at that point removed any possibility. The Packers were down to just three receivers after Randall Cobb left with his first-quarter chest injury. Cobb’s dynamic abilities both in the slot and out of the backfield likely would have been one of McCarthy’s first options in his best two-point plays.
“Frankly where we were as far as our young guys at receiver and the two-point plays we had available, I wasn’t comfortable with those particular calls,” McCarthy said.