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Flags irk Packers on mostly productive day

8/16/2014

Mike McCarthy wanted to see more big plays from the Green Bay Packers in their second preseason game Saturday at St. Louis.

He came away from the 21-7 victory over the Rams at the Edward Jones Dome feeling like the Packers did that.

Among the things that would fit into the big-play category were:

  • A total of 279 yards passing by his top-three quarterbacks -- Aaron Rodgers (11-of-13 for 128 yards), Scott Tolzien (10-of-15 for 107 yards) and Matt Flynn (2-of-3 for 44 yards and a touchdown pass) -- who combined for a 122.9 passer rating.

  • Runs of at least 10 yards by three running backs -- Eddie Lacy (with a long run of 13 yards), DuJuan Harris (10) and LaDarius Perkins (14).

  • Catches of 14 yards or more by seven players -- Andrew Quarless (with long reception of 35 yards), Jeff Janis (34), Michael Hill (27), Randall Cobb (22), Kevin Dorsey (18), Lacy (18) and Davante Adams (14).

  • Seven sacks, including three in a four-play stretch in the fourth quarter by rookie outside linebacker Jayrone Elliott.

"I thought our big-play production as a football team was very high," McCarthy said after the game.

But he also knows his team lost out on several other potential big plays because of penalties. In a game that featured 22 accepted penalties for 171 yards, the Packers committed 12 of them for 95 yards.

Four of those flags nullified potential impact plays. They were:

  • An illegal use of hands on starting left tackle David Bakhtiari in the second quarter on what would have been a 10-yard touchdown pass from Rodgers to Jordy Nelson. Instead, the Packers were forced to replay third down, and Rodgers couldn't connect with Quarless so settled for a field goal.

  • An illegal use of hands on backup center Corey Linsley in the third quarter that wiped out a 4-yard touchdown pass from Tolzien to Myles White. The Packers did not get any points on that drive after McCarthy decided to let the offense try to convert the next two plays. In a meaningful game, McCarthy would have taken the three points.

  • An illegal use of hands on backup defensive Carlos Gray in the fourth quarter that took away an interception by safety Chris Banjo. On his pass rush, Gray knocked off the helmet of a Rams' lineman.

  • A pass interference on starting cornerback Sam Shields in the second quarter on a third-down incompletion that would have forced the Rams to punt. Instead, they continued the drive and turned it into their only touchdown.

The Packers spent three days with an NFL officiating crew during the first week of training camp, so they know what is being emphasized this season. Still, Rodgers called all the flags "way over the top."

"Especially after a big play, you're always looking back to see if there's a penalty out there," Rodgers said. "We don't want to get down that road too far. Hopefully, it's the preseason, and they're working their kinks out as well."