With five minutes left in the NFC Championship Game, the Green Bay Packers had the ball and a 19-7 lead on the Seattle Seahawks.
From that point on, everything that could possibly go wrong for the Packers went wrong, and they lost 28-22 in overtime.
After the game a lot of the blame was placed on Brandon Bostick, who flat-out dropped an onside kick with two minutes left that would have sealed the game for Green Bay.
But when you go back and look at it, the Packers had a bunch of other chances to win the game. It only would have taken one play to stop the collapse, and the Packers never got it.
Here’s a minute-by-minute breakdown of how the Packers blew it in the final minutes:
5:04 left (Packers 19, Seahawks 7) — Morgan Burnett intercepted Russell Wilson to give the ball back to Green Bay with a 12-point lead. But for some reason he slid down at his own 43-yard-line instead of trying to run it back.
He had open field in front of him. Sure, he eliminated the possibility that he’d fumble it right back to Seattle, but he could have gotten his team into field goal range, or close to it:
You usually only see guys slide down like that when the game is pretty much over. As we know, this game wasn’t over.
3:52 left (Packers 19, Seahawks 7) — The Packers punted after playing as conservatively as possible. After the interception, Green Bay ran the following plays:
- 1st and 10: Eddie Lacy run, -4 yards
- 2nd and 14: Eddie Lacy run, -2 yards
- 3rd and 16: Eddie Lacy run, 2 yards
- 4th and 14: Punt
They tried to run out the clock instead of trying to score more points. Aaron Rodgers is the best player on the field and the probably MVP of the league, yet coach Mike McCarthy didn’t give him a chance to go and win the game. Instead, he gave the ball right back to Seattle.
2:09 left (Packers 19, Seahawks 14) — Russell Wilson scored a touchdown to make it 19-14. After the Packers punted with 3:52 left, it only took Wilson 1 minute, 43 seconds to engineer a 69-yard touchdown drive to pull his team within one score.
2:09 left (Packers 19, Seahawks 14) — Seattle recovers an onside kick after Brandon Bostick lets it bounce through and hands and off his head:
The worst part of it is that it wasn’t Bostick’s job to catch the punt. He told Rob Demovsky of ESPN after the game that he was supposed to block on the play, but he changed his mind and tried to catch it because it came right to him.
After he botched the catch, Seattle’s Chris Matthews recovered it to give the Seahawks the ball back with 2:09 left.
1:25 left (Packers 19, Seahawks 22) — Marshawn Lynch completes the comeback by scoring a touchdown to make it 20-19 from 24 yards out. Three different Packers players had a chance to stop him:
To make matters worse, the Packers allowed a cheap two-point conversion. If they would have stopped the two-point conversion, Aaron Rodgers would have gotten the ball back with 1:25 left and had a chance to win the game with a field goal instead of just tying it.
Instead, the Seahawks hit this miracle conversion to Luke Willson to make it 22-19, with Packers safety HaHa Clinton-Dix unable to get there in time:
The Packers scored a field goal in regulation to make it 22-22, but Seattle won 28-22 on the first possession of overtime.
It should have never gotten that far.
If Morgan Burnett doesn’t slide after the interception and runs it into field goal range instead, the Packers probably win.
If coach Mike McCarthy puts the ball in Rodgers’ hands on the ensuing drive instead of running it three times, the Packers probably win.
If Brandon Bostick catches the ball on the onside kick, the Packers probably win.
If HaHa Clinton-Dix breaks up the rainbow throw on the two-point conversion, the Packers probably win.
If any one of those things happen, the Packers are in the super Bowl.
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