Skip to main content

Missed Opportunities Don't Come Back To Haunt

Three weeks ago, the Packers blew a goal-to-go situation in the fourth quarter against San Diego but managed to win anyway. Sunday against Washington, more than just one scoring chance was squandered, and once again the Packers were fortunate those didn’t come back to bite them. - More Audio | Video | Packers-Redskins Game Center


Three weeks ago, the Packers blew a goal-to-go situation from the 1-yard line in the fourth quarter against San Diego but managed to overcome the missed opportunity and win anyway.

Sunday against Washington, more than just one scoring chance was squandered, and once again the Packers were fortunate those opportunities didn't come back to bite them in a 17-14 victory at Lambeau Field.

The biggest opportunity that got away came early in the fourth quarter. With the Packers up by three, safety Atari Bigby forced a fumble by Redskins running back Clinton Portis. It was recovered by A.J. Hawk, giving Green Bay a first-and-goal at the Washington 9-yard line.

A touchdown would have gone a long way toward icing the game, and it appeared the Packers had one on second down when Brett Favre lofted a pass to the back of the end zone to tight end Bubba Franks. He leaped to make the catch while making contact with Redskins cornerback Fred Smoot and got just one foot down in bounds, with his second foot hitting the back line.

The pass was ruled incomplete and, unlike last week when Bigby was called for forcing Chicago tight end Greg Olsen out of bounds on a similar catch (giving the Bears a touchdown), the Packers didn't get a "force out" call to rule the grab good. And because a "force out" call is not reviewable by instant replay, the Packers were out of luck.

Franks, who after the game was being treated for a knee injury that may have occurred on that play, did not speak to reporters, but Head Coach Mike McCarthy would like to have seen his team get the same call the Bears got one week ago.

"It's a judgment call. It is not (reviewable)," McCarthy said. "The (Bears) last week got that call, but that's just the way it goes."

On the next play, Favre was sacked for a 12-yard loss by Chris Wilson, turning a chip-shot field goal into a 38-yarder, which Mason Crosby bonked off the left upright, and Washington remained down only three points.

"I thought that one was already almost past (the upright)," Crosby said. "It kind of surprised me as well."

Crosby also narrowly missed a 46-yard field goal on the final play of the first half that would have pulled the Packers within 14-10 at intermission. The Packers had driven 52 yards in just over a minute in the hurry-up offense and took their final timeout with three seconds left, only to see the good work go for naught.

There were even a couple of deep balls by Favre that appeared headed for open receivers, only to be picked off at the last moment. Whether Favre was late on the throws, or Washington safety Sean Taylor, who had both interceptions, simply made great plays will be easier for the Packers to discern after reviewing the film.

Crosby did make a 37-yard kick late in the third quarter to create that 14-10 score, but the Packers again were in position for much more than a field-goal attempt. This time penalties were the culprit.

{sportsad300}With a first down at the Washington 16-yard line, left tackle Chad Clifton was called for holding, moving the ball out of the red zone. Two snaps later, Favre scrambled briefly and hit James Jones deep over the middle for a 23-yard touchdown pass, only to have the score nullified by a holding penalty on right tackle Mark Tauscher.

Replays showed the call on Tauscher against defensive end Phillip Daniels was questionable at best, and though the veteran wasn't going to subject himself to a fine by commenting on the call, teammate Donald Driver came to his defense.

"I think it was a messed up call, just like the one when Bubba caught it in the back of the end zone, they didn't give that one," Driver said. "We can't control the officials."

Tauscher did indicate he didn't let it bother him the rest of the game or let any frustrations get in the way.

"I have no problems if I'm playing hard and I'm not being sloppy," Tauscher said. "It's when I get myself out of position (that it's upsetting), and in that case I was in pretty good position. Just sometimes stuff happens and you have to overcome it."

Fortunately the Packers did, as two plays into Washington's next drive, Charles Woodson turned the game around with his 57-yard fumble return for a touchdown, making it 17-14.

The Packers certainly had their chances to win without that play, but as many players said in the locker room after the game, it's a sign of a good team when one side of the ball picks up the other, and the team finds a way to win despite some regrets.

"We let a couple opportunities slip today, and you just take your hat off to the defense," Tauscher said. "They played an incredible football game today."

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content