GREEN BAY—Another day, another controversy. That's life in the NFL these days, except this day's controversy is about what happened on the field, not off it.
Capping a week that saw the NFL launch an investigation that is threatening the sovereignty of its commissioner, the Packers launched their 2014 home season with a memorable rally in a game Jets fans will no doubt claim should've gone into overtime. The Packers won in regulation, 31-24.
Hold onto your hats, folks. You're going to hear more about this tomorrow. After all, that was a New York team the Packers were playing. Hey, it's better than the off-the-field stuff, right?
On fourth-and-4 from the Packers 36 with 5:06 to play, Geno Smith launched – there's that word again – an apparent touchdown pass to Jeremy Kerley. One problem: Jets Offensive Coordinator Marty Mornhinweg called time out just before the ball was snapped. No touchdown!
Here's another problem: TV quickly revealed – it was either the eminent Mike Pereira or the newbie Mike Carey that spoke from the heavens; I forget – that only a head coach can call a time out from the sideline. In other words, Mornhinweg's attempt to call a timeout should've been ignored by Referee Walt Anderson's crew because Mornhinweg isn't Rex Ryan. They don't look a lot alike.
"It's football. That stuff happens all the time," Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy said.
If you love that kind of stuff, this was your game. It was loaded with controversial calls, plays and decisions.
- McCarthy ordered two bold kicks, one a 55-yard field goal attempt by Mason Crosby, and the other an onside kick attempt by Crosby following his make from 55. Had the first kick missed, the Jets would've been left with outstanding field positon to begin another drive. The second attempt failed and the Jets were, in fact, left with outstanding field position to begin another drive. At the two-minute warning, Smith had a receiver open in the end zone. The Jets were about to increase their lead to 28-9 when Mike Daniels crashed into Smith as he, forgive me, launched his pass. It fluttered into the hands of Tramon Williams.
The Jets intercepted an Aaron Rodgers pass and had the ball at the Packers 20-yard line late in the third quarter with the Packers holding a 31-24 lead. One problem: The Jets were flagged for having 12 men on the field. No interception! It's going to be a tough day in the "Big Apple" for Ryan on Monday.
- Anderson's crew ejected Jets defensive line star Muhammad Wilkerson following a skirmish in the third quarter, leaving Wilkerson to share taunts with Packers fans as he was escorted from the field, and Anderson's crew also flagged the Packers twice for taunting, the first time after the Packers wanted a penalty on Sheldon Richardson for a late hit on Jordy Nelson.
Everybody got into the act. It was a spicy day that capped possibly the spiciest week in NFL history, but this was a good kind of spicy because it was on the field, not off it.
COMPLETE GAME COVERAGE