Bostick doesn’t shirk from taking blame
But McCarthy’s game plan central to failure
Green Bay — One by one, players consoled Green Bay Packers tight end Brandon Bostick. After Sunday’s 28-22 overtime loss to Seattle in the NFC Championship Game, he sat slumped in his locker for 15, 20 minutes, thumbing through messages on his phone.
You know it’s a dangerous exercise, too.
One click of Twitter and he’d see one “Go to hell. (Expletive) you.” One “Go die.” Another “You (expletive) suck.” An “I hate you so much.” Dozens upon dozens of threats from miserable souls. The response to his dropped onside kick has been as nasty as 140 characters get.
And the 6-foot-3, 250-pound Bostick — a player most of the 50 million viewers never heard of and former Division II receiver from Newberry College — stood in front of cameras and took the blame.
Inside the depressing, dreary locker room, Bostick didn’t refuse to speak. Embarrassed. The Goat. The most obvious reason everyone here was paralyzed in shock said he tried to the catch the ball when he should have blocked.
Ten years from now, people might remember this as the “Bostick Game,” when it should be known as the “McCarthy Game.”
The loss to the Seahawks should have never boiled down to Bostick on a hands team.
Morgan Burnett slid (on his interception). Ha Ha Clinton-Dix hesitated (on a two-point attempt). Tramon Williams was beat one-on-one (on the game-winner).
But a painfully passive plan from McCarthy was central to the unfathomable collapse. Given countless chances to dethrone the champs with one bold decision, he balked.
Unlike Bostick, McCarthy didn’t point the finger at himself after the game. Regrets? No regrets.
“I don’t regret anything,” McCar-
Unlike Bostick, McCarthy didn’t point the finger at himself after the game.
thy said. “Hell, I expected to win the game. We were positioned to win the game.”
Well, technically. But McCarthy had them “positioned” to win by a field goal when they should have been “positioned” to win by 28 points. Pointing to two three-and-out drives alone is simplistic. Yes, if Green Bay throws incomplete in the fourth quarter, we’re all hounding the play-caller for not feeding his 240-pound running back Eddie Lacy.
But one game from the Super Bowl, passive took many forms.
Try two fourth and goals from the Seattle 1-yard line to start the game. His “points were at a premium” argument is flawed. You go for it at the doorstep against Seattle here because it’s so hard just to get to the 1-yard line against Seattle. An odyssey inside the 5 against this crew is rare.
Two chip shots immediately sent the wrong message to his team.
The Packers were here not to lose, baby. Look out.
Kicker Mason Crosby, who was money all game, got the call. Made his kicks. He was hopeful they’d hang on for dear life.
“We could have been up 21 on them there,” Crosby said. “The coulda, woulda, shoulda game doesn’t really pan out. It looked like we were going to be able to capitalize and get this one without scoring those touchdowns.”
Yet the head coach continued to tiptoe through the title game. As if Century-Link were some minefield.
There were no deep balls against Seattle’s single-high coverage even after Earl Thomas (shoulder) and Richard Sherman (elbow) suffered injuries. The “shot play” — a McCarthy staple when this Packers offense is humming — might have been accidentally deleted from the tablet. Green Bay dinked and dunked and tried to get Lacy his 20 carries in the second half. A “target,” McCarthy said.
It was if McCarthy was a boxer perfectly OK throwing j abs and dancing around the ring for 12 rounds, hoping the cards broke his way in the end. One problem: He was facing Mike Tyson.
The Packers passed on two more fourth-and-one plays. One from the Seattle 22 to kick a field goal; one in the third quarter at midfield to punt. The latter, ahead 16-0, would’ve bloodied Seattle for good.
Instead, a bolder, more resourceful team knocked out the Packers.
Working with slingshots and water guns to McCarthy’s muzzleloaders, the Seahawks became the imagina- tive offense. The outside-the-box thinkers. They called a fake field goal down 16-0, knowing mercurial Brad Jones would haphazardly crash into their booby trap. They sneaked a pick play on Green Bay to free Marshawn Lynch up the sideline for 26 yards that set up the second score.
In overtime, seeing the Packers with zero safeties deep, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson checked to the game-winning deep ball. Player error is expected. But when Josh Sitton says the Packers “kicked their (expletive) up and down the field all day,” he’s right. When Aaron Rodgers says they “gave it away,” he’s right. When Randall Cobb agrees the Packers were the better team, he’s right. McCarthy certainly did something right leading up to this game.
His team played inspired. The play-calling, the decision-making was uninspired.
And now the name people will remember forever is “Brandon Bostick?” Please. This game — an instant seizure, uhh, classic of a game — was far more than that. The lethargic coaching must not be forgotten.
Now, a team that was tough enough, talented enough, together enough to win a Super Bowl is finished.
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers talks with coach Mike McCarthy on the final drive of the fourth quarter.