Mike McCarthy said he considered attempting a 2-point conversion after his team’s miraculous Hail Mary on Saturday night in Arizona.
The Green Bay Packers head coach put all options on the table after receiver Jeff Janis’ 41-yard touchdown with no time left on the clock. There was a replay review to confirm whether Janis indeed caught the football, so McCarthy had plenty of time to ponder his decision.
“The 2-point conversion was definitely an option,” McCarthy said, “but it wasn’t the right option. I think that’s completely understood if you just look at the game. I understand how analytics play into game management, but from my viewpoint you look at the numbers, but you also have to take in the flow of the game and things that were going on in the football game.”
After the replay review confirmed Janis’ catch, McCarthy decided to send kicker Mason Crosby onto the field for an extra point that sent the game to overtime. The Packers lost the coin toss – a whacky coin toss it was, too — and then lost the game three plays later.
Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald caught a 75-yard pass on the first play of overtime that set up a first-and-goal opportunity and effectively ended the game.
The quick finality surprised McCarthy. Even though the Cardinals had the NFL’s highest-scoring offense, he said one reason he decided to send the game to overtime was faith in his team’s defense.
“The way our defense was playing,” McCarthy said, “I had great confidence in stopping Arizona’s offense. And, frankly, where we were as far as our young guys at receiver, and the 2-point plays we had available, I wasn’t comfortable with those particular calls.”
A 2-point attempt was worthy of consideration. The Packers were playing a favored team on the road. Their offense hadn’t played particularly well all game and was down to just three receivers. Taking one shot from the 2-yard line might have provided a better chance of scoring than piecing together a complete overtime drive.
Regardless, kicking an extra point was clearly the conventional choice. If the Packers were unable to convert the 2-point conversion and lost without ever going to overtime, it would have been one of the most controversial decisions in postseason history.
So while going for 2 points certainly was one option, it’s easy to understand why McCarthy didn’t think it was the right option.