Tim Masthay might’ve thrown his last pass.
“You can tell all the opponents we will not be running that play again,” Green Bay Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy said on Monday when asked about the fake-kick/punt play that resulted in an incomplete pass by Masthay, the Packers’ punter.
On a special teams roll, McCarthy ordered the trick play on fourth-and-six with 8:37 to play in the third quarter of the Packers’ 24-15 win over the visiting Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday. At the time, the Packers’ lead was 14-12.
A pass progression was built into the play, but Masthay didn’t get to it and eventually lofted a wobbly pass for D.J. Williams on the opposite side of the field. The ball fell harmlessly to the turf.
“We had the outlet. The first down to Ryan Taylor was there. We didn’t make the play,” Special Teams Coordinator Shawn Slocum said on Monday.
It marked the first time this season following five game-changing plays by Packers special teams that the unit met with failure. According to Mike McCarthy, it was the final time that particular play will meet with victory or defeat.
Other than for that play and a missed field goal attempt from 32 yards by kicker Mason Crosby, Packers special teams collected more highlight moments, the most notable being a punt Davon House blocked and rookie Desman Moses recovered for a touchdown in the first half. It staked the Packers to a 14-3 lead and helped the Packers overcome an offensive performance quarterback Aaron Rodgers described as having been “choppy.”
Ironically, the Packers only had 10 men on the field when they blocked Bryan Anger’s punt. Slocum said one player was “talking to his position coach on the sideline instead of being on the field where he belonged.”
Mike McCarthy had already successfully attempted a fake field goal, fake punt and onside kick this season. Why so many trick plays on special teams this year and not last year?
“We were rolling offensively. We were racking up some points and we didn’t feel a need to do that,” Slocum said of 2011.
Slocum went on to explain that Crosby’s problems of late are rooted in technical flaws.
“It’s about having good balance, good technique. It’s very easy to get out of balance. Let’s go back and detail your work. He expects to make every kick. I think he does a good job of regaining his focus,” Slocum said of Crosby.
Offensive Coordinator Tom Clements evaluated his unit’s lackluster play in the same manner that Mike McCarthy did; a stodgy running game that produced only 66 yards and a 2.5 yards-per-carry average was largely to blame, as it allowed the Jaguars to commit extra personnel to defend against the pass.
“Jacksonville played well, played hard. We didn’t play as well as we’re capable of playing. We took a step back. We didn’t run the ball as well as we want to,” Clements said.
Meanwhile, Defensive Coordinator Dom Capers was upbeat about his unit’s play. The Packers defense was at its best in the game’s most tense moments. It stopped the Jaguars on four consecutive plays near midfield with fewer than four minutes to play in the game and the Packers protecting a 21-15 lead.
“I’m encouraged,” Capers said. “We felt we needed to control the running game, win on first down. In terms of wins and losses, it was our best game of the year; 28-8 on first down.” Additional coverage - Oct. 29