SEATTLE—His teammates were trying to console him, but there wasn’t much anybody could say to backup tight end Brandon Bostick.
“I let my team down,” Bostick said following the Packers’ devastating 28-22 overtime loss to the Seahawks in the NFC Championship on Sunday.
Seattle’s onside kick came with 2:09 left and the Packers protecting a 19-14 lead. With receiver Jordy Nelson behind him on the “hands” team, Bostick was supposed to block a Seattle player coming into his area to clear space for Nelson to field the bounding ball.
Bostick decided to try to field the ball himself, though, with disastrous results. He never corralled it, and Seattle’s Chris Matthews did, setting the stage for the Seahawks’ go-ahead 50-yard TD drive that took just 44 seconds.
“I just reacted and thought I could make a play on it, but obviously I didn’t,” said Bostick, who immediately got an earful from special teams coordinator Shawn Slocum on the sideline after the play. “I felt like I had my hands on the ball, and it just slipped through I guess. Then I just got hit, and I didn’t have the ball.”
The pain and regret was obvious in his voice.
“There was a lot riding on this game, and I just feel like if I would have done my job – my assignment was to block – Jordy would have caught the ball, and the game would have been over,” he said.
Teammates did their best to console him. Players never like to say a game comes down to one play, and they weren’t saying that here, either.
“He was trying to make a play,” rookie center Corey Linsley said. “All of us screw up, all of us make mistakes.”
Special teams captain Randall Cobb said he talked to him and said “there’s a bunch of plays we wish we could get back in that game.”
Another one on special teams was a fake field goal the Seahawks turned into a 19-yard touchdown pass from holder and former Packers punter Jon Ryan to backup offensive lineman Garry Gilliam. It came in the third quarter and provided Seattle with its first points of the game.
That special-teams gaffe would have been an afterthought, though, if the onside kick recovery had been executed properly.
Clay Matthews called an onside kick a “crapshoot” but a play that has to be made. The Seahawks had one timeout left, plus the two-minute warning, so the Packers would have needed one more first down to run out the clock had the recovery been successful.
“We felt we were up to something special tonight,” Matthews said.
It wasn’t to be.
“If you go for it, you’ve got to get it,” Andrew Quarless said, speaking of his fellow tight end and friend, Bostick.
“You can’t blame it on one person. You blame it on everybody.”
Cobb’s close call: Cobb nearly didn’t play in the game, having gone to the hospital on Saturday dealing with what was reported as symptoms of appendicitis.
He was in so much pain, he wasn’t sure he was going to be able to play, even when things checked out OK.
“Yesterday I was (thinking he’d have to miss the game),” Cobb said. “I woke up this morning and felt pretty good.”
Cobb had seven catches for 62 yards, including a 13-yard TD grab in the first half and a key 15-yard gain on the Packers’ final offensive drive to tie the score at the end of regulation.
Even with everything going the wrong direction down the stretch, Cobb said “we never for a second didn’t believe” victory was at hand.
“I’m at a loss for words,” he said. “To be so close, to be right here, and see everything you’ve worked your butt off for to get to this point. Your opportunities come few and far between.”
Crosby clutch: Packers kicker Mason Crosby was as clutch as it gets on Sunday.
Already 4-for-4 on field goals with makes from 18, 19, 40 and 48 yards, Crosby trotted out onto the field with 19 seconds left, needing to make his fifth field goal – another 48-yarder – to send the game to overtime. He drilled it.
“I just knew I needed to get it done,” Crosby said. “I felt good with how I hit the ball today. We had to have it. Wish we could have gotten the win.”
Crosby called it one of his best professional games, and it was. He tied the NFL postseason record for a single game with five made field goals, which had been accomplished eight times previously, most recently by Adam Vinatieri for Indianapolis in 2006.
Crobsy felt several teammates played some of their best games, too, which only made the loss tougher to swallow.
“This one hurts. It definitely does,” he said. “This is one we had, and we let it slip away there at the end.” COMPLETE GAME COVERAGE