McCarthy, Packers reflect after big play
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Packers coach Mike McCarthy left no doubt about where the team's no-time-left win in Detroit stands for him.
"Outside of the Super Bowl (title in the 2010 season), to me, that's our greatest regular-season win," said McCarthy, who's in his 10th year as Green Bay's coach.
"I couldn't sleep, so I sat up and watched it a few times on TV," he added Friday, less than 24 hours after the stunning victory. "It was a phenomenal play."
The media quickly dubbed it the "Motor City Miracle" and "Miracle in Motown" and other names. The resilient Packers added a different slogan to one of the most spectacular wins in their 97-year history: Scat Two Rebound Pass.
That's the name of the play used by the Packers to pull out their 27-23 comeback victory on the road against the Lions after time expired Thursday night. Aaron Rodgers' 61-yard throw coming after a penalty with 0:00 on the clock arced high into the air before coming down into the hands of leaping tight end Richard Rodgers in the end zone.
McCarthy called it the best throw he's seen in his 23 years in the league. It capped a second-half comeback from 20 points down, the largest in Rodgers' eight seasons as a starter. And after losing four of its previous five games, Green Bay (8-4) stayed on the heels of the NFC North-leading Minnesota Vikings.
"We had really put ourselves behind the eight ball as far as the division and the playoffs in general," linebacker Clay Matthews said. "So to bounce back and put ourselves in position to hopefully take back the North, it means a great deal."
The Packers, who don't play again until they host Dallas on Dec. 13, could be back atop the division after they return to work from having the full weekend off. The Vikings (8-3) have a home game against Seattle on Sunday.
What pleased McCarthy the most was having his team rally and overcome a great deal of adversity. Detroit jumped out to a 17-0 lead in the first quarter.
The Packers' decimated offensive line, which started the game without right tackle Bryan Bulaga and right guard T.J. Lang, lost center Corey Linsley to a reinjured ankle in the first half and left tackle David Bakhtiari briefly in the fourth quarter because of a reinjured knee.
After two straight 100-yard rushing games, Pro Bowl running back Eddie Lacy didn't play much for what McCarthy said might have been for a disciplinary reason. Lacy didn't make the start and had only five carries for 4 yards.
"Leading up the game, frankly, there's an internal football decision that was made," McCarthy said. "That's what resulted in Eddie's (reduced) reps."
But the Packers didn't flinch after falling behind 20-0 in the third quarter.
"Our guys play till the end, and they illustrated that last night," McCarthy said.
The Packers work on the play every week in practice the day before a game, and the 6-foot-4 Richard Rodgers out jumped everyone in the end zone for the ball.
"He went up and got it," McCarthy said.