“It’s one thing to set that kind of mark if you’re a lame-ass expansion team like the Jacksonville Jaguars,” said a glowing McCarthy in the post-game press conference. “It’s quite another to do it when you’re a 91-year old franchise going against our oldest rival. That’s something I'll be proud to have my name next to in the record books.”
After logging 18 penalties for 152 yards – a mark not seen since 1945 – the Packers locker room was electric after the game. “To reach this milestone, we needed contributions from every guy on the field,” said Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin, who particularly called out the play of right tackle Mark Tauscher. “Tausch played out of his mind tonight. Not only did he get a touchdown called back for holding, but he followed it up the next series with two false starts in a row. It was awesome!”
Not to be outdone by the offensive miscues, the defense came up big when it mattered – propelling the Bears to a tying field goal in the fourth quarter in a drive that featured personal fouls by Frank Zombo and Nick Collins, then nullifying an interception with a Morgan Burnett pass interference penalty to set up the winning field goal.
“I’m just so proud of our guys,” said defensive coordinator Dom Capers. “You practice and you practice, but you just can’t teach some of the plays we saw tonight. Personal fouls, facemasks, pass interference calls – we were really firing on all cylinders.”
“We couldn’t have done it without them,” said Bears’ quarterback Jay Cutler of the record-setting penalties. “I threw at least two balls that would have gone the other way if the guys in green and gold hadn’t bailed me out.”
The penalties weren’t the only impressive aspect of the Packers’ performance. Punter Tim Masthay shanked numerous line-drive punts. The coverage unit allowed a punt return for a touchdown. And the field goal unit had a kick blocked. “We pride ourselves on execution in all three phases of the game,” remarked special teams coordinator Shawn Slocum. “There are guys like long snapper Brett Goode that don’t get enough recognition. That was a phenomenal arm tackle that Hester easily broke for a touchdown.”
Coach McCarthy led by example tonight by demonstrating his own questionable decision-making – electing to challenge the James Jones fumble, a play that had no ambiguity whatsoever, but not challenge an apparent Packer interception that was ruled incomplete on the next play. That decision cost the Packers a time out, which enabled them to more efficiently run out the clock at the end of the game – giving themselves no time whatsoever to stage a final drive.
“I just hope we can build on what we demonstrated tonight,” said McCarthy. “That’s Packer football.”