'Do I Wish I'd (Challenged)? Yeah'

Coach Mike McCarthy defends his reasoning for not challenging a fumble on a fumble that would have given the Packers the ball but instead cost them three points early in the fourth quarter. Plus much more from Monday.

Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy on Monday defended one of several questionable decisions he made in Sunday's game but also took the blame for a lapse in judgment on another one.

The so-called Monday morning quarterbacks were having a field day in taking McCarthy to task for not challenging a big catch-and-run play by Chiefs tight end Leonard Pope early in the fourth quarter. Pope advanced the football to the Packers' 3-yard line, but as he was falling out of bounds, the ball came out of his hand and went into the end zone and then out.

A TV camera caught McCarthy reaching for the red flag in his back pocket, but he refrained from grabbing it and throwing it onto the field. The drive carried on for the Chiefs, and they kicked a field goal to extend their lead to 12-7.

"I think sometimes you take a shot," Packers cornerback Charles Woodson said after the game, indirectly questioning McCarthy's non-challenge that TV replay showed would have been a fumble and resulted in a touchback for Green Bay. "He didn't, but we just had to move on from it and continue to play."

McCarthy explained indecisiveness in the heat of the moment before the next play was at the root of not challenging the officials' ruling that Pope was out of bounds before he fumbled. That the play happened across the field didn't help, either.

"I'm responsible for it, the decision not to throw it," McCarthy said. "We felt it wasn't conclusive that his foot stepped out. They actually showed a couple replays on the Jumbotron (at Arrowhead Stadium). I didn't feel that it was clear. And, then emotionally, I think someone said something, and I really caught myself from making that emotional decision.

"I was more concerned about the timeouts at that point than I was the actual challenge. I felt just the way the flow of the game was going, I wasn't willing to burn that timeout. I felt it potentially was going to come down to a two-minute situation. So, I was hesitant, and the initial communication was that his foot stepped out. What I saw on the Jumbotron, because I had two or three good looks at it, I didn't feel it was conclusive to throw the flag.

"In hindsight, do I wish I'd thrown it? Yeah. It could have cost us three points and a little more time on the clock. But, I did not (throw it)."

No regrets

McCarthy didn't second-guess himself for having Mason Crosby try an onside kick with 2:04 left in the game after the Packers cut the deficit to 19-14 on a touchdown run by Rodgers.

Green Bay had all three of its timeouts and also had another impending clock stoppage with the two-minute warning. The Packers, though, didn't recover the onside kick, and the Chiefs ran out the remaining time with two first downs.

"Based on the way the game was going, do you give your offense one chance to get the ball back or two?" McCarthy said. "And, that's the way I look at that particular situation with three timeouts. So, I took the risk, the higher risk of going onside kick looking to give the offense two opportunities to get the ball back as opposed to one."

Added special teams coordinator Shawn Slocum: "We could have hit that ball a little higher, but as it worked out, Jordy (Nelson) got his hands on the ball and it actually hit his hip when it went out of bounds. If he would have gotten it cleanly, we had two guys there to get the ball." Personnel notes

— OT Derek Sherrod underwent surgery Sunday night in Kansas City after the rookie suffered a season-ending broken right leg earlier in the day. The surgery was considered a success for Sherrod, the team's first-round draft pick who played sparingly this season, but he isn't expected to return to Green Bay until later in the week.

— RT Bryan Bulaga was diagnosed Monday with a sprain of his left knee. Bulaga suffered the game-ending injury early in the second half Sunday. He likely will be out this week for this week's game against the Bears. Starting left guard T.J. Lang would be in line to make the start at right tackle after he moved to that spot following Derek Sherrod's setback early in the fourth quarter.

— LT Chad Clifton is slated to practice on a limited basis Wednesday for the first time since he suffered a torn hamstring in the Oct. 9 win at Atlanta. The anticipated return of the 12th-year veteran in recent weeks was pushed back because of a back injury he sustained during his rehab work for the hamstring. Clifton figures to be eased back into practice with perhaps a chance of getting ready to play in the Jan. 1 regular-season finale against the Lions.

— RB James Starks, the team's top rusher, figures to have his workload increased in practice this week with an eye on possibly playing Sunday. Starks has missed the last two games because of an aggravated ankle injury. He returned to practice on a limited basis Friday.

— DE Ryan Pickett is expected to get back on the field at some point this week and possibly play Sunday night. The veteran starter didn't play against the Chiefs after suffering a concussion in the previous game. "I think Ryan Pickett is having his best year as a Green Bay Packer, especially over the last three years in this defense," McCarthy said. "He factors every single week up front. It didn't help us, not having him, that's for sure."

— RB Brandon Saine missed Sunday's game because of a concussion. Early indication is the rookie backup should be able to return to practice this week.

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