The Packers had a first and goal at Buffalo's 1 yard line with a chance to tie the game at 17-17 with about five minutes remaining. The Packers had successfully run the ball during a 60-yard march behind Ahman Green and Noah Herron. Green ran for 9 and 16 yards before Brett Favre completed a 13-yard pass to wide receiver Donald Driver to the 11. Herron followed with a 10-yard burst up the middle to the 1 for a first down.
Instead of attempting to run the ball into the end zone for the game-tying score, McCarthy opted to try an catch the Bills off-guard with a quick slant pass from Favre to Driver. The only problem is, the Bills were set and ready for the Packers, and had a good feeling that Favre might try to hit Driver.
McCarthy, whose team lost another winnable game and fell to 3-5, said at his day-after press conference that he is standing behind his call to pass.
"If you ever had the opportunity to call plays, you second-guess yourself more than you guys and gals do," McCarthy explained. "It's a long night when you go through a game like that. Frankly, I think I've proven the fact of how important running the football is to our football team and the success of our football team. Frankly, I'm of the belief that if you can't knock it in four times from the 1-yard line, then you don't deserve to score a touchdown. I think I've proven that too already this year.
"When you call plays, a lot of times it's part of the thought process. My intention at that time is I thought we really had them on their heels. They had already called two timeouts. Our tempo was the best it's been all year. I think we had six or seven times all game where we didn't have more than 24 seconds at the line of scrimmage. That's excellent. That's what we're trying to do. Clearly, I know that it was a pass that was called, but it really was a transition play. We were trying to catch them in a personnel substitution. The mechanics of it could have been better getting to the line quicker, catching the defense in transition. They were not in transition when the ball was snapped and (Nate) Clements made a good play on it.
"It's easy for me to sit here and say, ‘Gosh, I wish I ran that thing in.' Frankly, I do believe that if we ran it, we would have had a great opportunity to get it in on first, second or third down. After seeing it on film, my job is to put the players in position to be successful. A run would have been a safer call, but there's nothing wrong with the call. I probably won't call it again (smiles). It's a play I've won a game with and it's a play that potentially cost us the game."
The Packers finished with 147 yards rushing against the Bills. Favre passed for 287 yards and a threw a touchdown pass to Driver on a similar slant play late in the third quarter.
"The element of catching the defense in transition is a big part of that play. We didn't accomplish that. Clearly, a run is a safer call. Frankly, when you win, they don't even come up in these discussions. If it had worked, it was a great call, but it didn't work so it's a bad call. That's why we're talking about it today."