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Tuesdays with McCarthy

Posted Dec 17, 2013

In this week's edition, the head coach discusses the thrilling comeback in Dallas, the play of QB Matt Flynn and the upcoming matchup with the Steelers.

Q. The Lions lost. What do you think about that?

We’re thinking about the Pittsburgh Steelers. We talk every week about how this league changes, and how we just need to stay focused on what’s in front of us. Worrying about controlling our own destiny or not controlling our own destiny, it’s wasted energy. That’s why I dislike hypothetical questions and drama, but I do understand that it exists on a daily basis in our business. At the end of the day, we’re about winning football games, and when you do that, everything else is taken care of.

Q. Is Sunday’s win the biggest comeback with which you’ve ever been associated?

Clearly. It was the greatest comeback victory on the road in the history of the Packers, and not only because of the deficit. We faced adversity throughout the game and in every way imaginable. Tramon’s first interception being overturned, in my opinion, was not the right call. If that call stands, we have the ball first-and-goal at the 7 with 11 minutes to go. Instead, Dallas responded with the penalty-aided drive to score and take more time off the clock. We went from potentially having the ball on the 7-yard line with a chance to take the lead to being down two scores, and we still responded. There was so much back and forth and the team kept fighting. The sideline was incredible and I can’t say enough about our football team. It’s exactly what you look for in adverse situations. When people say define adversity, you just need to look at the fourth quarter in Dallas.

Q. Everybody wants to know what it was like in the locker room at halftime. So what was it like in the locker room at halftime?

Normal operating procedure. We made some adjustments on offense and defense. There was some emotion, like there usually is, but that stays in the locker room. The message was about handling adversity, approaching the second half one play at a time and understanding that we were going to have opportunities to come back and win the game. We talked about how it was going to take the full 30 minutes and the game was going to come down to the last sequence of plays. The players did a phenomenal job of staying true to that, and they kept fighting. It started with the first play of the second half with the long run by Eddie Lacy.

Q. You were down 23 but you committed to the run. Why?

It goes back to what we felt at halftime. We had a good run plan against Dallas, but when we went to the no-huddle offense, we really didn’t get any production and got in long down-and-distance situations. We felt we needed to get back to running the football and get into more of a controlled passing game to keep Matt in rhythm. We were able to do that. We knew it was going to take the full 30 minutes of the second half to accomplish what we needed to accomplish. The biggest aspect of that was our defense. The defense had to come up with stops and takeaways, and they delivered.

Q. What do you think was the difference between the two teams in the second half?

When you watched the game from the sidelines, and there was success on a play or particular series of plays, there was always an edge to the play style or result. Our team displayed aggressiveness and finish, or made an extra effort on a block. Our players clearly displayed edge throughout the second half. It was definitely needed. Dallas’ offense played extremely well in the first half, and you have to give them a lot of credit. They did some good things, and we just weren’t very sharp in some of our responsibilities, and it hurt us. Dallas was operating at a very high level on offense, but we definitely had more edge on both sides of the ball in the second half.

Q. What special things did Matt Flynn do right in the second half?

Matt ran the offense. He kept us in clean plays, played with rhythm and made tough throws. He also made clutch throws, particularly on third down to Andrew Quarless. Matt was very, very steady after a tough first half.

Q. Were you shocked the Cowboys didn’t run the ball on the second-and-6 play that resulted in the Sam Shields interception?

I understand the play that was called. It’s a similar concept that we have used. When you give your quarterback those types of run-pass options, that’s what happens sometimes. Frankly, it was just a great play by Sam Shields. He got beat off the line but he kept playing and undercut the route. It was a phenomenal interception by Sam.

Q. Is this reminding you of 2010?

I don’t think that way. We have 13 pictures on our wall in the team meeting room, and every single one of them is special. Every single one of those championships brings something to our organization and keeps the energy and the spirit of a champion in the bricks of Lambeau Field. That’s the way I look at 2010. It’s part of a unique group of champions. I look at that picture almost every day in the team meeting room.

Q. Immediately after the game, you turned your attention to Pittsburgh. What special challenge do they present?

Their style of play and the way they go about it. They have a world-championship quarterback. I have a lot of respect for Ben Roethlisberger. You’re talking about a guy who’s been to three Super Bowls and won two Super Bowl trophies. Anytime a man like that comes into your building, you have to be respectful of that. I have the utmost respect for the Steelers organization and Mike Tomlin, and we know this is going to be a hard, tough football game. We knew that when the schedule came out.

Q. How would you describe the postgame locker room on Sunday?

It was great. It was fun. Exhausting, frankly. I think our guys really tapped themselves out. Everybody was clearly excited. There are always some funny exchanges between players, and to see their humor and personalities in times like that, those are things you’ll always remember. That’s what you’re looking for. It’s playoff football for us. It was a playoff victory celebration for us in that locker room.

To see previous editions of Tuesdays with McCarthy, click here.

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