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The Green Bay Packers were in prime position for an upset at
Pittsburgh Raiders
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 , leading by seven late in the third quarter
when coach Mike McCarthy called for a 57-yard field goal try by Mason Crosby on

Heinz Field is a notoriously difficult venue for kicking, with winds off the
city’s three rivers swirling in through the open end of the stadium. But
McCarthy believed the Packers needed the points more than the field position.
Crosby’s low attempt looked like a knuckleball and didn’t come close. The
Steelers went 53 yards the other way in six plays for the tying touchdown.

The longest field goal made in an NFL game at Heinz Field since it opened in
2001 was 53 yards, a record matched later on Sunday night by Chris Boswell as
time expired to give the Steelers a 31-28 victory . The valiant effort by the
Packers in the best performance of backup quarterback Brett Hundley’s brief
career ultimately went for naught, pushing McCarthy into the second-guessing
spotlight for Week 12’s round of armchair quarterbacking.

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”You don’t have time to check records,” McCarthy said after the game, when
asked by a reporter whether he realized what was the longest made kick at the
stadium before sending Crosby out to try. McCarthy added: ”I obviously have a
lot of faith and trust in Mason.”

The flow of the game Raiders
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 , the time of possession statistics and the
energy of the defense were all factors in McCarthy’s choice of field goal over

”That’s the right decision,” he said steadfastly.

Packers fans were even more perturbed by the way the final 80 seconds of the
game went. Hundley took a sack at his 12-yard line on the first snap of their
final possession, prompting McCarthy to pull back and play for overtime.

But the next play call came in late, and rookie running back Jamaal Williams
did not realize the Packers were then simply trying to drain the clock. He went
out of bounds after a short reception, preceding an up-the-middle running play
that allowed the Steelers to call a timeout prior to the punt and get the ball
back with 17 seconds remaining. They needed only two plays to reach Boswell’s
range for the winning kick.

”That’s the reality of what happened,” McCarthy said. ”No excuses.”

Here are other calls around the league that fell under heavy scrutiny:


The New York Jets were trailing by one point at home on Sunday early in the
fourth quarter against Carolina when tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins appeared
to complete a 1-yard touchdown catch from Josh McCown.

The call on the field Raiders
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 , however, was reversed after the required
replay review because the officials declared that Seferian-Jenkins did not
maintain possession of the slightly moving ball as he stretched out in the back
of the end zone for the reception and fell out of bounds.

”I don’t like this,” NBC analyst Tony Dungy said. ”We’re micromanaging these

Seferian-Jenkins had a touchdown reversed earlier in the season against New
England on an even more obscure ruling that he fumbled out of bounds in the end
zone for a touchback.

”I have to be a better receiver and make that catch,” Seferian-Jenkins said.
”Simple as that.”

The Panthers pulled out a 35-27 victory , leaving Jets coach Todd Bowles the
subject of criticism, too. The overturned call on second down Seferian-Jenkins
was one of three straight incompletions McCown threw from the 1-yard
line Raiders
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 , prompting a short field goal that gave the
Jets a short-lived lead. Matt Forte was wide open on third down.

”Hindsight is 20-20. We had a touchdown if we held onto the football,” Bowles
said, adding: ”none of the plays worked, so it really doesn’t matter.”


Minnesota coach Mike Zimmer continued his practice of announcing Case Keenum
as the quarterback one week at a time, rather than declare him the starter
indefinitely over Teddy Bridgewater with the Vikings on a seven-game winning
streak . Even Keenum said recently he’s fine with the arrangement, citing the
old ”not-broke-don’t-fix-it” adage.

The Buffalo Bills went back to Tyrod Taylor at quarterback and won at Kansas
City after an ill-fated first half by rookie Nathan Peterman in a loss to the
San Diego Chargers the week before. The freefalling Chiefs Raiders
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 , meanwhile, are sticking for now with
suddenly struggling Alex Smith despite the presence of first-round draft pick
Patrick Mahomes on the sideline.

Denver Broncos coach Vance Joseph gave quarterback Paxton Lynch his first
start on Sunday against Oakland, then proceeded to watch him take four sacks and
pass for just 41 yards on 14 attempts with one interception before hurting his
ankle in the third quarter. Trevor Siemian, who started the first eight games
before giving way to Brock Osweiler for three starts, threw two touchdown passes
in the fourth quarter in a 21-14 loss to the Raiders .

Siemian will take over as the starter again – for now.

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