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Chaos rules final 10 seconds for Packers

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- When the Green Bay Packers go back and watch the film of the last 10 seconds of their 38-31 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, they likely will feel differently.

But in the moments after the game, coach Mike McCarthy and many of his players believed the officials had prevented them from getting the final play off as quickly as they had hoped.

A somewhat chaotic situation began when officials called a false start penalty on right tackle Don Barclay on second-and-goal from the 1-yard line with 20 seconds left. Never mind that penalty should have been on right guard T.J. Lang, even though center Evan Dietrich-Smith said it was his fault for snapping the ball late.

The major issue began after referee Carl Cheffers enforced the requisite 10-second runoff following the penalty.

“After that, we backed up 5 [yards] and we were all sitting in their stance, and the ref was hovering over Dietrich and wouldn’t let us snap the ball,” Barclay said. “I don’t know for what reason. Time was just ticking; he was just sitting there on Dietrich. I don’t have an answer for that.”

Time actually was not ticking.

It’s true umpire Undrey Wash did stand in front of Detriech-Smith to prevent him from snapping it. But Cheffers did not give the signal to start the clock until he was well behind quarterback Matt Flynn and Wash had backed away from the line of scrimmage.

“Well, we were all up, we were all set, and then he came up and told Evan to take his hand off the ball,” left guard Josh Sitton said. “And then we all kind of got up, and then he wound the clock. I think we were ready, and I think that took a few more seconds than it should have.”

About the only thing that could be questioned was why Cheffers, who was positioned behind quarterback Matt Flynn, moved closer to the quarterback and appeared to say something with about 6 seconds remaining.

“I don’t know what happened, really,” Flynn said. “Everything just, the operation seemed kind of weird right there.”

With Flynn apparently changing the play at the line of scrimmage, the Packers did not get the ball snapped until there were 3 seconds left, and Flynn’s pass went off the hands of receiver Jarrett Boykin to end the game.

“We knew we were going to get a runoff, we knew the clock was going to run and so we got everybody lined up,” said Flynn, who appeared to have Jordy Nelson open on the final play. “We should have been able to get two plays off. We thought that the operation, getting the ball down and the clock started was a little bit weird. But we should’ve been able to get two plays off. We went as fast as we could.”

When asked whether there was any way the Packers could have snapped the ball sooner, McCarthy said: “Not when the umpire is standing there and the clock is running. I don’t know what you can ask Matt Flynn to do, or Dietrich-Smith.”