Green Bay Packers quarterback Matt Flynn walks off the field after the Packers lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers 38-31 at Lambeau Field. Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports photograph

Green Bay Packers: League says officials mismanaged clock at end of Steelers game

Anyone who watched the end of the Green Bay Packers vs. Pittsburgh Steelers game came away scratching their heads not only over the fact that the Packers offensive line committed a false start penalty on the goal line and in their own stadium, but that the officials didn’t help the Packers cause by mismanaging the clock.

The league offices confirmed today that the final 10 seconds were blown by the officials – and while it’s unclear whether the Packers would have been able to get off two plays instead of the single incomplete pass that was thrown by quarterback Matt Flynn, it is certainly possible.

Here is what the league said about the final 10 seconds of that game:

“Due to a miscommunication between members of the officiating crew, the game clock was started prematurely on the final play of the game.”

With the Packers at the 1 yard line and 20 seconds left in the game, the Packers were flagged for a false start, moving the ball back to the 6. That’s when the clock mismanagement began. Because the penalty was committed inside one minute, 10 seconds were run off against the Packers, leaving them with 10 on the clock. The clock is supposed to start when the ball is placed and the referee gives the signal.

Referee Carl Cheffers proceeded to tell Packers center Evan Dietrich-Smith to take his hand off the ball and then signaled the umpire to stand over the ball while he got into position. However, it appears that the clock started before the umpire backed away. Adding to the loss of time on the clock was the fact that Packers quarterback Flynn dialed up an audible and by the time he threw incomplete to Jarrett Boykin the clock read :00.

Again, it’s unclear whether the Packers would have scored if given another chance, but at least it’s nice to hear the league come out and say that they probably should have been given that chance.

Had the Packers scored and converted an extra point, it would have sent the game into overtime.

In the end, the Packers lost 38-31.

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