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Article posted: 12/17/2012 5:30 AM

McCarthy takes blame for botched lateral on punt

By Joe Aguilar

Randall Cobb, a happy Green Bay Packer, threw on his fresh-out-of-the-box, green, NFC North champions lid and smiled.

"Make sure you get a good look at it," he said to reporters huddled around his locker stall.

Cobb's "other" throw Sunday wasn't executed nearly as well.

Coach Mike McCarthy might have wanted to toss the particular trick play from his team's playbook after the Packers' 21-13, division-clinching win over the Bears at Soldier Field.

"We had the fake punt (return), which is my responsibility, and clearly not the highlight of my coaching career," McCarthy said.

The trick was a disaster and the timing of it had the potential to be extremely costly for the Packers. They had a 21-10 lead when Cobb dropped back to receive Adam Podlesh's punt from the Bears 30 with 8:11 left in the fourth quarter. Cobb caught the punt at the Green Bay 23, then threw a jump-pass/lateral to Jeremy Ross.

The ball slipped through Ross' hands, bounced on the grass and was recovered by the Bears' Anthony Walters at the Green Bay 16.

"I wasn't surprised (by the call)," Ross said. "You're always ready for it. The whole play was great. Everything was set up. The conditions were right. How (the Bears) played it was right. The only thing that wasn't right was me dropping (the ball)."

Cobb took responsibility for his lob, which wouldn't suggest Aaron Rodgers should be worried about his starting-QB job.

"We got to execute it," Cobb said. "We've been practicing it for a few weeks.

"Maybe I can throw a better ball."

Ross, too, accepted blame.

"I'm a wide receiver," Ross said. "If it comes my way, I got to catch it. I was just in a hurry to run. I saw No. 14 (Eric Weems) approaching me. He actually was calling it out, saying, 'Watch (No.) 10 (Ross).' When the ball was in the air, I saw him running toward me so I got focused on that. I was like, 'Man, I got to get out of here.'"

Said McCarthy: "In the end, it's not a very good decision. I wish I had that back."

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