McCarthy: Early goal-line stand was turning point


Green Bay Packers racked up 35 points on Sunday and beat Washington Redskins by 17, but coach Mike McCarthy felt the turning point of their victory came when the score was 2-0.

After giving up a safety on their second possession, the Packers were in danger of trailing by two scores in the first quarter.

But DeSean Jackson's apparent touchdown was overturned and the Packers defense turned in a goal-line stand to force a 25-yard Dustin Hopkins field goal and trail only 5-0 with 4:54 remaining in the first quarter.

"Our defense making a goal-line stand was a huge turning point," McCarthy said after the game. "It was a huge, huge momentum swing."

Packers safety HaHa Clinton-Dix pushed Jackson out of bounds before the latter was able to get the ball over the goal line. Clinton-Dix then helped out linebackers Jake Ryan and Clay Matthews and defensive tackle Letroy Guion stop Alfred Morris on consecutive runs that netted minus-1 yard. Following a delay of game penalty, Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins tried to connect with Pierre Garcon in the end zone, but Clinton-Dix batted it away.

"We should be able to score from half a yard," Redskins coach Jay Gruden said. "We had three cracks at it and ended up kicking a field goal, which is not good enough. They played good goal-line defense and we didn't get it in."

Clinton-Dix, Green Bay's first-round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, played arguably his best game as a professional. He finished with only two tackles, but impacted other plays and provided solid coverage downfield.

His four-play sequence in the first quarter made all the difference in Sunday's game and gave a struggling Packers team the confidence it needed to leave the nation's capital with a playoff win.

"We just needed a game like this to get our mojo back and get our confidence going," Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said.

"It just takes one performance to get us going back in the right direction and believing we can make a run."