This time, the Green Bay Packers had the chance to overcome a questionable call. They took advantage.
The Packers came out on top of the 2012 Desperation Bowl, narrowly beating the New Orleans Saints, 28-27, at Lambeau Field. The Saints appeared to have taken the lead on a late field goal, but a holding call took three points off the board. Saints kicker Garrett Hartley then hooked his next attempt wide left.
That bit of insanity followed an official's judgment-call mistake that nearly cost Green Bay again. Darren Sproles clearly fumbled on a kickoff return in the fourth quarter, but he was ruled down by contact. The Packers were out of challenges -- largely because of coach Mike McCarthy's mismanagement -- so they couldn't challenge the play. The Saints proceeded to go on to nearly take the lead.
The Saints showed a lot of fight by hanging in this game after falling down 21-7 early. The Packers showed some serious cracks in their secondary by giving up 429 passing yards. As bad as New Orleans' defense has looked all season, however, we were a little underwhelmed by Green Bay's offensive performance. (Altough Aaron Rodgers did have four scores, and a poke in the eye didn't help.)
As the Packers know well, the hows and whys don't matter in the standings. They are 2-2 and in the middle of a competitive, if surprising, NFC North. The Saints' season feels over before October at 0-4. It's past desperation time for them.
Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.