Packers at Bye: Crosby, Masthay Have Hot Legs

The Packers' powerful offense is getting a helping hand from kicker Mason Crosby and punter Tim Masthay. Crosby is on a record-setting roll and Masthay appears to have broken out of a funk with one of the best punting performances in NFL history.

The Green Bay Packers haven't had a kicker make more than 80 percent of his field goals since Ryan Longwell way back in 2004.

They haven't had the same punter in back-to-back seasons since Jon Ryan in 2006 and 2007.

With fifth-year kicker Mason Crosby enjoying a career season and second-year punter Tim Masthay having broken out of an early-season funk, the Packers have a pair of legs worthy of joining Aaron Rodgers' right arm on the NFL's first-half juggernaut.

Crosby is one of five kickers who have made 100 percent of their field-goal attempts, with Crosby joining Jacksonville's Josh Scobee with a league-best 14-for-14 accuracy.

"I'd like him to continue a mirror image of the first seven games. (That) would be great," special teams coordinator Shawn Slocum said on Monday.

Crosby's high-water mark on accuracy came as a rookie in 2007, when he hit 79.5 percent of his attempts. Despite never getting close to the league average of about 83 percent during his first four seasons, the Packers rewarded Crosby after the lockout with a free-agent contract worth almost $15 million over five years.

Now, Crosby is rewarding the Packers for their continued patience. In 1981, Pro Football Hall of Famer Jan Stenerud – who was 39 at the time -- set the Packers' single-season record by making 91.7 percent of his field-goal attempts (22-of-24).

Mason Crosby hit 4-of-4 vs. Vikings.
Tom Dahlin/Getty Images
Crosby established two team records against Minnesota on Sunday. By going 4-for-4 in the kicker-friendly confines of the Metrodome, Crosby has made 21 consecutive field goals since drilling the upright from 29 yards against San Francisco on Dec. 5, 2010. That snapped a tie with Chris Jacke, who had made 17 in a row in 1993.

Crosby's streak is the second-longest active stretch in the NFL, behind Atlanta's Matt Bryant (27).

Plus, his 58-yard field goal was the longest in team history. Crosby held the previous mark, with 56-yard blasts at Philadelphia in Week 1 of last season and at Atlanta in Week 5 of this season. The ball was barely off his foot when he embraced his holder, Masthay.

"I hit that one well," said Crosby, who's the only kicker in the league with three field goals of at least 56 yards since 2010. "It's nice to be able to celebrate a 58-yarder as soon as it comes off my foot. I just give so much credit to those guys for working hard. This team, it's special. We need all those points. It's a special team and it's awesome to be a part of it."

Crosby was named NFC special teams player of the week, the second time he captured the award in three weeks. He attributes his hot start to having the same snapper-holder combination for consecutive season for the first time in his career.

"This operation, it's on a roll right now," Crosby said. "I've got to give all of the credit to Brett and Tim first off, and our protection has just been great. They keep guys off me. I'm able to just swing free and hit good balls."

Slocum agreed with Crosby, but gave plenty of credit to his kicker, who hasn't come close to missing this season after entering this season with 77.9 percent career accuracy.

"He's hitting the ball primarily in the middle of the uprights," Slocum said. "What he's doing, he's technically so sound right now that he's hitting the ball right down the starting line, so where he picks his spot, that's where the ball's traveling."

Masthay has a long climb up the league rankings to be an above-average punter, statistically speaking. He began that climb on Sunday. He averaged 59.3 yards on his three punts, and his net of 55.3 was the third-longest since the NFL began tracking net punting average in 1976, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

For the season, he ranks 20th in average (43.7) and a woeful 31st in net average (33.5), his numbers weighed down by two long returns and only sporadic game action because of the Packers' high-powered offense. But in his last two games, he's averaging 48.3 yards per punt with a net of 40.3. Last season, he set a team record with a net of 37.6 yards.

"I liked what he did (Sunday)," Slocum said. "That's what I had envisioned him to be. It's taken him a little bit to get there so hopefully he'll stay there as we move forward."

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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at

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