The Green Bay Packers used a furious comeback to get within a 52-yard field of beating the Detroit Lions on Sunday.
And Mason Crosby’s kick? It was the equivalent of a dribbler back to the pitcher.
The Packers’ 18-16 loss to the Lions was as stunning as it was historic. Green Bay had defeated Detroit 24 consecutive times in the state of Wisconsin, with the Packers not falling at home in the rivalry since Lindy Infante was the coach, Mike Tomczak was the quarterback and Ron Wolf was in his third week on the job as the general manager.
To be sure, this loss shouldn’t be draped around the neck of the kicker. To his credit, Crosby answered questions from the media – unlike many of his teammates following a third consecutive loss.
“We made a play to get into that situation with the onside,” Crosby said. “We’ve got to win that game. I hate it. It kills me inside. I need to look at my teammates and make sure they know that I’m going to keep working and they can trust me down the line.”
Crosby made no excuses. It’s November at Lambeau Field. Even on an unseasonably warm day with the temperature at kickoff a balmy 55 mph and the wind a tame 7 mph, Lambeau is a tough place to kick. Lions kicker Matt Prater missed two extra points, including one to the south end.
During pregame warmups, Crosby made a 56-yarder with plenty to spare to that end of the stadium.
Crosby said “I’ve got to come through” with the game on the line.
“I’ll watch the film and analyze it then,” he said. “I felt like maybe I hit high on the ball – obviously, how it came off. My plant might have slid into a little bit. That side, you’ve got to stick a good plant. It’s a little softer on the south end. I felt confident with it. Just went about my business and got to hit it through.”
Crosby entered the day 11-of-12 on field goals and added a 44-yarder off the left upright to the north end to start the game.
Had Crosby connected, the Packers would have won a game they really didn’t deserve to win. While Green Bay’s defense was excellent, the Lions’ defense had its way with the Aaron Rodgers-led Green Bay offense and the usually-strong special teams allowed a 104-yard kickoff return to start the second half.
“We punted nine times and I had an up-and-down day,” punter Tim Masthay said. “If I hit all nine punts excellent, we cover them all excellent, we do that, then maybe we win the game, too. So it’s not like one play does it. It’s easy to point to those kind of plays. But Mason has been an excellent performer for us and had a good game outside of that one play. No, there’s not going to be any guys in here pointing fingers at Mason. Not at all.”
Bill Huber is publisher of PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at www.twitter.com/PackerReport.