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With Game-Winner, Crosby Finally Ends Kicking Chaos

Almost exactly three years after missing five kicks in a loss at Detroit, Mason Crosby missed four kicks but made the game-winner at Cincinnati.
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GREEN BAY, Wis. – On Oct. 7, 2018, Mason Crosby missed four field goals and an extra point in an infamous loss at Detroit.

Three years and three days later, on Oct. 10, 2021, Crosby missed three field goals and an extra point at Cincinnati. There wouldn’t be a fourth missed field goal, though, nor would there be an infamous loss. Crosby split the uprights from 49 yards to give the Green Bay Packers a 25-22 victory in overtime over the Bengals.

Seeing the ball float between the yellow posts, and not hitting one or sailing left, brought a mix of relief and excitement to the team’s 15th-year kicker.

“You’ve got to take joy in the moments,” Crosby said. “All I can think about is that last kick right now. You see the faces of your teammates and what those guys put on the line to continue to get in that position I just want to come through for them. Everyone has all the faith in the world in me, and I have all the faith in the world that I’m going to keep getting those ops. I’m so happy I was able to come through there at the end, and I’m going to celebrate it. I’m a realist and I’m honest with myself and I’m probably my harshest critic, so I’m going to make sure that I do what I can and we’ll clean up anything on the other side if there are any operation or protection or things like that. Up front, we moved some guys around and the protection seemed really great all day.”

Crosby struck the left upright on his first attempt of the day, an extra point, but that seemed like a blip on the radar after he made two 44-yard field goals, a 22-yarder and an extra point in helping the Packers take a 22-14 lead.

But it was kicking chaos down the stretch. With the game tied at 22, Crosby pulled a 36-yard, go-ahead field goal wide left with 2:16 to play. Cincinnati had a chance to take a late lead but Evan McPherson’s 57-yarder nailed the right upright with 21 seconds to go. That set up the Packers for a repeat of their Week 3 win at San Francisco. Aaron Rodgers hit Davante Adams over the middle for a gain of 20 to the Bengals’ 33. Just like at San Francisco, Crosby had a 51-yarder to win. Unlike at San Francisco, Crosby missed just to the left.

In overtime, Crosby missed a 40-yarder after De’Vondre Campbell’s interception. But he was left off the hook again when McPherson missed from 49. The rookie celebrated for a moment as if he’d just won the game.

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“I struck it really well and I saw it going right down the middle,” McPherson said. “I guess you could say I kind of know whenever it’s going to go in. That was one of those moments. I was celebrating with Kevin (Huber, the punter/holder) when it hit a hard left. I couldn’t really tell you. Maybe a big gust of wind caught it right at the last second. But I struck it well. I’m upset about it, but there’s nothing really I can do about it now.”

Given another mulligan, this time Crosby delivered. A 15-yard completion to Randall Cobb set up Crosby for a 49-yarder. Coach Matt LaFleur considered going for it on fourth-and-1 but a brief conversation with Crosby at the kicking net made the decision.

“I went over to Mason, I could see the look in his eyes,” LaFleur said. “There was zero flinch from him. That’s what we talk about all the time. I couldn’t be happier for him. I told the team afterwards, I was like, the only kick I’ll remember is that last kick.”

After the kickers missed five consecutive field goals, Crosby kicked the Packers to their fourth consecutive win.

Since the dubious day in Detroit, Crosby entered Sunday having made 64-of-68 regular-season field-goal attempts (and 68-of-72, including playoffs). The three to start Sunday extended his franchise record to 27 in a row.

Now, he’s made one in a row but it was the winner.

“Winning is tough, so this is a good one for us,” Crosby said.