Packers vet Crosby stunned by kicking woes
DETROIT — Mason Crosby didn’t have any excuses Sunday afternoon.
“I don’t usually get this much attention unless I’ve done something really good or really bad,” Crosby told a crowd of reporters after the game. “This one is unfortunately really bad.”
He got a small amount of redemption by making a 41-yard field goal with 2 seconds left, but his onside kick bounced directly to Detroit’s Marvin Jones.
“This hurts a bunch,” he said. “I left a bunch of points on the field for this team, and I’m disappointed. This was something I’ve never been a part of before and I hope to never be a part of it again.”
To make things even stranger, the game was played indoors at Ford Field, a kicker’s paradise.
“This is obviously uncharted territory,” he said. “It’s not good that I was inside and felt great, and then this happened.”
In his 181st NFL game, he was wide left on a 41-yarder late in the first quarter; hit the right upright from 42 yards early in the second quarter; and missed wide right on a 38-yard attempt with 3:38 left in the first half.
In the second half, he missed a 56-yarder and an extra point.
None of that was enough to worry his most important teammate.
“Mason and I have played together for a long time, and I strongly believe he’s one of the greatest kickers of all time,” Aaron Rodgers said. “He and Robbie Gould have mastered kicking in the elements. He had a bad day today, but we still believe in him 100 percent.”
Crosby is working with a rookie long snapper in Hunter Bradley and a rookie holder in JK Scott, but they didn’t appear to be at fault on any of the kicks. The 34-year-old kicker came into the game having made 10 of 11 field goals this season, with the only miss coming outdoors from 52 yards.
“I have to look at this, look at every facet of it, and then flush it,” he said. “It was one of those days where it just wasn’t there, but I’ve never had a day like that before.”
After the terrible first half, Crosby had to wait for his next opportunity. The Packers scored a touchdown on their first drive of the second half, but successfully went for 2 to make it 24-8.
The Packers had their next chance to kick a field goal late in the third quarter when they faced fourth-and-4 from the Lions 30. Crosby jogged onto the field, but the Packers decided to go for it. Rodgers scrambled for the first down, setting up Green Bay’s second touchdown.
If Crosby had made the three medium-range field goals in the first half, the Packers could have been within 24-23 instead of trailing 24-14. The missed kicks meant Matthew Stafford‘s touchdown pass early in the fourth quarter gave the Lions a commanding 31-14 lead.
“We’re going to take a long look at what happened,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. “We’re going to be better next Monday against San Francisco.”
Rodgers answered with his third touchdown pass of the half to make it 31-20, but Crosby’s extra point hit the outside of the left upright and bounced harmlessly wide.
Needing two scores to tie, the Packers elected for a 56-yard field goal attempt on fourth-and-15 with 3:20 to play. Crosby’s low kick slid to the right for his fifth miss of the day.
He finally made his last attempt, ending the day with a little hope.
“I obviously needed to hit that one,” he said. “We’ll take that and move forward with it.”