The third time was the charm for Mason Crosby and the Green Bay Packers against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday. There’s no reason to worry even though Crosby missed three field goals and an extra point previously in the game. Crosby will be fine. We’ve seen this before.
Crosby missed four field goals, and an extra point against the Detroit Lions on Oct. 7, 2018, and Green Bay lost that game 31-23. At the time, many fans demanded that Crosby get the boot. The Packers stuck by their longtime kicker after that outing. It was the right move.
Crosby would make 22 of 24 kicks in 2019, and he was a perfect 16 of 16 last year. The mental blunders and missed kicks that surfaced in Detroit in 2018 seemed like a distant memory. And after his performance against the Bengals, there’s no reason to worry that he won’t solve the riddle again.
The sample size is too large. Crosby has been in the league for 15 years and is a career 82% field goal kicker. The bizarre twist to Crosby having so many hiccups in one game again is that Green Bay won on a kick this time.
The mob would’ve been out in full force had the Packers lost in Cincinnati. Some doubters were working their Twitter fingers following the game anyway. However, nothing in his past indicates anything other than him going back to his consistent self as he did after the Detroit game in 2018.
Yes, he’s 37 years old now, but this is the same Crosby who buried a 51-yarder to beat the San Francisco 49ers back in Week 3. The same Crosby who, despite the misses on Sunday, somehow mentally blocked all of it out to punch through the game-winning 49-yard field goal to lift the Packers to 4-1. Doubting him now would be foolish. His performance on Sunday was an anomaly and nothing more.
Crosby wasn’t the only one under the microscope. Bengals kicker Evan McPherson missed a pair of game-winners in crunch time too. If there’s one saving grace for Crosby, outside of hitting the eventual game-winner, at least he didn’t celebrate a miss.
Per the Packers’ website, McPherson thought the referees were playing a joke on him.
“When the ball turned left, it kind of caught me off-guard,” McPherson said. “Honestly, I thought the refs were playing a game with us whenever I looked down there and they were doing the ‘no good’ motion. I honestly thought they were playing a game because I struck it really well and I was really confident that it was going through.”
The thought of the referees playing a joke on anyone during a game, let alone a kicker on a walk-off attempt, is utterly baffling. That should be the focus of the post-game analysis, not Crosby’s misses — but I digress.
As for Crosby? He’s only thinking about the final one that went through, for now.
“You’ve got to take joy in the moments,” said Crosby, whose last missed field goal before Sunday came against the Detroit Lions on Dec. 29, 2019.
“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.”
Obviously, they will go back and see what went wrong on all those misses. What jarred the mind was that all four of Crosby’s misses went wide left. At some point, after a missed extra point and two missed field goals, you’d think the natural reaction would be to do everything in your power not to pull one, yet that’s precisely what happened when Crosby missed his fourth total attempt of the afternoon. But he didn’t miss the last one, and that’s all that matters now.
Green Bay was in a peculiar spot at the end before the game-winner. Facing a 4th and 1, they could’ve chosen to go for it. Not a soul in the world would’ve blamed them. Instead, per sportingnews.com, Matt LaFleur looked at Crosby, asked him a question, and sent him out for the 49-yard attempt.
“I walked over, [and] he was at the kicking net,” LaFleur said. “He was coming back towards the field, and I said, ‘Hey, what do you think?’ He’s like, ‘I got this.’ And so I was like, ‘All right.'”
“I could see the look in his eyes. There was zero flinch from him,” LaFleur said. “If I would’ve felt anything, we would’ve gone for it.”
Fear not, Packers fans; this isn’t a trend for Crosby. No, he won’t tailspin into oblivion. He rebounded incredibly in 2018, and he’ll do so again for Green Bay this year. The track record speaks for itself, and there’s plenty of gas left in his tank. Green Bay is 4-1. Enjoy the victory. There was never a doubt.