Mason Crosby overcomes struggles, kicks game-winning FG to lift Packers past Bengals in a wild affair.
With the game on the line and the time ticking down,
their chances of winning hinge on their ability to produce in the last minutes or seconds.
Mason Crosby is one of those kickers,
but the 15-year veteran never imagined he’d have four chances in the same game!
If that sounds crazy, it only tells part of the storey of an afternoon in which Crosby felt the joy of setting a franchise record for field-goal efficiency, the agony of missing three consecutive attempts near the end of regulation and the start of overtime,
two of which could have been walk-offs, and the relief of finally hitting the game-winning 49-yarder with 1 minute, 55 seconds remaining.
Crosby went to the sideline and shrugged after the game was finished and the ball had flown through the uprights.
Crosby, who is the first kicker since Billy Cundiff in 2012 to score a game-winning field goal with 10 seconds or fewer left in regulation or overtime after missing his previous three tries, seemed relieved rather than excited.
Crosby remarked, “That was a wild finish to the game.”
“You have to give credit to our squad for the way we battled there for the fact that we kept having chances.
I was desperate to make it.”
Crosby was not alone in his difficulties, as he also missed an extra point.
With 21 seconds remaining in regulation, Bengals kicker Evan McPherson missed his only two attempts: a 57-yarder that struck the right upright and a 49-yarder that went wide left with 4:14 left in overtime.
McPherson leapt into the arms of holder Kevin Huber after thinking he had made the second,
only for the referees to decide the kick was wide.
McPherson stated, “I hit it really good and I saw it coming straight down the centre.”
“I suppose you could say I know when it’ll go in, and it was one of those times.
Perhaps a strong blast of wind grabbed it at the last moment.”
They miss not only extended an afternoon that had left players, coaches,
and fans physically and emotionally exhausted — the other was the Giants-Cardinals game in 1983 when Ali Haji-Sheikh missed one as time expired in regulation and Neil O’Donoghue missed three in overtime,
but it also extended an afternoon that had left players, coaches,
and fans physically and emotionally exhausted.
The game looked to be over at least four times: first, when Crosby missed a 36-yard field goal with 2:16 remaining in regulation, then when McPherson missed a 57-yard field goal with 26 seconds left,
and finally when Crosby missed a 51-yard field goal with three ticks left on the clock.
Crosby missed a 40-yard field goal, and McPherson missed a 49-yard field goal after De’Vondre Campbell intercepted Joe Burrow on the opening play of overtime.
The Packers’ decisive drive was put in motion as a result of this.
After Aaron Rodgers rounded Marcedes Lewis for 20 yards and Randall Cobb for 15 yards on third-and-16, they took over at their 39-yard line and swiftly pushed into Bengals territory.
Packers coach Matt LaFleur had time to go to Crosby near the kicking net before choosing whether to try the field goal or keep the offence on the field after Cincinnati defender Jessie Bates III was hurt on the play.
“Hey, what are your thoughts?” LaFleur said.
Crosby said, “I got this.”
The decision has been made.
LaFleur stated, “I could see the expression in his eyes.” “There was not a single flinch.”
Crosby has only missed four shots in a game once in his career, on Oct. 7, 2018, against the Lions, when he established a club record with his 27th straight make.
He’d been one of the league’s more consistent specialists since then,
converting on 63 of 67 tries as of Sunday. He may have been reserved after the victory,
but his teammates were anything but.
Rodgers, who went 27 of 39 for 344 yards, two touchdowns,
and one interception, remarked, “That was a fun one.”
“You’re embracing men whose first and last names you may not even know.
Putting together a squad like that is a lot of fun.”
Green Bay was missing three starting offensive linemen as well as All-Pro cornerback,
Jaire Alexander, after losing its opener against New Orleans.
The offensive line battled against the Cincinnati pass rush at times,
but it held up well enough for Rodgers to connect 11 times with Davante Adams for 206 yards and a score.
“I told at least three people outside the building,
my relatives and my wife — that I felt like today was going to be my career high,” Adams recalled. “Either I’m psychic or I know what I’m talking about,” she says.
It seemed for a while that he might be overshadowed by Cincinnati’s rookie receiver Ja’Marr Chase.
The former LSU standout recorded six catches for 159 yards and a 70-yard touchdown.
Burrow, who went 26 of 38 for 281 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions, turned to Chase in crunch time, and he delivered.
The duo is as good a reason as any to be hopeful about the Bengals’ (3-2) future.
In past years, the squad just lacked the firepower to stay up,
and there appeared to be more of a wish than an expectation to win.
However, this squad has a level of resiliency that previous teams have lacked.
“They aren’t the same old Bengals that everyone expects to lose,” Adams remarked.
“They have a great offence and defensive players that can make plays.”
The group has a certain grit to it.
They scored scores on fourth down conversions and knotted the game with a conversion throw with 3:27 remaining in regulation.
They’re still learning how to prevent errors, like a holding call late in the third quarter that cost them a first down and put them out of field-goal range.
Or the secondary’s misunderstanding, which led to numerous huge plays, including Adams’ long gainer.
Bengals coach Zac Taylor stated,
“I know precisely what type of football team we have today.” “If there are any doubts about the kind of fight we have, the type of energy we have,
or the type of love we have for each other, I know that those who were there today,
as well as those who are watching on TV, should be proud of this squad.
It’ll come down to a few last-second plays, and we’ll make them sometimes and not others.”
Alternatively, as Adams put it: “It’s difficult to be a kicker when you’re responsible for everything.
It’s difficult to bounce back after a few missteps. It’s just the final one that counts.”