If you like peaks and valleys of emotions watching Packer football, then you might have enjoyed watching the Packers squeak out a deserved win in Cincinnati. The defense deserved this win. The offense, despite their red zone struggles, made enough big plays to earn a tough victory. The question; would Mason Crosby and the special teams units lose the game for the Packers?
The special teams gaffs were not just Crosby. A 31 yard shank punt and a couple of long kickoff returns added to the disastrous day for coach Maurice Drayton. How is he going to sleep tonight?
Crosby never wanted the disaster in Detroit in 2018 brought up as a comparison for any future game. Sunday it happened. Four missed field goal and an extra point in Detroit. Thirteen potential points missed. An unlucky number for a fluke of a game. Before Crosby’s first miss today the TV announcers were rattling off his uncanny recent accuracy. He has been bathing in the glory of breaking his own record by hitting 24 field goals in a row and being named “Special Teams Player of the Week” after his last second winning kick in San Francisco two weeks prior. In Cincinnati, the wheels came off that glory train. Three missed field goals and a missed extra point stretched the patience and the trust of Packer fans who squirmed in increasing frustration after each miss.
Luckily, the Packer defense came to play. The defense had two interceptions, the second by De’Vondre Campbell in overtime seemed to be a game winner. Until. Cosby yipped his attempt, Crosby his third of the day. The defense forced five punts and in the 4th quarter and overtime stopped Cincinnati outside the red zone leading to three missed field goals.. Only the missed assignment of Darnell Savage that allowed a last second first half touchdown, spoiled a good game for five quarters by a team missing it’s All Pro corner Jaire Alexander. Dean Lowry had a sack and batted down a pass, setting a tone early in the game. The defense only had two sacks of Joe Burrow, but the pressure was consistent and his scrambling was shut down. Burrows took a hard clean hit from Savage and was slow to get up, but stayed in the game.
Aaron Rodgers started slow, throwing consecutive incompletions on their first drive to force a punt. On their second drive Rodgers threw a pick on a pass thrown too far inside and short intended for Davante Adams. After the Bengals drove for a 7-0 lead, Rodgers went on a tear, going 20-22 at one point, leading a comeback that would bring a victory when Crosby shook off his four misses . Crosby stood on the field contemplating his future game winning kick for an NFL eternity due to an extended delay on the field while officials pondered the spot of the tackle, ultimately concluding that the great catch by Randall Cobb was short of the first down marker. I would definitely give a penny to know his thoughts during that wait.
Randall Cobb only had two catches but he caught the last catch of the day and it was a money grab. Cobb’s catch came in overtime on third and sixteen. He held on as safety Jessie Bates laid a solid hit on him. The play was even more spectacular because of the throw. Rodgers was able to get just enough on the pass, with pinpoint accuracy, even though he was hit on the hand and could not follow through.
The Bengals defense played hard, but Packer receivers repeatedly made tough catches to extend drives. Tonyan is being kept in to block more due to the injuries to the offensive line, but he made a tough catch on third and four for eight yards and a first down. The rest of the Packer third downs were the Davante Adams show. Adams caught eleven passes for 201 yards and one touchdown. Rodgers targeted him on all but four of the Packers 10 offensive snaps on third down. The 11th third down was a Crosby shank. Rodgers completed six passes on third down. Four were completed to Adams on six targets. Overall the Packers were 4-11 on third down conversions, two completions falling short and including Crosby’s third miss. Adams’ longest, a 59 yarder, seemed to break the game open. The Packers and Crosby made a field goal on the drive extending the Packers lead to eight. But the Bengals went on a 4th quarter, thirteen play 75 yard drive and then completed the two point conversion to tie the score with 3:27 left to play. The rest of regulation needs to be excised from the memory of Crosby. Rodgers really won this game at least twice, giving the Packers multiple opportunities to kick a winner. Aaron Jones’ breakout 59 yard jump cutting, tackle breaking burst deep into Bengals’ territory seemed to seal the game. Exit, wide left. Then Campbell’s interception of Burrows in OT for a moment seemed to have a chance at a pick six. He was tackled at Cincinnati’s 17. LeFleur seemed to go too conservative, and two run plays resulted in a loss of five yards and Crosby’s 51 yarder. Juuust Outside. The Packer defense stopped the Bengals on their next possession after one first down. The Bengals failed to convert a third and two when Barnes made a good stop forcing the Bengals to attempt a 49 yarder and their rookie kicker missed it.
That miss allowed the Packers to take over at their own 49 where Mercedes Lewis grabbed a short pass and rumbled past defenders for 20 yards. Cobb’s catch and Crosby’s kick allowed Green Bay to walk out of Paul Brown stadium victorious. Aaron Rodgers erased his losing record against the Bengals, improving his overall record to 2-2 against Cincinnati. The Packers are now 4-1 and have some breathing room in the North division. Next up, Da Bears in Chicago.
Updated with new author edit