Green Bay Packers kicker Mason Crosby (2) reacts after missing his attempt for a game-winning field in the last seconds of regulation Sunday against the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field in Landover, Md. / Corey Wilson/Press-Gazette
LANDOVER, Md. — Mason Crosby hit it well, but his 53-yard field-goal attempt that could have beaten the Washington Redskins with 1 second left clanked off the left upright on Sunday.
That makes Crosby 1-for-4 on game-winning field-goal attempts in the final seconds of NFL games.
“It’s going to eat at me all evening,” Crosby said after the game. “I just have to get rid of it tomorrow and go on with work, because it is early in the season, we just have to take from it the things we can improve on, the things we did, and make sure we eliminate mistakes, myself included. I have to come through there when we have that opportunity to win it.”
Crosby missed a 48-yarder wide right at the same end of the field earlier in the game. He had far more distance on the 53-yarder than he needed — it hit at least halfway up the left upright — but this time had a little too much hook on the ball. The flags at the top of the stadium and atop the goal posts showed minimal to no wind.
“I hit it as good as I could, I thought I played it enough right center and it just turned on me,” Crosby said. “It was going, I think we all thought it was in, but it turned and hit that upright. Sometimes a little unlucky on that, because if it turned a little later it might have bounced in. But I don’t like to play that game, I didn’t hit it where I needed to to put it through.”
Crosby’s other last-second chances for game-winners came in 2007, when in his first NFL game he made a 42-yarder with 2 seconds left that beat Philadelphia 16-13; and in 2008, when he had a 38-yarder blocked in the final seconds of an eventual overtime loss to Chicago, and missed a 52-yarder against Minnesota in a 28-27 loss at the Metrodome.
Because of the Packers’ shaky health in the secondary, defensive coordinator Dom Capers played Pat Lee as his No. 3 cornerback Sunday instead of Jarrett Bush.
Last week against Detroit, Bush replaced usual No. 3 cornerback Sam Shields, who has missed two games because of a calf strain. But with starting safety Morgan Burnett’s season-ending knee injury last week and replacement Charlie Peprah’s uncertain status because of a quadriceps injury, Bush practiced extensively at safety last week.
That left either Lee or Brandon Underwood as the No. 3 cornerback for this week, and Capers and coach Mike McCarthy didn’t think Underwood’s injured shoulder was strong enough to hold up as a nearly every-down player, so they went with Lee. Underwood was on the 45-man game-day roster but played only on special teams.
“We felt Lee was more ready right now,” Capers said.
With Lee as the No. 3, Capers changed his nickel alignment. Usually Charles Woodson moves inside in the three-cornerback alignment to cover the receiver in the slot and line up closer to the quarterback as a potential blitz. But against Washington on Sunday, Woodson stayed outside, and Lee played in the slot.
“It will be interesting to go back and look at the tape at how they played and take a look at the adjustments we’re going to have to make,” Capers said.
Peprah’s sore quadriceps held up and he played the entire game at safety.
Kickoff return rotation
Jordy Nelson didn’t lose the kickoff return job. But he didn’t keep it, either.
After fumbling twice the week before against Detroit, Nelson was reduced to a part-time role. He split the job with Lee.
Lee got the first chance but returned the opening kickoff just seven yards. From there, Nelson and Lee alternated. They each had two returns but neither put up particularly strong numbers. Nelson averaged 17.5 yards with a long of 23 yards, and Lee averaged 16.5 yards with a long of 26.
“Going into the game we had specific things that we wanted to do with Patrick, and we started out the game that way based on everything involved,” special teams coach Shawn Slocum said. “We went to Jordy there in the middle of the game and went back to Pat.”
For Lee, these were the first kickoff returns of his three-year NFL career.
“I thought Pat on the last kickoff return caught the ball and went north and south like he’s supposed to do,” Slocum said. “His speed looked good there, and he got the ball out to the 26 yard line.”
In addition to tight end Jermichael Finley (hamstring tendon), tight end Donald Lee (shoulder), linebacker Clay Matthews (hamstring), defensive end Ryan Pickett (ankle) and quarterback Aaron Rodgers (concussion), the Packers’ special teams also may have taken a hit.
Core special teams player Derrick Martin reinjured the ankle that he had surgery on in the offseason and was on crutches after the game. The injury occurred while trying to cover a punt on the first series of overtime.
“I was trying to make that tackle, and I guess I landed on it wrong,” Martin said.
The severity of the injuries weren’t known, but Martin’s could be the worst. If he needs another surgery, he could miss significant time.
Five of the Packers’ eight inactives were injury-related. Inactive were: cornerback Sam Shields (calf), fullback Quinn Johnson (glute), linebacker Brandon Chillar (shoulder), linebacker Nick Barnett (wrist), right tackle Mark Tauscher (shoulder), guard Nick McDonald, guard/tackle Marshall Newhouse and defensive end Jarius Wynn.
Desmond Bishop started in place of Barnett, and rookie Bryan Bulaga made his first NFL start in place of Tauscher. Offensive lineman T.J. Lang was active for the first time but played only on special teams.