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Crosby rebounds, but still "needs to make the long kick"

Dec. 4, 2012
 

The first kick banked in off the left upright from only 30 yards away. The second one from 53? Not even close.

When it looked liked things couldn't get any worse for Mason Crosby on Sunday, he shanked the second-half opening kickoff out of bounds. The Green Bay Packers were trailing and the Lambeau Field crowd had grown restless.

Then, something changed. The Packers sixth-year kicker responded with back-to-back field goals, making a pair of kicks from 47 and 31 yards with relative ease to finish the day 3-of-4 in the team’s 23-14 win over the Minnesota Vikings.

The 53-yard attempt Crosby missed wide right before halftime was undoubtedly a letdown with the Packers falling behind the Vikings 14-10 at halftime, but his two second-half field goals helped the Packers regain some of that momentum.

Facing another forgettable day, Crosby rallied, begging the question if this could finally be his turning point?

“I thought the three field goals that he made were very important,” Packers special teams coach Shawn Slocum said. “I thought the missed 53 yarder we need to make and I think he kicked off well except went after one of them too hard and pulled it out of bounds.”

Crosby is still only 15-of-24 this season for a league-low 62.5 percent, including only 1-of-7 beyond 50 yards this season. He's missed a field goal in each of the last seven games he’s attempted one, but remains 14-of-17 with kicks inside of 50 yards (82.4 percent).

Packers coach Mike McCarthy has stood steadfastly by Crosby through his struggles over the past two months and the team has yet to work out another kicker.

Regardless, Crosby needs to make the 50-plus yarders. It's not debatable.

“Frankly, I’m not worried about Mason,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. “He needs to make kicks. He needs to make the long kick. I expect him to make that kick before the half, but we’re just going to keep swinging because we’re going to need Mason to make big kicks down the stretch here. We’re in the fourth quarter of our season. He’ll be a big part of our success.”

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