Lions had 10 players on field for missed FG

Dave Birkett
Detroit Free Press
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Green Bay Packers kicker Mason Crosby tries to hit a 52-yard field goal to win the game against the Detroit Lions during Sunday's game at Lambeau Field. Crosby missed the field goal. The Lions went on to defeat the Packers 18-16.

Maybe the invisible man blocked it.

The Detroit Lions beat the Green Bay Packers on the road Sunday for the first time in 24 years, but not without trying to give the game away multiple times on special teams first.

Not only did the Lions miss two extra points and fail to recover an onside kick in their 18-16 win, but replays showed they only had 10 men on the field for Green Bay's failed final field goal attempt.

“Actually, twice it happened, and both those were my fault,” Lions coach Jim Caldwell said today. “We just got to make sure we get it done. But we had it on the rush side. I didn’t want to call a timeout because the side we were rushing on we had the number of people we could have on that particular side. The back side didn’t hurt us as much. But yeah, that’s my fault.”

The Lions had just 10 players on the field when Crosby made a 44-yard field goal on the opening drive of the game, and they failed to correct the issue with the game on the line in the waning seconds.

Loss a kick in the gut for Crosby, Packers

Special teams coordinator Joe Marciano sent nearly the same personnel on the field for Crosby's second field goal, a 52-yarder that he shanked as time expired.

Haloti Ngata took an injured Gabe Wright's spot on the rush side of the line for the second kick - teams can have no more than six players at the line of scrimmage on either side of center for field goal attempts - and Josh Bynes replaced Stephen Tulloch as a deep rusher who lined up several yards behind the line of scrimmage.

The Lions were out of timeouts when Crosby lined up for his second field goal, and Caldwell said the substitution issue had nothing to do with the injuries his team suffered late in the game. Cornerbacks Josh Wilson and Nevin Lawson both left the game with injuries in the final minute.

Asked how the Lions could have that big of a gaffe at such an important time in the game, Caldwell said, "It’s my fault. I’ve got to do a better job. Next question."

Pressed on how the mistake happened, Caldwell said, "I just told you. It’s my fauilt. I’ve got to do a better job."

Crosby butchered his final field goal attempt, sending it short and low, to give the Lions their first win in Green Bay since Dec. 15, 1991. No Lions player got a hand on the kick, and Crosby did not have an explanation for why he missed so badly - or if the kick hit holder Tim Masthay's finger - after the game.

"I don't know exactly what happened," Crosby said. "I felt like my process and everything was the same and I've hit those kicks a million times and just got to move on and keep working with it."

Contact Dave Birkett at Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.

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