Green Bay Packers get wild 25-22 win over Cincinnati Bengals in OT on Mason Crosby's 49-yard field goal
CINCINNATI - Battered worse than at any point in coach Matt LaFleur’s tenure, the Green Bay Packers overcame extensive injuries to post maybe their most impressive win of the season, a 25-22 overtime victory Sunday on the road against the upstart Cincinnati Bengals.
The Packers missed three consecutive field goals, each wide left. The final two would have given them a win. Mason Crosby finally ended the drought with a 49-yard field goal with 1:55 left in overtime.
The Packers’ fourth straight win came with four of their seven best players unavailable. Cornerback Jaire Alexander joined edge rusher Za’Darius Smith on injured reserve this week. Left tackle David Bakhtiari remains on the physically unable to perform list, and left guard Elgton Jenkins missed his third straight game, the equivalent to a short-term IR stint.
With rookie center Josh Myers out, the Packers were without three starting linemen. Lucas Patrick filled Myers’ spot at center and had only one wayward snap, which ended up taking a fortuitous turn to running back Aaron Jones in Sunday’s third quarter.
The Packers were also without deep threat Marquez Valdes-Scantling, who remains on injured reserve, though Davante Adams filled that role — and everything else — for the Packers.
No matter, the Packers (4-1) recovered from an early 7-0 hole and controlled most of the game, taking a 22-14 lead in the fourth quarter.
Bengals kicker Evan McPherson doinked a 57-yard field goal high off the right upright inside the game’s final minute. The Packers responded with a 20-yard connection between Aaron Rodgers and Adams, but Crosby’s 51-yard field goal on the final play of regulation was wide left.
Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow threw an interception on the first play of overtime to Packers inside linebacker De’Vondre Campbell to set up an apparent game-winner. But Crosby missed another kick, this one from 40 yards, wide left three plays later.
It was LaFleur’s 30th career victory against only seven defeats, an .810 winning percentage that’s the best in NFL history among coaches with 30 career wins.
Here are some quick observations from Sunday’s game:
Rodgers, Adams dominated Bengals secondary
Through three possessions, Rodgers had a statistical anomaly. He had completed only two of his first seven passes for 20 yards. One was an interception intended for Adams, who did not catch either of his first two targets. At that point, Rodgers’ passer rating was exactly zero. It would not stay there. Rodgers and Adams ended up having a field day against an overwhelmed Bengals secondary. Adams finished with 11 catches for 206 yards and a touchdown. Rodgers, finding that groove with his favorite receiver, finished 27 of 39 for 344 yards, two touchdowns, an interception and 103 rating.
Savage whiffing deep
Darnell Savage is a talented safety, blessed with an impressive blend of speed, instincts and physicality. You saw it in Sunday’s first half, when Savage closed on a scrambling Burrow to drop him a couple of yards short of the marker on third down. You saw it later in the half when Savage closed on Bengals receiver Ja’Marr Chase, positioning himself for a splendid pass breakup. But there is a flaw in his game, something the ascending safety must fix, and Savage also put that on display Sunday.
Instead of ending the play with a pass breakup, Savage whiffed. Burrow’s pass snuck through to Chase, who raced down the right sideline for a stunning 70-yard touchdown that let the Bengals back in the game before halftime. The knock on Savage early in his career is he struggles tracking the deep ball. Savage showed it at Chicago last season, when he allowed a 53-yard catch to Darnell Mooney. He showed it in the NFC championship game, when he allowed a 52-yard reception to Chris Godwin on third-and-9. And he showed it on a 70-yard touchdown Sunday. A deep safety must track the deep ball, and Savage needs work in that area.
More one-two punch from backfield
AJ Dillon entered Sunday with seven catches for 60 yards in 15 career games. On Sunday, he had four catches for 49 yards including his first career touchdown reception on a 12-yarder. The Packers used their one-two punch at running back effectively for a second straight week, even behind the makeshift offensive line. They rushed for 133 yards on 22 carries, with Aaron Jones leading the way with 103 yards on 14 carries, his first 100-yard game of the season. Dillon added 30 yards on eight carries.
Field-goal unit still has work to do
Crosby’s franchise-record streak of successful field goals ended. Even before then, the Packers' kicking unit had issues. Crosby missed an extra point after the Packers’ opening touchdown, his fifth missed extra point since the start of last season. In that time, Crosby made each of his 25 field goal attempts. His streak of made field goals stood at 27, the longest in franchise history, after three more Sunday. Then Crosby missed wide left from 36 yards on a kick that would have snapped a 22-22 tie before the two-minute warning.
LaFleur has said he wants to fix the field-goal unit, knowing it could catch up to his team. The Packers had a blocked field goal called back because of a seemingly erroneous offside penalty against the Pittsburgh Steelers last week, and their game-winning kick in San Francisco two weeks ago was nearly blocked. But given one more chance, Crosby converted the game-winner.