Nobody in the history of the Green Bay Packers has scored more points than Mason Crosby.
The ninth-year kicker surpassed Ryan Longwell during Sunday night’s 27-17 win over the Seattle Seahawks for that distinction with his 1,057th point coming on a 21-yard field goal with less than 2 minutes remaining.
Kicking for a team with one of the NFL’s most prolific offenses certainly helps, but it wouldn’t have been possible if not for the resiliency Crosby showed during a trying 2012 season that now seems like eons ago.
Nothing went right for Crosby at the time. He made only 21 of 33 kicks that season, including a brutal stretch where he was good on only 12 of 24. His 63.6 field-goal percentage was the NFL's worst, and every week Packers coach Mike McCarthy heard about it.
“I can remember, particularly the production meetings,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. “Every week, we were playing a lot of national, a lot of big games and the crew every week couldn’t believe we weren’t making a change. It’s nice to be right once in a while. It’s hard in this room, but it’s nice to be right.”
Crosby agreed to a $2 million pay cut before the start of the 2013 season, but his restructured contract made it possible to earn every cent back through incentives. He cashed in with a career year in which he made 33 of 37 field goals (89.2 percent).
The patience of McCarthy and general manager Ted Thompson has paid off in a big way. Crosby has made 71 of 81 field goals (87.7 percent) in meaningful games over the past two-plus seasons, including a 5-of-5 performance in January’s NFC championship game.
“To me, for Coach McCarthy and Ted to stay with him like that, that shows you what they’re about,” special-teams coordinator Ron Zook said. “Obviously there comes a point in time where you can’t go too long, but they understand.
“Sometimes that makes them better in the long run, being able to kick through that.”
Crosby, who's 31 and an unrestricted free agent this offseason, appreciated how the Packers stuck by him. That his record-breaking kick sealed a 27-17 win over the two-time defending NFC champions made the moment all the more special.
“Obviously, I’ve been on so many good teams here since I’ve been with the Packers and great quarterbacks, obviously, and we find ways to score,” Crosby said Sunday. “It couldn’t have been a better night to kind of break that record, coming out here and beating the Seahawks.”
A few other things….
» It’s been one crazy month for Rajion Neal.
The first-year running back has been racking up the air miles since the Packers released him during their final cuts on Sept. 5. Surprisingly, he wasn’t signed to the Packers’ practice squad, either.
Neal spent a few days on Miami’s practice squad before being released a second time. On Tuesday, the 5-foot-11, 220-pounder received his newest opportunity when he was signed to Oakland’s practice squad.
» Meanwhile, former Packers tight end Brandon Bostick was released from Arizona’s practice squad on Tuesday. Once an athletic tight end prospect, it’s the third time Bostick has been released since botching an onside kick recovery in January’s 28-22 overtime loss to Seattle.
» In another example of the NFL being more popular than ever, Sunday night’s game against the Seahawks averaged 26.4 million viewers, making it the most-watched primetime NFL Week 2 game in 24 years.
The Packers also set a regular-season attendance record of 78,433, which bested the previous record by two people. One more reason to get out to the polls and vote, people.
The Packers’ all-time leader scorers
1,057 – Mason Crosby (2007-present)
1,054 – Ryan Longwell (1997-2005)
823 – Don Hutson (1935-45)
820 – Chris Jacke (1989-96)
760 – Paul Hornung (1957-62, 64-66)