Monday, September 17, 2018

Green Bay's High Five Not Enough

By Eric Goska

The Fan broadcasts from the Green Bay Distillery
prior to each Packers home game.

Had Mason Crosby made history, the Packers would have defeated the Vikings.

Had Daniel Carlson not come down with a rare case of errancy, Green Bay would have lost to Minnesota.

Field goal kicking took center stage at Lambeau Field Sunday afternoon. Missed kicks by both players proved costly as Green Bay and Minnesota were forced to settle for a 29-29 tie.

Kickers are unique. For the short amount of time they spend on the field, they often have an inordinate say in the outcome of a game.

Crosby and Carlson had chances to deliver in the clutch. Both missed wide of the mark.

Crosby, of course, is a veteran. Now in his 12th season with the Packers, he’s the team’s all-time leading scorer with 1,368 points.

Carlson, his counterpart on the Vikings, is a rookie with but one field goal on his professional resume. Minnesota thought highly enough of the former Auburn Tiger to draft him in the fifth round of the 2018 draft.

Crosby had the busier day. The 34-year-old attempted six field goals, connecting on his first five which measured 37, 40, 31, 48 and 36 yards.

Carlson had the rougher go of it. The 23-year-old failed to split the uprights in three attempts from 48, 49 and 35 yards away.

Crosby’s chance at history – and the Packers’ chance at victory – came with three seconds left. Cash in on a 52-yarder and the foot-wielding specialist walks off with a sixth field goal – a team record for a single game – and the Packers prevailed 32-29.

The veteran appeared to do just that. From long snapper Hunter Bradley to holder J.K. Scott to the toe of Crosby, the ball was sent sailing over the crossbar.

But a timeout by Minnesota just before that sequence began rendered the play null and void. Green Bay had to try again.

This time, Crosby sent his kick wide left. It was an unfortunate ending to what had been a sterling performance.

Crosby’s miss ushered in overtime. Green Bay got one possession in the extra period and did not come close enough to summon Crosby for a seventh time.

The extra 10 minutes did provide Carlson with two shots at victory. Both times he missed wide right, first from 49 yards and then from 35 yards as time expired.

Add in his failed second-quarter attempt and Carlson finished 0-for-3. The Vikings released the rookie the following day.

That Green Bay didn’t lose to Minnesota is somewhat remarkable. Raise your hand if you recall the last time a kicker endured an oh-fer day (minimum three attempts) against the Packers.

In the last 40 years, just three players had been snake bitten to such an extent. The most recent was Steve Christie of the Giants who failed on all three of his attempts in New York’s 14-7 win over Green Bay on Oct. 3, 2004.

The other two: Eddie Murray (0-for-4) on Sept. 30, 1990 and Neil O’Donoghue (0-for-3) on Sept. 16, 1979.

Though Crosby didn’t come through with a record sixth field goal, he became the first Packers player to kick five in three different games. He had that many in a 22-9 win over the Lions in 2013 and the same number in a 30-13 victory in Minnesota in 2015.

Chris Jacke (twice) and Ryan Longwell (once) are the only other Packers to have kicked five in a game.

Crosby also joins Paul Hornung and Chester Marcol as the only Packers to have attempted six field goals in one game. Hornung was the first in 1960. Marcol (five times) was the busiest.

Last season Crosby’s run of 10 consecutive seasons with 100 or more points came to an end as the Packers struggled to a 7-9 record. Crosby and Jason Elam (12 straight) are the only two players in NFL history to have earned 100 or more points in each of their first 10 seasons.

If Green Bay’s game against the Vikings is any indication, Crosby will again surpass 100 this season. That’s good news for the Packers who tend to do better when they keep their kicker swinging for the uprights.

Extra points
The Packers are 41-1-1 in games in which they score four or more field goals.

Mason Crosby has scored more points against the Vikings (193) than he has against the Bears (172) or the Lions (161).

High Fives
Packers who have kicked five field goals in one game.

Kicker                        Opponent        Date                      Result
Mason Crosby            Vikings             Sept. 16, 2018       tie, 29-29
Mason Crosby             Vikings             Nov. 22, 2015       won, 30-13
Mason Crosby             Lions                Oct. 6, 2013          won, 22-9
Ryan Longwell             Cardinals          Sept. 24, 2000       won, 29-3
Chris Jacke                  49ers                Oct. 14, 1996        won, 23-20
Chris Jacke                  Raiders             Nov. 11, 1990       won, 29-16

Players who attempted at least three field goals in a game against the Packers and failed on each attempt.

Kicker                         FG       Team               Date                      Result
Daniel Carlson              0-3       Vikings             Sept. 16, 2018       tie, 29-29
Steve Christie               0-3       Giants               Oct. 3, 2004          won, 14-7
Eddie Murray               0-4       Lions                Sept. 30, 1990       lost, 21-24
Neil O’Donoghue         0-3       Buccaneers       Sept. 16, 1979       won, 21-10
Chris Bahr                    0-4       Bengals            Sept. 26, 1976       won, 28-7
Pete Gogolak               0-3       Giants               Sept. 19, 1971       won, 42-40
Tommy Davis               0-4       49ers                Sept. 28, 1969       lost, 7-14
Tommy Davis               0-3       49ers                Nov. 19, 1967       lost, 0-13
Fred Cox                     0-3       Vikings             Nov. 10, 1963       lost, 7-28
George Blanda             0-3       Bears               Sept. 28, 1958       won, 34-20
George Blanda             0-3       Bears               Sept. 28, 1952       won, 24-14
Bob Waterfield             0-3       Rams                Oct. 21, 1951        won, 28-0
Bill Dudley                    0-4       Lions                Oct. 30, 1949        lost, 14-16
Nick Scollard               0-3       Bulldogs           Oct. 7, 1949          lost, 0-19
George Blanda             0-3       Bears               Sept. 25, 1949       won, 17-0
Dutch Clark                  0-3       Lions                Nov. 25, 1934       lost, 0-3

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