Before Sunday’s contest against the Detroit Lions, much of the concern for the Green Bay Packers was on their inexperienced receiving corps. During the game, those receivers gave the Packers passing game solid contributions. So how did the Packers fall 31-23 to the Lions? A pair of the longest tenured Packers made their share of costly mistakes.
Looking at the box score, one would think Aaron Rodgers had a near perfect game. Rodgers finished 32 of 52 for 442 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. But those numbers don’t tell the entire story for Rodgers. Still playing with that brace on his left knee, Rodgers was able to escape pressure more so than in previous weeks. However, Rodgers fumbled the ball twice, both coming inside of the Packers’ own 30 yard line, leading to 10 Lions points. Rodgers uncharacteristically was wild on some usually easy throws. While he did put up impressive numbers, Rodgers did not play anywhere near his highest level.
As Rodgers was a touch off, what happened to kicker Mason Crosby was the worst performance of his great Packers career. Heading into Sunday, Crosby had only missed one field goal on the year, a 52 yarder against the Minnesota Vikings. Sunday saw Crosby miss not one, not two, not three, but four field goals plus an extra point. Crosby did make a 41 yard field goal with two seconds left, but the damage from his previous attempts was already done.
In 2012, Crosby had his issues kicking as well. The misses got bad enough that kicking competition was brought in to challenge Crosby. Crosby fixed his issues, eventually becoming the Packers all-time leading scorer. Perhaps the most telling sign on if the Packers have their kicker’s back was Rodgers putting his arm around Crosby after his fourth miss, and being the first one to hug him after his only make.
Considering all of the miscues the Packers suffered, they still managed to only lose by eight points. They outgained the Lions by over 250 total yards, and held Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford to only 183 yards. Sunday just happened to be a day where Rodgers and Crosby were off. Sometimes, that’s how football works. Next up, the Packers head home to face a struggling San Francisco 49ers squad next Monday night before their bye week.