CINCINNATI (WFRV) – For the best kicker in Packers history, a franchise record turned into a nightmare afternoon in the jungle of Paul Brown Stadium.
But in the end, just as he has so many times in his Green Bay career, Mason Crosby turned into the hero.
The Packers’ defense pulled out a pair of key stops in overtime, Randall Cobb made another big grab on third down, and Crosby finished the game with a 49-yard field goal for a 25-22 win over the Bengals.
The franchise record holder in consecutive field goals made, Crosby extended his own streak to 27 straight before missing his first of the season with 2:16 left in the fourth quarter, a chip shot that hooked wide left.
Quarterback Joe Burrow and the Bengals drove into Green Bay territory to set up for a 57-yard field goal with 26 seconds remaining, but Evan McPherson pushed it wide right and off the side of the upright.
With 21 seconds to go, Aaron Rodgers got the ball back and immediately hit Davante Adams (11 receptions, 206 yards, TD) on a crossing route to get into Cincinnati territory near the 30-yard line. The Packers drew flashbacks to the game-winning drive in San Francisco by hurrying up to the line for a spike with three seconds on the clock.
But with a chance to redeem himself, Crosby again hooked one left, this time a 51-yarder from the left hash.
The Bengals won the overtime coin toss and took the ball first, but on the opening play from scrimmage, De’Vondre Campbell picked off Burrow and returned it inside the red zone.
The Packers went backwards on two straight plays before calling out Crosby on third down from the right hash – but again, the veteran hooked his third straight kick wide left. Cincinnati was in a prime position to win it.
But with its back against the wall, the Packers’ defense stood strong. The Bengals drove into Green Bay territory to set up a 49-yard redemption attempt from McPherson. The kick tracked toward splitting the uprights, but turned at the final second to miss wide left.
Green Bay took over in its own territory after the fifth straight missed kick of the game. Early in the series, Rodgers hit veteran Marcedes Lewis on a tight end screen, breaking off a big play down into Cincinnati territory. Two plays later, on third-and-16, Rodgers hit Cobb over the middle on a 15-yard pass play that ended just short of the sticks.
Green Bay brought the offense out to try and draw the Bengals defense offsides, but the clock dwindled and hit the two-minute warning. On fourth-and-inches, the Packers called on Crosby again for a 49-yard try, again from the left hash.
On his final attempt of a whopping seven field goal tries, No. 2 came through for his redemption, a dead-center boot for his second game-winning field goal of the young season.
The Packers entered the game on the wrong side of the injury/inactive list, missing two starting offensive linemen due to injury. Elgton Jenkins was questionable coming in with an ankle injury and wasn’t able to go, while rookie center Josh Myers was held out with a finger injury.
All-Pro cornerback Jaire Alexander was moved to injured reserve Friday with a shoulder injury.
The Bengals, meanwhile, got positive news before the game, activating RB Joe Mixon, WR Tee Higgins and C Trey Hopkins.
Late in the first quarter, Cincinnati opened the scoring on a 10-play, 51-yard drive, taking advantage of an errant 31-yard punt by Corey Bojorquez.
Aaron Rodgers responded from an early interception to lead a 75-yard drive between the first and second quarters, capping it on a 12-yard catch-and-run touchdown to AJ Dillon. The TD pass was the 421st of Rodgers’ career, moving him into a tie for fifth with Philip Rivers on the all-time list.
He would move ahead later in the second quarter, finding Davante Adams on a five-yard rainbow inside the red zone. The score gave the Packers a 16-7 lead with just more than a minute left in the half.
Needing a big play to get back in the game, Joe Burrow executed a scramble drill to perfection, connecting on a 70-yard strike to Ja’Marr Chase (6 receptions, 159 yards, TD) that landed just past the outstretched hand of safety Darnell Savage. The score cut the lead to 16-14 at halftime.
On the opening drive of the third quarter, Cincinnati drove into Green Bay territory before Adrian Amos intercepted Burrow for the first time, giving the Packers the ball in their own territory. Green Bay would convert the turnover into points on a 44-yard field goal, extending the lead to 19-14.
At the start of the fourth quarter, Rodgers hit Adams on a 59-yard strike inside the Cincinnati 10-yard line. Adams racked up a career-high 206 yards Sunday, his first NFL game with more than 200 yards receiving.
Even so, the Packers couldn’t punch it in and settled for a short field goal and a 22-14 lead.
That’s when Cincinnati embarked on a 13-play, 75-yard drive that chewed 7:53 off the game clock. The Bengals punched it in on a short touchdown run by Joe Mixon and tacked on the game-tying two-point conversion on crossing route to Tee Higgins.
Green Bay got the ball back with 3:27 on the clock, and on the first play from scrimmage, Aaron Jones hesitated and busted through the left side with a 59-yard run deep into Cincinnati territory.
Even so, the Packers couldn’t capitalize, going three-and-out and missing a 36-yard field goal, his first errant try since the NFC Championship Game in San Francisco – 21 months ago.
But for all the agony of three straight missed kicks, Crosby proved to be the hero once again, sending the Packers home with a hard-fought victory.
Rodgers finished 27-for-39 for 344 yards, a pair of touchdowns and an interception. Jones and AJ Dillon led the way for the Packers’ ground game behind a patchwork offensive line, grinding out 133 yards on a whopping six yards per carry. Dillon added 49 yards and a score through the air on four catches.
The defense won the day for the Green & Gold, getting key stops in the first half as well as overtime. De’Vondre Campbell led the way with the OT pick of Joe Burrow and a team-high eight tackles. Green Bay sacked Burrow three times.
The Packers improved to 4-1 with their fourth straight win and will head to Chicago next week. The Bengals fall to 3-2 on the year.