The Packers finished the season with a spotless divisional record against all three of the NFC North rivals, but only their 2-0 ledger against the Lions came without them leading for a single second of regulation. During their first matchup in Week 6, the Packers also needed a comeback effort and a field goal from Crosby as time expired to knock off the Lions.
According to ELIAS Sports Bureau statistics, the Packers are only the second team in NFL history to finish 2-0 against an opponent despite not having a lead at any point during regulation with the only other team pulling off the feat being the San Francisco 49ers over the New Orleans Saints in 1977.
“We’ve just got to find a way, and that’s what our calling card has been all year long,” Packers first-year head coach Matt LaFleur said in Sunday’s postgame. “I know it doesn’t always look pretty, but our guys are resilient and we find a way. And I can’t explain it, but I’m just thankful for every guy in that locker room.”
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Crosby is the Clutch Man Once Again
The Packers are especially thankful for Crosby, who finished the season making 22 of 24 field goals and tied a franchise record for single-season field goal percentage. The veteran kicker has also dealt with personal tragedy within his family with his wife being diagnosed last summer with a rare form of lung cancer and his sister-in-law losing her own fight with the disease at the end of November.
You would never guess it, though, judging by the way the ball has come off his foot in the most important of moments of the year. Crosby delivered his first game-winner against the Lions with his wife, Molly, back in attendance for the first time since her cancer diagnosis. That came, of course, after he had to compete for his kicking job with youngster Sam Ficken in the team’s preseason finale, just one day before Molly’s surgery on Aug. 31.
Aaron Rodgers didn’t even entertain the possibility of Crosby missing Sunday’s game-winning attempt after the Packers quarterback had tagged Aaron Jones for a pivotal screen pass that put them well within his kicking range. He said kicks like those are “automatic” to him when it comes to Crosby.
“That’s the kind of season that he’s had,” Rodgers told reporters in Sunday’s postgame, laughing as he remembered his interaction with Crosby during and after his 33-yard field goal. “The best was was I was trying to yell something to him and he was waving me off. And he was like, ‘Was that you trying to yell to me?’ And I said, ‘Yeah.’ And he said, ‘Don’t do that.'”
Rodgers had also singled out his kicker when the Pro Bowl rosters were unveiled a few weeks ago, saying he thought he deserves to get recognition for his impressive season. Along with outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith, Crosby was selected as a first alternate for the NFC roster.
If he keeps kicking clutch field goals, though, he will have different plans during the Pro Bowl.