MINNEAPOLIS – Mike McCarthy didn’t appear to think twice, and Mason Crosby likes it that way.
After Aaron Rodgers was sacked late in the third quarter on Sunday, the Packers were back at the Minnesota 40-yard line, seemingly out of field-goal range, but McCarthy trusted his fourth-year kicker and immediately sent him out to try a franchise-record 58-yard field goal.
Crosby nailed it with plenty to spare.
“I like when it’s a long field goal and we don’t hesitate and we just call it up and I’m able to go out and go through my normal process,” said Crosby, whose long boot put the Packers ahead 33-17 heading into the fourth quarter of their eventual 33-27 win over the Vikings.
“We went out, got set, and I drilled it home. It was fun.”
As was the case earlier this season in Atlanta’s Georgia Dome, the 40-yard line was the make-or-break scrimmage mark on Sunday in the Metrodome for a long Crosby try. Crosby said he made one from 63 yards in pregame, so if it had been at the end of a half or end of the game where the ensuing field position surrendered on a miss is not an issue, he might have been able to try one even longer.
He’ll take a franchise record any day, though. He broke his own mark of 56 yards, originally set in Week 1 last season in Philadelphia, and then tied in Atlanta this year.
“How the operation is, it’s just so awesome right now,” Crosby said of the chemistry with long-snapper Brett Goode, holder Tim Masthay and the protection unit. “I just do my thing, take my steps, line it up and hit it and just trust it. It’s nice to be able to celebrate a 58-yarder as soon as it comes off my foot.”
Staying optimistic: Like last week, injured safety Nick Collins was on the sidelines with his teammates on Sunday, watching the game and coaching up his fellow defensive backs at times.
Collins recently had neck fusion surgery after injuring his neck in Week 2 at Carolina, and it could be several months before doctors know whether he’ll be able to resume his football career. For now he’s remaining optimistic, but he admits it’s difficult to simply wait.
“Hopefully, things work out and I’ll be back ready for next season,” said Collins in the locker room following the game. “At the same time, if the doctors tell me I can’t play, that’s what it is. Right now we’re very upbeat and we feel like we’ve got a great chance of coming back.
“It’s hard but, at the same time, I’m enjoying every moment I have with my teammates. Once I’m finished, I want to become a coach, so I’m starting in the right direction helping these guys get ready for games.”
Making amends: Rookie Randall Cobb had a rough first half, muffing a punt at midfield and then dropping a third-down pass in the red zone on a crossing route that forced the Packers to settle for a field goal.
Cobb did his best to make up for it, though, taking Minnesota’s first punt of the second half around the left side and up the sideline for 42 yards, putting the Packers in Vikings territory and in great position to extend their 20-17 lead.
It was a career-long punt-return for Cobb, who already has a kickoff return for a score in his rookie season.
“When the opportunity presents itself, you want to make the most of it, but you want to be smart about it, too,” Cobb said of trying to atone for his errors. “It was tough on me, because I hold myself to a high standard. Whenever I make mistakes, I don’t get down, I get mad. I get fired up, and I think that fuels me to make something happen the next time I’m on the field.”
Hit where it hurts: Guard T.J. Lang was blatantly kicked in the groin by Minnesota defensive lineman Brian Robison following a second-quarter field goal by Crosby.
Robison was lying on his back after Crosby’s kick and apparently took exception to Lang standing over top of him for a moment.
“That was a pretty cowardly move on his part,” Lang said. “I don’t think I did anything to get that reaction. It was hard for me to keep my cool but I’m glad I didn’t respond with a punch or anything and get thrown out of the game.”
Lang stayed in the game and continued to play. He said his game-day adrenaline held off the pain for about five minutes before it set in, but he said he was OK. Players have been fined for throwing punches in games, and Lang felt this rises to the same level.
“I don’t think there’s any room in the game for that kind of move,” he said. “From what it sounds like, the TV cameras caught it pretty well. It will be interesting to see if he gets disciplined in any way.” Additional coverage - Oct. 23