There are a couple of wins in each NFL season that means more than the addition to the “w” column. They are games that help define the type of team it’ll be. They separate contenders from pretenders. The Packers’ win over the Bengals was one of those instances.
Needless to say, the Packers battled immense adversity in week 5. The hill was a little steeper playing the Cincinnati Bengals, who have been one of the early surprises of the 2021 season.
The Packers were in full control of the game as the first half was coming to an end. But a 70-yard bomb from Joe Burrow to Ja’Maar Chase somehow snuck through the outstretched arms of Darnell Savage to keep the Bengals in it.
At halftime, even Bengals Head Coach Zac Taylor said the team “needed that.”
The Packers’ defense was able to hold the Cincinnati offense to an interception and a punt on two drives in the third quarter, but the Packers couldn’t finish drives themselves, leaving just an eight-point lead entering the fourth quarter.
Then one of the more bizarre fourth quarters happened.
After a monster 13-play 7:53 drive by the Bengals to open up the quarter and tie the game, the Packers responded with another stalled drive in field goal range.
But for the first time in his last 28 attempts, Mason Crosby hooked the kick. It was a stunner, but acceptable, seeing how Crosby has been a stud for so long.
After the Bengals missed a possible game-winning kick the next drive, Crosby had a chance at redemption with three seconds left.
He hooked it. Again.
One of the most consistent kickers over the last 15 years had missed two kicks Packers fans have seen him make hundreds of times before.
Another missed field goal attempt in overtime before hitting a walk-off 49-yard kick capped one of the weirdest games in recent Packers history.
The offense struggled to finish drives. The defense struggled with explosive plays. Mason Crosby showed flashes of Oct. 7, 2018, when he missed four field goals and an extra-point en route to a loss.
But, the veteran persisted. The team persisted.
Mason Crosbybecame the first kicker since 2012 to make a game-winning field goal in the final 10 seconds of the fourth quarter/overtime after missing his previous three kicks.
It was one of those games where nothing was clicking on all cylinders, but the team still found a way to win.
Those few wins in a season signal something special might be coming.
The Packers passed its first test of the season.——————
Joshua Frey-Sam is a journalism student and aspiring sportscaster hailing from Winnipeg, Canada. A Packers fan since 2005, Josh has worked to master the financial and scouting aspect of the NFL over the past few years. Josh remains a firm believer that Dez did not, in fact, catch the ball. You can follow him on twitter at @jfreysam.