Mason Crosby missed field goals: How Packers’ inconsistent kicking has been a problem in 2021

Mason Crosby has been mostly consistent during his 15-year career with the Packers, but at times, he has endured extended slumps.

The 2021 season qualifies as one to date.

After a terrific 2020 season, Crosby has struggled to find a rhythm this year. He performed well to begin the season, but since Week 5, things have been rocky for the kicker. His inconsistency hasn’t cost the Packers too much yet, but as the postseason draws nearer, they are certainly hopeful that he will be a bit more dependable than he has been lately. 

That all will begin against the Bears on “Sunday Night Football” in Week 14. The weather could be cold, but Crosby’s leg will have to heat up in a post-bye-week game against Green Bay’s long-time rival.

Here’s a look back at Crosby’s season so far and how it compares to some of his career lowlights. Also included is a look at how he has regressed since last year, which was arguably the best season of his career.

Mason Crosby missed field goals, stats 2021

Crosby has had one of his worst campaigns to date with the Packers. Crosby has been plagued by misfires on field goals and extra points alike. He started the season well, making his first nine field-goal attempts of the season, but since then, things have gone a bit haywire.

It all began in Week 5 against the Bengals. Crosby made his first three field-goal attempts of the day and was given an opportunity to hit a go-ahead field goal late against the Bengals.

He missed it. And then another one. And then another one.

Finally, he was given a fourth opportunity to win the game, as Bengals kicker Evan McPherson couldn’t make his game-winning attempts either. Crosby converted from 49 yards out to give the Packers a victory.

Ultimately, Crosby went 4 of 7 on field-goal attempts in that 25-22 Packers win. While the Packers earned the victory, the three-miss game dropped Crosby into a slump. He has gone just 9 of 18 on field goals since the fourth quarter of that game. He has also missed a field goal attempt in each of his last four games.

Here’s a look at Crosby’s overall numbers from this season.

Crosby’s field goal percentage of 66.7 is the second-worst mark of his career. Perhaps he’ll have gotten right during the bye week, but if not, his inability to consistently hit field goals could become a problem for the team, as it has been on occasion during his 15-year Packers career.

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2021 Mason Crosby vs. 2012 Mason Crosby

In some ways, Crosby’s 2021 season is reminiscent of the worst season of his career, which came in 2012. During that campaign, Crosby made just 21 of 33 field-goal attempts for a career-worst 63.6 field goal percentage.

Despite his struggles during that season, then-coach Mike McCarthy remained steadfastly committed to Crosby.

“We will continue with Mason,” McCarthy said at his post-game news conference after Crosby missed two field goals in a 24-20 Packers win over the Lions in Week 11. “We will not blink as far as our commitment to him.”

That proved true. The Packers didn’t consider cutting him despite his struggles and chatter from fans and media pundits about replacing him. The final numbers for the season weren’t pretty, but as McCarthy expected, Crosby did regain his form and has continued to be a long-term kicking option for the Packers.

It certainly is interesting just how similar Crosby’s 2012 numbers are to the ones he has posted this season. He had a stretch during which he went 7 of 15 on field goals and posted a stretch of nine straight games with a missed field goal (excluding games in which he did not attempt a field goal).

If Crosby continues to struggle in 2021, it’s possible that this campaign could surpass 2012 as the worst of his career.

Mason Crosby’s five missed kicks vs. Lions

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That said, Crosby will have a tough time topping the worst single-game kicking performance of his career at any point. As bad as Crosby’s three missed field goals were against the Bengals in Week 4 of this season, it pales in comparison to his performance against the Lions in 2018.

Crosby missed a whopping five kicks in a Week 5 loss to Detroit in 2018. He went just 1 of 5 on field goals and missed the lone extra point he was asked to attempt in the Packers’ 31-23 loss.

Crosby’s missed kicks caused a 13-point swing in the game, and he was at a loss during his postgame news conference.

“I’ve done this a long time and I’ve never had a game like that,” Crosby told reporters after the game. “This is uncharted territory. … That type of game has never happened to me. I’m going to evaluate it and chalk it up to an anomaly in life.”

“It’s a frustrating one because like I said pregame was good, I felt solid,” he continued. “Actually, honestly every attempt I felt like I was in a rhythm going through it. It’s one of those days it just wasn’t there. I’ve done this a long time and I’ve never had a day where it wasn’t there like that. We’ll look at it, we’ll get every facet of it and [move on].”

Crosby proceeded to make 19 of his next 21 field goals and didn’t miss any of his 26 extra-point attempts during the rest of the season. In fact, save for the Detroit game, he made 29 of 32 field goals (90.6 percent success rate) and 34 of 35 extra points (97.1 percent).

So, as Crosby said, it was just an anomaly.

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2021 Mason Crosby vs. 2020 Mason Crosby

You know what else may have been an anomaly? Crosby’s 2020 season. He didn’t have to kick frequently because the Packers’ offense hummed along under Aaron Rodgers during his MVP campaign, but when he did kick, Crosby was nearly spotless.

Crosby attempted 16 field goals and made all of them. He became just the 10th qualified player in NFL history to hit every one of his field goals. It was a smaller-than-average sample size from Crosby, but it was still impressive; it happened to be overshadowed by Seahawks kicker Jason Myers doing the same thing while making 24 attempts, including a 61 yarder.

That said, Crosby was 36 at the time of his record-tying season. Gary Anderson, 39, was the only kicker older than him to accomplish that feat as well.

Crosby wasn’t as good on extra points for the Packers. He made 59 of 63 kicks for a career-low 93.7 percent mark on extra points. Still, his total attempts and makes led the league that year and he frequently produced points for the stalwart Packers offense.

Overall, Crosby’s numbers from last season present a stark contrast with this season.

Crosby’s regression as a kicker has helped cost the Packers on two occasions this season — against the Chiefs and in their first game against the Vikings — and it nearly cost them against the Bengals. If they want to go on a Super Bowl run, they’ll need Crosby to regain his 2020 form.

Otherwise, it will be too much of a coin-flip when he attempts a kick from anywhere on the field.

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