GREEN BAY, Wisconsin — It took Mason Crosby 13 seasons to perform his first Lambeau Leap.
— FOX Sports Wisconsin (@fswisconsin) October 15, 2019
The 35-year-old kicker nailed a 23-yard field goal as time expired and jumped into the crowd with a boost from long snapper Hunter Bradley after he finished off a rally for the Green Bay Packers, who benefited from some questionable officiating to edge the Detroit Lions 23-22 on Monday night.
“That was fun, yeah,” Crosby said of leaping into the crowd. “That feeling, once you get up in the stands, the energy in there and teammates and everyone’s around, that’s something I’ll always remember. That was great.”
Aaron Rodgers, in his second straight game without top target Davante Adams, completed 24 of 39 passes for 283 yards and two touchdowns, including a beautiful 35-yard throw to Allen Lazard for the second-year pro’s first career score.
“I actually sit next to him in the team meetings,” Rodgers said of Lazard, who was cut by the Packers in August and then signed to the practice squad to start the season. “We’ve struck up a pretty good friendship.
“The thing that got me was, which you love as a quarterback, and that’s when your receiver’s coming back and telling you he wants the ball and what route he wants to run. … That was him coming back in the huddle, telling me what play he wanted, and for a young guy to do that, how can you not have confidence in that?”
Rodgers linked up with Jamaal Williams for the other TD. Williams finished with 104 yards on 14 carries and four catches for 32 yards for Green Bay (5-1), which captured its first win in five tries against its NFC North rival.
The Packers are off to their first 3-0 start in the NFC North since 2012.
But the win didn’t come without some controversy. There were two fourth-quarter penalties for illegal hands to the face against Detroit’s Trey Flowers, both of them on third down. The first set up Lazard’s touchdown, and the second allowed Green Bay to run the clock down to 2 seconds before Crosby’s game-winner. In both cases, replays showed Flowers’ hands on the neck or shoulder — not the face — of a Packers lineman.
oh my god the refs bailed out Green Bay with a nonexistent hands-to-the-face penalty on third-and-long FOR THE SECOND TIME THIS QUARTER
(both on Trey Flowers, good lord) pic.twitter.com/Hg3k0OxS3L
— Christian D'Andrea (@TrainIsland) October 15, 2019
— John Breech (@johnbreech) October 15, 2019
“I actually changed the position of my hand, because it was to the chest initially,” Flowers said. “I was doing it all game. I didn’t know that was a flag to the chest, so I changed it. And he called it again.
“I didn’t think hands to the chest was a penalty. I thought hands to the face, but I had him right here in the chest. The second time I changed it. … That’s part of a move that I do. So, nah, I don’t think that was a penalty.”
Referee Clete Blakeman said each of the calls was made by umpire Jeff Rice, and he discussed the last one with him.
“Basically, it’s for illegal use of the hands, hands-to-the-face foul,” Blakeman told a pool reporter. “To be a foul, we basically need some forceful contact that’s prolonged to the head and neck area of the defender.
“So, in his mind he had pinned him back, it was prolonged, and that’s what created the foul.”
Officials making sure of it https://t.co/DN82EBLbKi
— Vic Tafur (@VicTafur) October 15, 2019
That complete whiff by the officials took it from punt/Lions ball to long Rodgers touchdown in the blink of an eye.
NFL refs have never impacted the outcomes of games more negatively than they do now.
— Will Brinson (@WillBrinson) October 15, 2019
Aaron Rodgers asked if he thinks Packers caught breaks with officiating. He smirks.
“I think it equals out pretty good over the years.”
— Matt Schneidman (@mattschneidman) October 15, 2019
Nobody gets bailed out more by refs than Aaron Rodgers
— DVE (@DetvrsEverybody) October 15, 2019
The refs called Trey Flowers for hands to the face twice. Neither were correct.
One gave the Packers a touchdown and the other gave them the game. pic.twitter.com/eGq01y32ra
— BroBible (@BroBible) October 15, 2019