AP Story: Crosby's Late FG Lifts Pack Over Eagles, 16-13

Rookie kicker Mason Crosby’s 42-yard field goal with two seconds left gave the Green Bay Packers a 16-13 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday. The Packers benefited from a second major mistake by the Eagles’ special teams, as J.R. Reed bobbled a punt with 59 seconds remaining and Green Bay’s Jarrett Bush recovered to give Green Bay the ball at the Philadelphia 31. - More | Packers-Eagles Game Center


All those young teammates sometimes make Brett Favre scratch his head, but at least one of them proved he can come through when it counts.

Rookie Mason Crosby hit a 42-yard field goal with two seconds left to give the Green Bay Packers a 16-13 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday.

Crosby's kick was the highlight of a win that featured strong special teams and defense by the Packers.

Despite tying John Elway's record for career victories by a starting quarterback with 148, Favre and his young supporting cast struggled to score.

"He'd better make 'em all, now," said Favre, referring to Crosby and the Packers' lack of offense.

It was quite an NFL introduction for Crosby, a rookie from Colorado who beat out incumbent Dave Rayner in training camp.

"I kind of got thrown into the fire in the first test," Crosby said. "But that's kind of how I like it. It's exciting."

The Eagles' special teams were exciting, too, but not in a good way.

J.R. Reed bobbled a punt with 59 seconds remaining and Green Bay's Jarrett Bush recovered to give Green Bay the ball at the Philadelphia 31. Reed stepped up to try to field the punt in heavy traffic.

"I couldn't believe he went for it," Bush said.

Reed had replaced returner Greg Lewis, whose muffed punt led to a Packers touchdown in the first quarter.

Neither Lewis nor Reed had ever returned punts in a regular-season game before Sunday. The Eagles cut Jeremy Bloom, the two-time Olympic skier who was trying to make it in the NFL after playing college football at Colorado.

"Obviously, we can't play like that and expect to win football games," Eagles coach Andy Reid said. "I don't want to take anything away from Green Bay because they did a heck of a job staying with it and winning the football game. You can't have the turnovers that we did on special teams and the dropped passes that we had on offense, the penalties we had on offense and the missed tackles we had on defense and the penalties we had on defense."

Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb said the returners needed the team's support.

"This isn't a time to get down on them or get down on anyone," McNabb said. "We all learn from our mistakes and move on."

It was a so-so return to action for McNabb, who tore a knee ligament last November and finished the regular season on the sidelines for the second straight year. McNabb was 15-of-33 for 184 yards with a touchdown and an interception, but did feel like he got back in rhythm with the offense at times during the game.

"It really doesn't matter, I mean, we lost the game," McNabb said. "I had full command of everything that was going on out there, just like I thought I would. I mean, again, you try to practice hard to try and prepare you for the game, but when you get in game situation, you have to take care of the little things and I think we didn't do that today."

Running back Brian Westbrook had 85 yards rushing and 46 yards receiving.

While Favre was happy the Packers won, he figures there won't be many more victories in the near future if the offense can't get in gear, and soon.

{sportsad300}"The competitive side of me is not letting me enjoy it as much as I should," said Favre, who was 23-of-42 for 206 yards.

Halfback Brandon Jackson, a second-round pick out of Nebraska, filled in for injured starter Vernand Morency and gained 40 yards on 15 carries.

Another rookie starter, fullback Korey Hall, was playing middle linebacker at Boise State this time last year. And rookie wide receiver James Jones also played more than expected after starter Greg Jennings was inactive with a hamstring injury.

Despite the inexperience, Favre expected more.

"I expect us to score," Favre said. "I expect to lead this team down and score every time, I really do. That's not just talking. I really believe that. To not score at all is beyond disappointing, and I take that personally, as I should."

Notes: Philadelphia had to play the second half without cornerback Lito Sheppard, who sprained his knee in the first half and was unable to return. Reid said Sheppard might be out "a little while" but would know more after an MRI. ... Packers starting cornerback Al Harris hyperextended his right elbow blocking on a punt return. "I'm through with special teams, unless coach (McCarthy) tells me, 'Al, you've got to get out there,"' Harris said. ... According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Crosby is the first rookie kicker to win a game with a field goal on opening day since Matt Bahr did it for Pittsburgh on Sept. 3, 1979 in overtime. ... While it wasn't the most majestic of Favre's fourth-quarter comebacks, it was the 37th time he had led the Packers from a fourth-quarter tie or deficit to a win.

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