Game recap: 5 takeaways from Packers' crazy win over Bengals in OT

More drama than anyone bargained for in Cincinnati

Packers players react to K Mason Crosby's game-winning 49-yard field goal in Sunday's 25-22 overtime victory over the Cincinnati Bengals.

They don't get much crazier than that.

Here are five takeaways from a bonkers overtime victory for the Packers over the Bengals, 25-22.

1. Matt LaFleur admittedly wasn't sure what to do on the final fourth down.

Could anyone blame him? He had watched Mason Crosby miss a 36-yard field goal with 2:12 left in regulation, a 51-yarder at the fourth-quarter buzzer, and a 40-yarder in overtime, plus a PAT in the first half.

Adding to the bad mojo with the kickers, Cincinnati's Evan McPherson had clanked a 57-yarder off the upright with 21 seconds left in regulation, and he clipped the flag at the top of the upright from 49 midway through overtime, celebrating as though it was good when it wasn't.

So LaFleur had to think long and hard about simply not trying any more field goals on fourth-and-inches from just outside the Cincinnati 31-yard line.

"That definitely crossed my mind," LaFleur said.

Special teams coordinator Maurice Drayton was calling for the field goal, assuring quarterback Aaron Rodgers that Crosby would make it. Meanwhile, LaFleur had to hear it from the man himself.

"I went over to Mason, I could see the look in his eyes, and there was zero flinch from him," LaFleur said.

"I literally asked him. I walked over, he was in the kicking net … 'Hey, what do you think?' He's like, 'I got this.' So I was like, 'All right, you got it. Go do it.'

"If I would have felt anything, we would have gone for it (on fourth down). I did what I thought in my gut was the right thing to do."

And Crosby delivered, for his second walk-off field goal of the young season. His team-record streak of 27 made field goals, dating back to 2019, came crashing down in horrendous fashion, but he came through on his one last chance.

"It's kinda crazy that I'm standing up here with a win," Crosby said from the postgame media podium, "instead of talking about those misses as detrimental to our team."


2. Everyone on the sideline was trying to figure out what to do to create good vibes.

Receiver Davante Adams kept going back and forth whether or not to watch Crosby's kicks, and McPherson's for that matter, too. He was watching Crosby at first, because he watched the game-winner two weeks ago in San Francisco, but when things started going wrong, he thought maybe that was just a "West Coast thing," so he looked down at the ground on the last one and waited for his teammates to celebrate.

Rodgers was further down the sideline by his lonesome on the San Francisco kick, but he was in the midst of his teammates on Crosby's misses, so he headed further down toward the end of the bench on the last one.

"So maybe the good juju was down on the end," Rodgers said.

You get the idea.

"There were a lot of different things going on in my head," LaFleur said. "Do I look up at the scoreboard? Do I watch the kick live? I'm trying to think in terms of, not trying to be too superstitious, but what did I do last time, let me do the opposite?"

3. All the kicking drama took away from the really clutch plays the Packers made to give themselves so many chances to win.

With the score tied at 22 and 3:57 left in the fourth quarter, Aaron Jones busted off a 57-yard run to put the Packers in scoring range. The long one gave Jones his first 100-yard game of the season (14 carries, 103 yards).

After McPherson missed the 57-yarder, Rodgers found Adams over the middle for 20 yards and spiked the ball with 3 seconds left, almost like a rerun of the 49ers game. That catch gave Adams his first career 200-yard game (11 catches, 206 yards, TD) and the first by a Packers receiver since Jordy Nelson in 2014.

Linebacker De'Vondre Campbell intercepted Bengals QB Joe Burrow on the first snap of overtime and returned it to the Cincinnati 17-yard line.

Any of those essentially could have been a game-winning play.

The one that turned out to be came on third-and-16 with 2:33 left in OT, with Rodgers finding Randall Cobb over the middle for 15 yards, just short of the first-down marker. It was Cobb's first catch since very early in the game, and anything less might've left the Packers punting and trying to play for the tie, given the field position and the clock.

"That was the epitome of resiliency from our football team," LaFleur said. "Bottom line is we're 4-1, and you don't get style points. However we find ways to win, that's going to benefit us later in the season."

The Green Bay Packers faced the Cincinnati Bengals in a Week 5 matchup on Sunday, Oct. 10, 2021.

4. The Packers also could've avoided all the drama by putting the Bengals away when they had the opportunities.

Leading 19-14 early in the fourth quarter, the Packers stalled inside the Cincinnati 5-yard line on two stuffed runs and a tipped pass, kicking a field goal instead of making it a two-score game.

After the long run by Jones, a three-and-out from the Cincinnati 18 led to the first field goal miss. After Campbell's pick, the ground game lost 5 yards on two runs instead of getting Crosby any closer.

Again, you get the idea.

"There were multiple times I think we could've put the game away offensively and probably got a little too conservative, I would say," LaFleur said, taking the blame for the approach. "Thankfully, the game went long enough that they covered for me."

The defense also made life harder on itself, getting caught with no pass rush and allowing a 70-yard TD pass from Burrow to Ja'Marr Chase (six catches, 159 yards) in the final minute of the second quarter, undoing a really strong first half. That got the Bengals within 16-14 at halftime when the Packers had otherwise controlled the action.

"It felt like it was 10 seconds," LaFleur said of how much time Burrow ran around before making the big throw.

5. The postgame celebration in the locker room was rather loud and raucous, despite everyone's exhaustion.

The players were asked if they'd ever been a part of a crazier game, or anything close. Crosby recalled the 2016 NFC Divisional playoff at Dallas, with three made field goals (two by him) in the final two minutes. Adams mentioned the unmentionable, 2014 at Seattle. Rodgers, who moved into sole possession of fifth place on the all-time list for TD passes with two Sunday, brought up this stadium 16 years ago, when a fan ran onto the field in the final minute and stole the ball from Brett Favre when the Packers were trying to drive for the tying score.

Wherever it ranks, a lot of emotion was unleashed behind closed doors afterward.

"I told the team afterwards, the only kick I'll remember is that last kick," LaFleur said. "It wasn't pretty, I know that, I realize that … But I was super proud of just how we responded, because there were moments there it wasn't looking too good for us.

"Those guys kept believing."

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