Thus far, the Packers’ decision to keep rookie Mason Crosby over Dave Rayner has proven to be the right choice. Crosby opened his pro career with a bang Sunday by making all three of his field goal attempts, including the game-winner with 2 seconds left in the game.
Crosby, selected by the Packers with one of three sixth round picks in April’s NFL draft, was in a heated competition with Rayner in training camp. Crosby made a few more kicks than Rayner in practice and was effective at booting the ball deep on kickoffs. When the Packers needed him most on Sunday in their 16-13 win over the Philadelphia Eagles, he never flinched.
Despite a high snap from Rob Davis and a great catch and hold by Jon Ryan, Crosby made a 42-yard attempt to lift the Packers to an opening day victory. He is the first Packers’ rookie kicker to win a game on a field goal since Chris Jacke in 1989 (Dec. 3, 1989, a 17-16 win at Tampa Bay).
"It's great being a part of this team,” Crosby said. “That's kind of my mindset right now, that this team is on the way up and it was a great feeling to get the win today. It was great to make the team and to be able to do this on my first time out. I just kind of got thrown into the fire on the first test and that's kind of how I like it. That's exciting."
In his first attempt as a pro, Crosby connected on a 53-yard field goal in the first quarter to give Green Bay a 10-0 lead. It marked the longest opening day field goal by a Packer since Chris Jacke hit a 53-yard field goal on Sept. 9, 1990 (vs. Los Angeles Rams, a 36-24 victory).
One of Crosby’s biggest assets is his composure. He displayed it in training camp, and again against the Eagles. Though he admitted he was nervous before the kick, he was able to settle down when it came time to do his job.
“Once I ran on to the field and talked to (holder) Jon Ryan a little bit before the snap, it just kind of calmed down. Everything slowed down and the snap and hold were perfect, and the protection was great."
Driver returns to action
Donald Driver, who has been sidelined with a sprained foot since Green Bay’s third preseason game, returned to the starting lineup in Sunday’s opener against the Eagles.
The veteran wide receiver led the Packers with six catches for 66 yards.
Driver hooked up with Brett Favre for a 22-yard reception midway through the third quarter that sparked a drive leading to Mason Crosby’s 37-yard field goal to tie the game at 13-13.
Driver was limited in practice throughout the week. He originally sprained his foot Aug. 23 against Jacksonville.
Driver recorded a catch for the 81st straight game. With six catches, he now stands tied with Antonio Freeman (213) as Lambeau Field's all-time leader in receptions.
Al Harris is willing to help the Packers win in any way possible, so he didn’t hesitate to serve as a ‘jammer’ on the team’s punt return unit against the Eagles Sunday at Lambeau Field. As a result of playing the position, Harris hyper-extended his right elbow on second punt return of game.
Harris returned to the game with 10 minutes left in the second quarter, but he was hurting afterward. He said he has “very limited mobility” in his right arm.
“I’m just trying to help us win, that’s what it boils down to,” said Harris about playing on special teams. “We’ll probably change that now.”
Harris told coaches that if they needed him on special teams against the Eagles, he was available. “I got my man (Charles Woodson) back there catching punts. I wanted to get him some leeway, not that the other guys couldn’t, but just trying to help in any way I can.”
Harris has played the position earlier in his career, but not with the Packers. It is uncertain if he will be able to practice this week, or play next Sunday against the New York Giants.
“I was saying a lot of prayers, but I was able to finish the game,” Harris said.
-- Cullen Jenkins left the game with 7:10 left in the second quarter with leg cramps, but returned shortly thereafter.
-- Right guard Jason Spitz re-injured his right calf and was replaced by Junius Coston in the third quarter. Spitz originally sustained the leg injury during the preseason and did not play in Green Bay’s final two exhibitions.
Did not suit up
Green Bay’s No. 1 selection from this year’s NFL draft, Justin Harrell, along with running back Vernand Morency and wide receiver Greg Jennings were not on the 45-man game day roster.
Harrell is the fitth on the depth chart among defensive tackles behind Ryan Pickett, Corey Williams, Colin Cole, and Johnny Jolly. Defensive tackle Daniel Muir also did not suit up for the game.
Morency (knee), Jennings (hamstring), safety Aaron Rouse (hamstring), defensive end Mike Montgomery (knee), and offensive lineman Tony Moll (neck stinger) were not activated due to injuries.
The Eagles chose not to activate the following players: cornerback Nick Graham, linebacker Pago Togafau, guards Max Jean-Gilles and Scott Young, tackle Pat McCoy, defensive tackle LaJuan Ramsey and defensive end Victor Abiamiri.
About 10 minutes before kickoff, a security alarm sounded throughout the stadium. For about five minutes, fans repeatedly heard a recorded announcement: “Attention, attention, attention. An emergency has been reported. All occupants walk to the nearest stairway exit and walk down your assigned entrance or main lobby. Do not use the elevator. Walk to the nearest stairway.”
The Packers quickly announced that there was no emergency just before the national anthem and F-16 fighter jet flyover. The Packers said that the exhaust fans were not turned on in a concession stand on the lower concourse, causing overheating and the alarms automatically were sounded.
-- Cornerback Jarrett Bush in nickel defense with Nick Barnett and A.J. Hawk as linebackers.
-- Defensive tackle Johnny Jolly made his first career start and batted down three of Donovan McNabb’s passes - one in first half and two in the second half.
-- Cornerback Tramon Williams returned kickoffs in place of Will Blackmon, and cornerback Charles Woodson returned punts. Woodson returned two punts for 13 yards.
-- Rookie running back DeShawn Wynn, in his first play on offense, was penalized for a false start. He bounced back to gain 8 yards on the next play, but Green Bay was forced to punt.
-- In his 15th career start on opening day, Brett Favre improved his record to 10-5 in season openers.
-- Linebacker Tracy White recorded the first touchdown of his NFL career. The fifth-year pro recovered a fumble in the end zone in the first quarter.
-- Sunday's win marks the first Green Bay season-opening win in three years. The last time the Packers opened the year with a win was on September 13, 2004, at Carolina, with a 24-14 advantage.
-- The Packers won their first game of the season at Lambeau Field for the first time in five seasons. They had not won their home opener since an overtime victory over the Falcons in 2002 (Sept. 8, 2002, vs. Atlanta, W, 37-34 OT).
-- The last time the Packers won on a field goal was December 21, 2006 against Minnesota. Dave Rayner's 44-yard field goal ensured a 9-7 Green Bay win.
-- Donovan McNabb was the Eagles' opening day starter for the eighth straight season (2000-07). Among active NFL QBs, only Packers Brett Favre (15, 1993-2007) and Colts Peyton Manning (10, 1998-2007) have started more opening day games for their respective teams.