Few would have blamed Matt LaFleur if he decided to have the Packers go for it on fourth-and-1 from the Bengals’ 32-yard line in overtime. After all, Mason Crosby had missed three consecutive field goals, including two potential game-winners.
At that point, a 49-yard attempt was no sure thing. The Packers were well-positioned to go for it, and LaFleur admitted that he considered nixing field goal attempts the rest of the way after Crosby’s struggles.
“That definitely crossed my mind,” LaFleur told reporters after the game.
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Instead, LaFleur ultimately decided to trust Crosby one more time. What went into the decision to kick the field goal? It all came after a brief conversation that LaFleur had with Crosby on the sideline.
“I walked over, [and] he was at the kicking net,” LaFleur said. “He was coming back towards the field, and I said, ‘Hey, what do you think?’ He’s like, ‘I got this.’ And so I was like, ‘All right.'”
LaFleur knew that he could trust his kicker because of the confidence he exuded before the play.
“I could see the look in his eyes. There was zero flinch from him,” LaFleur said. “If I would’ve felt anything, we would’ve gone for it.”
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The 37-year-old veteran rewarded his coach’s faith by nailing the field goal to seal a 25-22 Packers win.
Crosby, for one, was happy that his coach gave him a chance and relieved that he converted it.
“I just wanted so badly to come through there,” Crosby said to reporters. “It’s what I do. I had a couple go bad there and I was really happy to hit that last one.”
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And LaFleur shared in his kicker’s joy.
“I couldn’t be happier for him,” LaFleur said. “I told the team afterwards [that] the only kick I’ll remember is that last kick.”