What's buzzing:

Shutdown Corner

Packers risk it and succeed on ‘gutsy’ fourth-and-26 fake field goal

Doug Farrar
Shutdown Corner

View photo

.

Tom Crabtree rumbles in for an unexpected touchdown. (Getty Images)

It was decision time for the Green Bay Packers. After losing their season opener to the San Francisco 49ers, and up on the Chicago Bears, 3-0, late in the first half despite dominating the stat sheet, Green Bay was looking at a possible 0-2 start to a season that was following up their 15-1 campaign in 2011.

With 1:56 left in that first half, the Packers found themselves with fourth-and-26 at the Chicago 27-yard line after two straight sacks of Aaron Rodgers blew their offense back from the 11-yard line. One incomplete pass to receiver Randall Cobb later, it was time for the Pack to head back to the drawing board.

Nothing was working in the red zone, so kicker Mason Crosby lined up for an alleged 44-yard field goal ... and then, this happened.

A video or other embedded content has been hidden. Click here to view it.

Punter/holder Tim Masthay took the ball and pitched it out to backup tight end Tom Crabtree, who sauntered in for the touchdown. It was the pivotal play in a 23-10 win that put the Packers back on the good foot.

"Frankly, fourth-and-26 was not the plan," Packers head coach Mike McCarthy said after the game. "I really called that for different reasons. It's a play fake. We've been working on that for two or three years and we were looking for a certain look from the Bears. They gave it to us and it was a great execution on our players' part. I was trying to send a message when I made the call and I was fine with the field position. Then our guys executed and I thought it really lifted our sideline up and our defense just kept going. Offensively we were able to put some points on the board. It was a big play in the game."

"I was watching up on the Jumbotron and something just looked a little off at first," Rodgers said. "I thought … somebody got bowled over right away, or it was going to get blocked, or we didn't catch it right. Then I saw Crabby running out the backside, I couldn't believe it. That's a gutsy call. You've got to score on that, 4th-and-26 from the 27."

[Also: New York Jets rule Darrelle Revis, Dustin Keller out for Steelers game]

Yes, indeed. Simple math tells you that there's not a lot of margin for error. Had Crabtree not scored, the Bears, who were struggling mightily on offense, might have found some momentum.

"We've been practicing it for awhile and watching film," Crabtree said. "When I got out there and kind of looked at their alignment I kind of knew we had them outnumbered. All it came down to was catching the pitch and just turning and running down field."

It was the first touchdown pass thrown by a punter in the 300-game history of Lambeau Field. Crabtree, who had scored one regular-season and one postseason touchdown each in his three-year career, topped it all off with the traditional Lambeau Leap. He then summed up his feelings on his Twitter account.

(@tcrabtree83)

Asked about having a perfect passer rating in his NFL career, Masthay deferred all praise. "I'll close the passing books for myself for the rest of my career on that. I had the smallest part of anybody on that whole thing. I just had to shuttle-pass it to Tom, those guys blocked and he made a great run."

Related NFL video from Yahoo! Sports

Other popular content on the Yahoo! network:
Y! Finance: Highest-calorie menu item at McDonald's? Not a burger
Get ready to bid on Michael Jordan's (expired) American Express card
Dan Wetzel: Not all is lost for Razorbacks this season — except, perhaps, their faith
Always popular, Dale Earnhardt Jr. now relevant in NASCAR title chase

View Comments (391)
  • Tour stage neutralised after huge crash

    Tour stage neutralised after huge crash

    By Julien Pretot HUY, Belgium (Reuters) - The third stage of the Tour de France was neutralised for about 10 minutes on Monday when yellow jersey holder Fabian Cancellara was involved in a massive crash that took down a couple of dozen riders. FDJ … More »

    Reuters - 4 minutes 40 seconds ago
  • Leafs blog debunks Steve Simmons hog dog tale about Phil Kessel

    Leafs blog debunks Steve Simmons hog dog tale about Phil Kessel

    If you want to see a textbook example of “oblivious,” read the passage above and then read Simmons’ all-timer on the Phil Kessel trade, which will go down as one of the most pedantic screeds ever written about a player leaving town, one where you … More »

    Puck Daddy - 5 minutes ago
  • American forward Bobby Wood joins Union Berlin

    BERLIN (AP) -- American forward Bobby Wood has joined Union Berlin from German second division rival 1860 Munich. … More »

    AP - Sports - 6 minutes ago
  • Not too early to be in yellow for Froome

    Not too early to be in yellow for Froome

    By Julien Pretot HUY, Belgium (Reuters) - It is too soon to say Chris Froome will win the Tour de France but not too early for him to be in yellow as it puts the Briton in a perfect place ahead of Tuesday's feared fourth stage over potentially … More »

    Reuters - 11 minutes ago
  • Froome in charge after Tour de France third stage

    Froome in charge after Tour de France third stage

    By Julien Pretot HUY, Belgium (Reuters) - Chris Froome seized early control of the Tour de France, the 2013 champion snatching the yellow jersey after a crash-marred third stage won by Spain's Joaquim Rodriguez on Monday. Katusha rider Rodriguez … More »

    Reuters - 11 minutes ago