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Green Bay Packers' kicking game an issue despite win

The Packers pulled out of Detroit with a 24-20 victory, but there are two major concerns in Green Bay.

No. 1: Kicker Mason Crosby seems to have lost his way. Crosby now is 11 of 18 on field-goal attempts after he missed two Sunday. He actually missed three, but Lions coach Jim Schwartz called a timeout just before Crosby pushed a 50-yard try at the end of the first half. Crosby hooked the ensuing kick. He missed a 38-yarder in the fourth quarter.

Crosby set a Packers record last season with 23 consecutive made field goals. He's in a funk now. Coach Mike McCarthy even went for it on fourth-and-7 during the Packers' first drive. It would have been a 40-yard field-goal attempt. We don't know that McCarthy went for the first down because of Crosby's inconsistencies, but that wasn't a normal decision so early in the game from that distance.

No. 2: Left guard Evan Dietrich-Smith struggled mightily in his first start of the season. Left tackle Bryan Bulaga is out for the season, and left guard T.J. Lang moved to right tackle with Dietrich-Smith promoted to starting guard.


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Dietrich-Smith was called for a hold and a false start in the first quarter. He was beaten by Nick Fairley twice in the first half and again on the first possession of the second half when Fairley forced Aaron Rodgers to fumble. It wasn't a good day for Dietrich-Smith in Detroit. (EDS probably hates Ford Field. That's where Ndamukong Suh stomped on him last year.)

The Packers are going to need a level of consistency from Crosby to make a deep playoff run. That's life in the NFL. And they'll need Rodgers upright. The next two offensive linemen on the depth chart are undrafted rookies, so there's no wiggle room. Dietrich-Smith is the guy for the rest of the season and has to play better than he did against the Lions.

Follow Kareem Copeland on Twitter @kareemcopeland.

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