CINCINNATI – It looked like Tom Crabtree was going to be in for a long night. Instead, the Green Bay Packers tight end saw his evening come to an early and painful end.
Crabtree started at tight end with Jermichael Finley’s unexpected morning departure after his wife Courtney gave birth to the couple’s second child, but his night ended when he took a shot from safety Taylor Mays that sidelined him with a shoulder injury in the first quarter of the Packers’ 27-13 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium.
Mays was flagged 15 yards for hitting a defenseless receiver – a call that Bengals coach Marvin Lewis and Crabtree agreed was the wrong call – after Crabtree held on to the 22-yard completion. With Crabtree out and Finley, D.J. Williams (ankle), DeMarco Cosby (hamstring) and Andrew Quarless (knee, PUP list) all sidelined, the Packers were down to just Ryan Taylor and Brandon Bostick as their healthy tight ends – and Taylor left at one point with what McCarthy termed a “clavicle/chest” injury. He was able to return, however.
The immediate concern was for Crabtree, who admitted he’s worried about the severity of the shoulder injury.
“It was definitely bad enough to where I couldn’t go back in, with my range of motion,” Crabtree said.
The third-year tight end’s head smacked hard against the ground as he landed from the hit, but Crabtree said he avoided a concussion on the play. Mays’ hit caught him square in the shoulder.
“I saw him coming. I knew I was going to get hit. One of those kill or be killed moments,” Crabtree said. “If you’re going to take the hit anyways, you might as well catch the ball.”
McCarthy said defensive lineman Ryan Pickett (calf) and running back Marc Tyler (ribs) were the only other players to suffer injuries. Tyler returned after one play; Pickett did not return.
Crabtree’s injury hamstrung coach Mike McCarthy – and, in turn, backup quarterback Graham Harrell – when Taylor went out, leaving only Bostick at the position.
“Frankly, I don’t know if you people were aware of this, we had a lot of offense that went out the window in the second quarter (after Crabtree’s injury),” McCarthy said. “The offensive plan for the No. 2 group was minimized greatly by our tight end situation.”
Finley, meanwhile, was home in Green Bay spending time with his new son, Landon Dash.
“Jermichael came to me this morning, he got the phone call about his wife being in labor and so we got him the quickest flight that we could to get him home,” McCarthy said. “He’s where he should be right now.”
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