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More special-teams gaffes hurt Packers

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. – This is shaping up to be the worst special-teams season in Mike McCarthy's nine-year tenure as the Green Bay Packers coach.

Sunday didn't help matters.

For the sixth time this season, they had one of the own kicks blocked. And that wasn't even their most costly special-teams mistake.

The only touchdown the Packers gave up in their 21-13 loss at the Buffalo Bills came on a 75-yard punt return by Marcus Thigpen in the first quarter.

"We definitely hurt ourselves today, that's for sure," Packers punter Tim Masthay said. "We had a punt returned for a touchdown and a field goal blocked and we lost by eight, so yeah, it was not a good day for our unit."

Masthay hit a short punt that went only 31 yards and down the middle of the field that Thigpen had to move up to receive. He broke to his left and dodged safety Sean Richardson at his own 30-yard line. The only Packers player with a chance to stop him was cornerback Demetri Goodson, but he had two blockers between him and Thigpen.

"I looked up and all I saw was the whole left side was wide open," Goodson said. "I guess everybody kind of overpursued it. I just saw blockers in front of him."

But Masthay didn't blame the coverage unit.

"If the ball would've been higher, I don't think they would've been able to return it because I hit a couple higher going in that direction and they covered it great," Masthay said. "I see it as my responsibility to hit the ball higher."

Crosby's blocked field goal came on a 53-yard try in the second quarter. Big Mario Williams (6-foot-6) got a hand on it.

"Just coming off my foot it felt good when I made impact, but from that distance, sometimes it comes off a little bit lower," Crosby said. "I don't want to drive it necessarily, but I intentionally hit a ball that’s going to have the right distance, but like I said, I've got to evaluate myself and look at the protection and make sure that we’re accountable. It all starts with me. I've got to make sure I hit the right ball."

It was the second field goal that Crosby has had blocked this season. He's also had two extra points blocked, and Masthay has had two punts blocked.

Last week, special-teams coach Shawn Slocum called having five blocked kicks "unacceptable."

What does that make six?

Other than a 75-yard punt return for a touchdown by Micah Hyde in Week 10 against Philadelphia and Crosby's otherwise solid season (he's 25-of-29 on field goals with two of the four misses blocked), the Packers haven't had much to boast about on special teams.