By Drew Olson Special to Published Dec 27, 2009 at 6:06 PM

GREEN BAY -- With less than 7 minutes remaining in the game, his team leading Seattle by 35 points and both a victory and a playoff berth in the bank, Mason Crosby was not exactly stepping into a pressure-packed situation when he trotted onto the tundra late Sunday afternoon at Lambeau Field.

It sure felt like one, though.

The sellout crowd of 70,429 greeted the Packers' embattled kicker with a standing ovation. As a gentle southwest wind swirled in the storied stadium, Crosby planted his left leg, swung his right and sent several weeks' worth of doubt and anxiety sailing through the uprights.

"As soon as it left my foot, I knew it was going through," said Crosby, who had missed a kick in each of Green Bay's previous four games.

"It was a good feeling to hit one."

There were plenty of good feelings in the home locker room. The Packers' 48-10 victory over the overmatched Seahawks, coupled with Carolina's surprising 41-9 victory over the New York Giants in the swamps of Jersey, clinched a playoff berth for Green Bay (10-5).

"Our goal of winning the world championship is right in front of us," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. "Let's be honest -- we still have a lot of work left. We still have an opportunity to improve."

After watching his team compile five rushing touchdowns and intercept four passes from Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, McCarthy praised his players' preparation.

"The energy and enthusiasm they bring into the building each week ... that gives us the opportunity to challenge them," McCarthy said.

Crosby, who hit a 29-yard field goal in the first half, challenged himself during the week.

"I was happy with my approach this week," he said. "It's like any other position. You have to go back to the drills, the basic things. I have confidence in myself and confidence in our operation. It's my job. That's how I approached things this week."

McCarthy, whose confidence in Crosby raised eyebrows in Packer Nation, was pleased, but not surprised by the 52-yarder.

"He nailed it," McCarthy said. "It's really more for everybody outside the locker room to talk about because I've said it in here all along: We have a lot of confidence in Mason. He's our kicker and it was good to give him that chance today."

The Packers, who close out the regular season Sunday at Arizona, did not lose confidence after a tough loss last week against Pittsburgh.

"That was a hard one to swallow, there's no doubt about it," McCarthy said. "We made a lot of plays in that game, there was a lot of productivity on both sides of the field. And just to come out of there without the win was tough. But we actually addressed Seattle coming out of the locker room in Pittsburgh. We moved on and worked on Seattle Monday.

"The energy at practice Wednesday and Thursday was outstanding. I think Friday off, totally, I think it really helped, particularly our players, it helped their legs, a day of rest on the Friday before a game. The things that I look for in pregame and in the locker room is their energy level. Their energy level was very high in the meeting last night over at the Radisson and it was evident again today. And I think we played that way."

Jarrett Bush, who struggled against the Steelers, collected one of the four interceptions along with Atari Bigby, who had two, and A.J. Hawk.

"It's like a fight," Bush said. "If you get hit once, you've got to get back up and start swinging again. You've got to keep fighting back.

"It was a relief (to contribute this week), but I'm not satisfied. I have to get into the film study and work hard in practice and ask questions and be humble. I have to stay hungry and be a student of the game."

Notebook: Aaron Rodgers surpassed the 4,000-yard mark in the first half. He's the first quarterback in NFL history to reach that mark in his first two seasons as a starter. ... The last time the Packers scored 48 points was against Detroit in Week 2 in 2008. ... Hasselbeck threw four interceptions for the second straight week. ... The Seahawks have lost five in a row at Lambeau Field. ... Brandon Jackson entered the game with two rushing touchdowns in 34 games. He rushed for two Sunday and caught a pass for another. ... Packers special teams ace Derrick Martin turned his ankle late in the game. His status is uncertain. ... McCarthy now only 5 of 14 on challenges this season. ... Asked if he'd heard about the Carolina rout during the game, McCarthy said: "I was told of the score at halftime. I didn't know if someone was kidding around about the score."


Drew Olson Special to

Host of “The Drew Olson Show,” which airs 1-3 p.m. weekdays on The Big 902. Sidekick on “The Mike Heller Show,” airing weekdays on The Big 920 and a statewide network including stations in Madison, Appleton and Wausau. Co-author of Bill Schroeder’s “If These Walls Could Talk: Milwaukee Brewers” on Triumph Books. Co-host of “Big 12 Sports Saturday,” which airs Saturdays during football season on WISN-12. Former senior editor at Former reporter at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.