It is more than safe to say that the Green Bay Packers did not show up to play on Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings, even if it did take a last-second field goal by the Vikings to win. But Green Bay’s 34-31 defeat exposed a lot of issues for this team, most of which have been with this team all season.
Coming into this game, the Packers were short role players on both sides of the ball, but their injury list grew even longer after Elgton Jenkins crumpled to the ground and Aaron Rodgers revealed the severity of his toe injury. With fears of having suffered a torn ACL circulating (but unconfirmed at the time of this being written), it is fair to say that Green Bay is in desperate need of reinforcements, and soon.
The biggest problem that doomed the Packers in this contest was, surprisingly enough, their defense, which allowed 30 points for the first time this year since their Week 1 blowout at the hands of the New Orleans Saints. Now, having missed Rashan Gary certainly was a big reason why, but Kirk Cousins was kept relatively clean throughout the game, having been sacked only twice.
Green Bay ultimately lost because they were unable to stop Cousins and his passing attack, as his 341 passing yards and 3 TDs were results of the secondary routinely letting wideouts get behind them – namely Justin Jefferson. On the receiving end of two scores, Jefferson caught eight balls for 169 yards, including a long of 56 yards, as he abused Eric Stokes and the secondary.
On the other side, Aaron Rodgers looked routinely out of sorts, often overlooking easy dump-off opportunities and trying to fit the ball into tight windows down field. As Green Bay relied on the passing game (with the rushing attack only earning 95 total yards), Rodgers took it on himself to make things happen, to the tune of 385 yards and 4 TDs.
Davante Adams and Marquez Valdes-Scantling combined for 11 catches, 238 yards, and 3 TDs, with MVS hauling in the final score of the game for the Packers on a beautiful 75-yard crossing route right before the two-minute warning. Many deep-ball opportunities went over his head from Rodgers in this game, showcasing that even though he had a team-high 10 targets, not even a healthy target share can guarantee a healthy offensive attack.
The final element that held this team back was, unfortunately, a common one, as Mason Crosby yet again missed a kick, and a short one at that. Having missed a kick inside of 40 yards is a tough pill to swallow, and even tougher considering he still leads the league in missed field goals, by a considerable margin.
Losing this game certainly hurts, but it can hurt more based on the injury diagnosis of Jenkins – if he is out for the rest of the year, then Yosh Njiman will be called upon again in a big spot until David Bakhtiari is able to get back on the field. With the Rams next week, their OL woes will be put to the test right away, potentially slowing down this team’s strong offensive attack.뿓뿓뿓
Mike Johrendt has been an avid fan of the Packers ever since he can remember. He is now a writer at PackersTalk and you can follow him on Twitter at @MJohrendt23