Packers miss golden opportunity in tie with Vikings

Green Bay lets fourth quarter lead slip away
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By Morgan Rode sports@newmedia-wi.com

After a thrilling week 1 win over the Chicago Bears, the Green Bay Packers had a chance to take control of the NFC North while hosting the Minnesota Vikings.

Missed opportunities, poor play in the red zone and questionable penalties all played a role in what turned into a 29-29 tie at Lambeau Field on Sunday.

If not for a pair of missed field goals in overtime by Minnesota kicker Daniel Carlson, Green Bay could have taken a loss. Still, Packers’ players were disappointed in the final outcome.

“Frustration, 100 percent frustration,” Devante Adams said. “We got to put games away like that, especially when you up a majority of the game, you got to finish. Yeah, we tied, and it’s better than a loss, but I’m definitely not happy about it. I don’t think anybody in here is.”

“Yeah, I said earlier, it hurts,” said Blake Martinez, who led the Packers with nine combined tackles. “It doesn’t feel good at all. It just doesn’t feel as bad as a loss.”

Green Bay got on the scoreboard first after Geronimo Allison blocked a punt that landed in rookie Josh Jackson’s hands in the end zone just over halfway through the first quarter. Minnesota responded with a touchdown drive but the Packers returned the favor to regain their seven-point lead. Green Bay added a field goal on the final play of the half to take a 17-7 lead into the locker room.

On its first drive of the third quarter, the Packers drove the ball down the field before Aaron Rodgers found Jimmy Graham for a 12-yard touchdown pass, only to have the play wiped out by a holding penalty. Green Bay settled for a field goal to go up 20-7.

That score held up until early in the fourth quarter when Minnesota’s Kirk Cousins found Stefon Diggs on a 3-yard pass to trim the deficit to six.

Green Bay answered with a field goal to go up nine after failing to convert a third-and-two inside the Minnesota 15. The Vikings then scored on a 75-yard pass from Cousins to Diggs to cut the deficit to two.

The Packers went on a long drive that culminated in a field goal and five-point lead. On the Vikings’ first play of their next drive, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix picked off a pass and it looked to be the dagger.

Instead, a pair of incompletions forced a field goal and gave Minnesota 1 minute and 45 seconds to try and tie the game. Again on the first play of the drive, the Packers picked off Cousins, as rookie Jaire Alexander made the interception in stride. But Clay Matthews was called for roughing the passer and the drive continued.

The Vikings took advantage as Cousins found Adam Thielen for a 22-yard touchdown on a throw that should have been picked off. Minnesota converted the two-point conversion to tie the game.

With 31 seconds left, Rodgers marched Green Bay down the field, only to have Mason Crosby miss a 52-yard field goal as times expired. Crosby was 5-for-5 on field goal attempts prior to that miss.

“Obviously, it went from being my best regular season game to just kind of one, like I’m a little bummed about that kick,” Crosby said. “So I’ve got to knock that through to help this team win. We all lay it on the line and unfortunately I had a great game leading up to that and just wasn’t able to execute that final one.”

Minnesota got the ball first in overtime and drove the ball to the Green Bay 31 before having the drive stall. Carlson missed a 49-yard field goal attempt, meaning if the Packers scored, they would win.

Green Bay was on the drive and had a second-and-one from the Minnesota 37 before things went south. Rodgers fumbled on second down but luckily recovered it. On third down, Rodgers was sacked, taking the Packers out of field goal range.

On the next drive, Minnesota looked to be on its way to a win after a couple of long passes. The Vikings got the ball down to the Packers’ 21 before each team called timeout. Attempting to win the game, Carlson hooked a 35-yard field goal right as time expired.

“Close to an L,” Rodgers said of the tie. “It doesn’t feel great, and then that last play, it’s either an L or a tie, it’s nice not to have a loss on the record right now, but it’s disappointing, we found a lot of ways to give that one away.”

Playing with a huge brace on his left knee, Rodgers amassed 281 passing yards while completing 30-of-42 passes.

Jamaal Williams rushed for 59 yards on 16 carries while Ty Montgomery tallied 31 yards on just five rushes. Adams hauled in the lone Green Bay offensive touchdown while totaling 64 yards on eight receptions. Jimmy Graham got more involved in week 2, tallying six catches for a team-high 95 yards while Allison had six catches for 64 yards.

Green Bay travels to battle the Washington Redskins next week before returning home on Sept. 30 to face the Buffalo Bills.