A missed field goal from 32 yards out and at least five different wasted turnover opportunities doomed the Green Bay Packers on Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium. Kicker Greg Joseph capped off a wild fourth quarter by hitting a 29-yard field goal as time expired, giving the Minnesota Vikings a 34-31 win over the visiting Packers in Week 11.
Here’s our instant analysis of the Packers’ defeat, highlighting what went right, what went wrong and what it all means moving forward:
What went right
(AP Photo/Jim Mone)
After falling behind 16-3, the Packers scored touchdowns on four straight possessions (not including the kneeldown before the half) to both take a lead (24-23) and tie the game (31-31) in the second half.
The passing game got back on track, especially over the final four possessions. Aaron Rodgers completed 23 passes for 385 yards and four touchdowns, including three in the second half. He found Josiah Deguara on an incredible play late in the first half, hit Davante Adams for touchdowns to end back-to-back drives to start the second half and then tied the game with a 75-yard score to Marquez Valdes-Scantling. Adams and Valdes-Scantling both went over 100 receiving yards.
Packers outside linebacker Preston Smith tallied two third-down sacks, including a strip-sack that nearly resulted in a turnover.
The Packers held Dalvin Cook to just 86 rushing yards on 22 carries (3.9 yards per carry). Overall, the Vikings rushed for only 90 yards.
Running back A.J. Dillon produced 97 total yards in his first NFL start, including 44 receiving yards. He ran 11 times for 53 yards as the Packers leaned on the pass.
What went wrong
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
The defense gave up 34 points and 408 total yards and didn’t have a takeaway despite several golden opportunities. Safety Darnell Savage had a chance at two or three interceptions but finished with none. His drop on an interception on the Vikings’ final drive allowed Kirk Cousins to march down the field for the game-winning field goal. The Packers also had an interception by Savage negated by a roughing the passer penalty.
Savage is one of the best young safeties in the NFL but he has to convert more playmaking opportunities into takeaways. Missed turnovers defined this game for the Packers.
Matt LaFleur’s team had eight penalties overall, including seven in the first half.
Mason Crosby missed a gimmie field goal from 32 yards out in the first half. The Packers lost by three. Crosby leads the NFL in missed field goals this season.
Vikings receiver Justin Jefferson caught eight passes for 169 yards and two scores, including the go-ahead score in the fourth quarter. Jefferson and Adam Thielen combined for 251 receiving yards.
What it means
(AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)
The Packers lost a chance to take a commanding lead in the NFC North with seven weeks to go. Now 8-3 after Sunday’s loss, the Packers hold a two-game lead over the 5-5 Vikings entering Week 12.
The bigger issue coming out of Sunday might be the loss of Elgton Jenkins, who could be done for the season. He left the game with a knee injury in the third quarter. Jenkins is one of the best and most valuable offensive linemen in football.
Joe Barry’s defense was humbled after shutting down three elite quarterbacks. Vikings offensive coordinator Klint Kubiak consistently dialed up ways to beat the Packers secondary down the field.
Next up is a visit from the Los Angeles Rams at Lambeau Field next Sunday. Can the Packers bounce back and get a huge win going into the much-needed bye week?