Vikings boot Packers on last-second field goal after offenses' aerial show

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MINNEAPOLIS - A Green Bay Packers defense that has been given a rare chance to bask in its accomplishments got a pre-Thanksgiving dose of humble pie Sunday.

A week after throttling Russell Wilson, the Packers' defense that had climbed into the top three in points and yards in the NFL could not extend its momentum against the Minnesota Vikings. The back-breaker came on the game’s final series, allowing the Vikings to set up a 29-yard field goal as time expired for a 34-31 loss. The defeat dropped the Packers to 8-3 this season, while the Vikings pulled to .500 at 5-5.

It’s the Packers' second loss in three weeks as the death march of its season draws closer to an early December bye. The Packers will have one more game Sunday at the Los Angeles Rams before finally getting a week off.

Here are some quick observations from Sunday’s game:

Justin Jefferson #18 of the Minnesota Vikings dives into the end zone for a touchdown as Eric Stokes #21 of the Green Bay Packers tries to tackle in the fourth quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium on November 21, 2021 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Justin Jefferson #18 of the Minnesota Vikings dives into the end zone for a touchdown as Eric Stokes #21 of the Green Bay Packers tries to tackle in the fourth quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium on November 21, 2021 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Jefferson, Adams put on a show

During the week, Davante Adams said Minnesota Vikings second-year receiver Justin Jefferson plays like a sixth-year vet. Jefferson looked like that Sunday, catching WHAT. Adams, perhaps the NFL’s best receiver, did whatever he could to not be outdone. He finished with WHAT, but Jefferson made the bigger plays, including a 23-yard touchdown against Packers rookie Eric Stokes late in the fourth quarter.

Jenkins leaves with knee injury

Early in the fourth quarter, left tackle Elgton Jenkins crumpled while sliding laterally to his left trying to block Vikings safety Harrison Smith and immediately clutched his left knee. It was a noncontact-type injury every player fears. Jenkins remained on the field several moments while the Packers medical team evaluated him before limping slowly to the sideline with help. The Pro Bowler was carted to the locker room and did not return, replaced by third-string left tackle Yosh Nijman. It’s potentially a big blow for a Packers offensive line that still has not had All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari return from his torn ACL.

Preston Smith shoulders pass rush

With Rashan Gary unable to play because of a hyperextended right elbow, the Packers badly needed Preston Smith to respond with his best play. Smith gave his best game of the season, including a pair of third-down sacks against Kirk Cousins. The second prevented the Vikings from potentially advancing into field-goal range. The Vikings were on Green Bay’s 40-yard line, holding onto a six-point lead, but Smith rounded the corner and hit Cousins from the blindside. Smith’s two sacks give him five this season, one more than all of last year in only 11 games.

Field-goal issues persist

Another week, and the Packers field-goal operation remains a mess. After Mason Crosby made a 54-yard field goal to close the Packers opening drive, the veteran kicker doinked one high off the left upright later in the first quarter. It was the second time in as many weeks Crosby missed a chip-shot kick when the snap and hold appeared to be solid. Crosby also missed a 27 yarder last week against Seattle. Like then, Crosby recovered enough to have a clean game the rest of the way, including an extra point that gave the Packers a 24-23 lead midway through the fourth quarter. Still, after starting the season 9-for-9, Crosby has now missed 8 of his past 14 kicks. At 15-of-23 on the season, Crosby’s eight missed field goals are his most since a disastrous 2012 season. On Sunday, those three points loomed large in a close game.

This article originally appeared on Packers News: Minnesota Vikings boot Green Bay Packers on last-second field goal