Aaron Rodgers & The Green Bay Packers pulled through to win 21-16 in a tough NFC North Battle against the Vikings at Lambeau Field on Sunday.
The smell of fresh meat on the grill, Titletown activities, and of course, some good cheese; it is hard to beat a football Sunday in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Vikings indeed found it tough to beat their rivaled team located just east in the state of Wisconsin.
Tales of The Tape for Each Team
It was a perfect beginning for the Green Bay Packers. The late Packer legend Bart Starr was honored at halftime, Brett Favre was in attendance, and Aaron Rodgers was ready to lead his team to another divisional victory. He began by completing 9 of his first 10 passes. Two of those passes went for TDs and Rodgers had a nearly perfect QB rating. Then, in the beginning second quarter, Packers HB Aaron Jones pushed into the end zone from 2 yards out and the Packers were up 21-0 before the Vikings could blink. However, this would be the last time the Packers would put points on the board all day.
Establishing the Run:
We all know that Rodgers is going to spread the ball around and make things happen in the passing game, and he did just that on Sunday. The running game has been a more questionable aspect of Green Bay's resume. In this game, the rushing attack looked like a well-oiled machine against a strong Minnesota defense. HB Aaron Jones ran for 116 yards, a TD, and averaged 5 yards/carry. This allowed Rodgers to connect with guys like WR Davante Adams with space to run after the catch.
Hanging On for Dear Life:
The Pack got up early, but couldn't find a way to put points on the board for the rest of the day. The Vikings were slowly crawling back into contention and it was up to the Packers' Defense to make the big plays and -- at the very least -- hold Minnesota to less than 21 points. It was close, but they were able to do just that by forcing 4 turnovers which included 2 Kirk Cousins interceptions and 2 forced fumbles. They made the big plays when they needed two, and it allowed them to prevail.
Dalvin is Cooking:
Just when everyone thought the Vikings were about to get smoked by Cheeseheads, Minnesota HB Dalvin Cook ripped off a 75-yd touchdown run early in the second quarter as the Vikings attempted to crawl back out of the hole they had dug themselves into. Cook would go on to rush for 154 yards on the day, making it his second 100+ yd rushing performance in two games. Rookie HB Alexander Mattison had a couple of nice runs on just four carries. After two weeks, the running game seems to be one of the greatest strengths of this Minnesota squad.
Penalties, penalties, penalties:
The Vikings had 8 penalties on Sunday afternoon, making it nearly 20 total penalties in just 2 games. These penalties totaled 100 yards and really hurt the chances of a Vikings comeback. One of the penalties was a offensive pass interference on Dalvin Cook that ended up taking away a TD pass to Stefon Diggs that would have put the Vikings within 1 score at the end of the first half. Minnesota will need to clean up their game in order to have success in what appears to be a very tough NFC North Division.
As stated in the above paragraph, the Vikings had a TD negated before the end of the first half. With the new pass interference rule, the referees went to the booth to examine the play. Their decision resulted in overturning the TD because of offensive pass interference. The Vikings could have really used those points back down the stretch. Read more about the newly implemented pass interference rule here: http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000001034228/article/nfl-finalizes-pass-interference-replay-for-2019-season
With 5 minutes left in the 4th quarter, down 21-16 and set up with a first and goal, the Vikings looked as though they were about to take their first lead of the game. However, QB Kirk Cousins forced a pass deep into the right corner of the end zone that ended up being intercepted by Packers CB Kevin King. This killed much of the momentum that the Vikings had and Cousins will need to work on these types of situations as he leads his team in the future.
Packers (2-0): The Pack will host the Denver Broncos (0-2) in Lambeau Field on Sunday, Sept. 22nd. This will be their first non-divisional game of the season.
Vikings (1-1): The Vikings will return home to Minneapolis next Sunday where they will host Derek Carr & the Oakland Raiders (1-1). This game is sure to be a unique challenge against a young and talented squad.
No Shenanigans, Just Football.