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29-29 Tie With Vikings Leaves Packers Thinking About What Could Have Been

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29-29 Tie With Vikings Leaves Packers Thinking About What Could Have Been

Let me begin by saying that I was not quite sure how to feel about Sunday Afternoon's 29-29 tie.  Should I have had an upbeat approach from all of the positives that we can take from the game? Should I have been disappointed by all of the miscues and missed opportunities that the Packers left on the field which ultimately lead to the outcome of the game? Should I just take this time to go off the rails on the running joke in our sport that is NFL officiating in 2018?  

After hours of collecting my thoughts, I honestly feel about as bummed as I would after a Packers loss because of the way that victory was slowly and incrementally snatched away from the Packers.  So with that being said, I would like to address each of these topics and provide some insight into my thought process of trying to handle such a wide range of football emotions from yet another roller coaster of a game.

Before we begin, I want you to take a moment and just close your eyes...take a deep breath...exhale...now breathe in... and breathe out slowly; remember, we'll get through this together.

When sifting through a universe of negativity like the twitter universe that is, I find it soothing to reflect first on the positives that can be taken from this game.

1. The Packers Offensive Line Allowed Aaron Rodgers to Survive and Thrive:

Throughout the week the football world wondered whether it would be beneficial to run Aaron Rodgers out there against arguably the NFL's best defense with a less than healthy left knee.  Not only was Aaron Rodgers active but he was more mobile than anyone could have imagined.  The offensive line did a great job providing him with time to throw and a pocket to maneuver around.  All in all, Rodgers threw for 281 yards, 1 touchdown, and lead the Packers on six scoring drives against the Vikings vaunted defense.  

2. The Packers Special Teams Shined:  

Ron Zook's special teams unit shined brightly Sunday Afternoon, by flipping field position, making field goals, and blocking punts.  When the dust had settled from the fever-pitched action, the special teams unit played a part in 22 of the Packers 29 points.  

3. The Packers Had Their Moments on Both Sides of the Ball:

There were times throughout this game where the Packers did some good things.  On offense, they had a stretch where they established a rhythm and were able to move the ball consistently.  The receivers were able to get off the line quickly and provide separation and passing lanes for Aaron Rodgers to throw and the running game had some nice cutback runs as well as some tough runs up the middle.

On defense, the front seven was able to disrupt the Vikings timing and make plays on the ball causing some overthrows and an interception from Kirk Cousins.  Overall, despite the sour taste left in everyone's mouth from the outcome of the game, the Packers proved to their peers, that despite some correctable mistakes, they are a good football team and will be a contender to win the NFC North.

Thinking About What Could Have Been:         

I am well aware of the saying that "one play doesn't determine the outcome of a game", but I have to say, this season's first installment of the Packers Vikings rivalry sure had the feeling that one play could determine the outcome of this game.  In reality, this game boiled down to several plays which were not made that could have brought the Packers a more favorable outcome.

1. The Davante Adams Drop in the End Zone:  

In one of the offenses final plays in regulation, Aaron Rodgers looked towards the right corner of the end zone where he delivered a perfectly placed ball to Davante Adams who seemingly sealed the game with his second touchdown catch of the day...until the cameras zoomed in on the football that was trickling out of his grasp onto the field from a borderline hit.  

After another controversial incomplete pass (for both play calling and defensive holding) towards the end zone in Adams direction, the Packers were forced to settle for yet another field goal inside of the red zone which ultimately kept the Vikings within striking distance at 29-21.  

2.  Adam Thielen's Immaculate Reception: This play is a microcosm of the way the defense played all game; close but no cigar.  On a number of plays, it seemed like linebackers were a second away from making a sack and defensive backs were inches away from an interception or a defensed ball.  Play after play, Packer fans were starving for that defensive play that would shift the momentum, or seal the victory, but each momentum-changing play was made by the Minnesota Vikings.  

The Packers defense had the chance to prevent Adam Thielen's immaculate reception from happening by forcing an errant throw, sacking Cousins, deflecting the pass, or, by intercepting the pass.  Thielen actually catching the pass had to be the most unlikely outcome as he was draped in coverage by both Jaire Alexander and Kentrell Brice who both had opportunities to make a play on the ball while Kirk Cousins was getting hit delivering an off-balanced pass.

3. Mason Crosby's Failed Attempt at the 52 Yard Game Winning Field Goal:

After all of the controversy and late game heroics from the Vikings offense in the games final minutes, Aaron Rodgers got the ball back with 31 seconds remaining in the game. In the blink of an eye, he was able to drive the Packers down the field, allowing them to attempt a game-winning 52-yard field goal.

Prior to this attempt, Mason Crosby was 5/5 in his field goal attempts for the afternoon and just kicked the ball 52 yards through the uprights with no sweat before Mike Zimmer called the Vikings final timeout.  All Mason has to do was kick it through the uprights one more time to seal a Packers victory, no problem right? Wrong. In one of the games more deflating plays, Mason Crosby sent the game-winning field goal attempt wide to the left sending the game to overtime.

So by this point, I'm sure that I have managed to get you all worked up again so let's skip the deep breathing routine and get right to the atrocious officiating that we witnessed throughout the game.  I want to point out two calls that were missed that clearly changed the outcome of the game.  

1. The Infamous Roughing the Passer Call Against Clay Matthews:  Let's face it, we all gave Clay a ton of heat last week when his only memorable play of the game was a roughing the passer penalty that could have cost the Packers their come from behind 24-23 win.  Just as much as the criticism from last week was well deserved, this egregious penalty in this weeks contest was completely undeserved and Tony Corrente and his crew of misfits should feel the full brunt of the criticism they will endure in the court of public opinion.

We might as well face the sad truth that Roger Goodell and his cronies will completely support the call that Corrente made as it helps to smoothen the transition that the National Football League is currently going through.  Yes, in just a matter of a few short years and a few more rule changes, the National Football League will give way to Goodell's latest creation, The National Flag Football League.

Obviously putting the hyperbole and sarcasm aside for a moment, the NFL is facing a significant problem to their brand as the quality of their sport is deteriorating with rules like these.  Although football fans realize the importance of protecting quarterbacks from season-ending injuries the league must figure out a way to implore a common-sense enforcement of their rules.

Joe Thomas presented an interesting idea when he suggested that teams be able to challenge unnecessary roughness calls on the quarterback so that the officials can see the play develop in slow motion and can identify proper or improper technique.

As we stew in anger and disbelief, let us take a look at the hit that Clay Matthews puts on Kirk Cousins...

A couple things stand out in this clip, one, Clay Matthews and Kirk Cousins are in the same airspace at the time of the throw, and two, Clay delivers the hit just a split second after the ball is released.  There was no way that Clay Matthews could have halted his football move towards Cousins and safely avoided delivering the hit in that situation.  

Furthermore, Clay does not lead with the crown of his head and goes out of his way to make sure that the proper technique is applied to Cousins when delivering the hit.  My final issue with the quarterback hits in this game was the lack of consistency in which roughing the passer was called.  Kirk Cousins and Aaron Rodgers both endured several big hits from the opposing defenses and Corrente and his crew seemed very arbitrary about which hits would be deemed illegal.  

2. The Phantom Holding Call on Lane Taylor That Negated a Touchdown:

This is obviously not a hold, in fact, Taylor's technique is pretty textbook getting the defender to the ground and out of the picture so that Aaron Rodgers can deliver the ball to his intended target, Jimmy Graham.  

              Pretty weak. Officials not on A game today. pic.twitter.com/igXzIumIQY

David Michalski is a staff writer for Cheesehead TV. He can be found on Twitter @kilbas27dave 

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (29) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

4thand1's picture

We need a good, the bad, and the ugly back.
Good, AR, Adams, Graham, Geronimo, Alexander, Williams, Clark,
Bad, MM, pass rush,
Ugly, 4th quarter collapse, Refs.

Spud Rapids's picture

I have an issue with McCarthy on the bad side. Everyone always yells that McCarthy doesn't stay aggressive to put teams away. He threw the ball twice before they went up 8 and attempt to put away the Vikings. I like the call and if Adams catches that pass it's over. I like the call

Barnacle's picture

Run the ball two more times and either we score, they use up timeouts or they need huge success in very limited time. When you are behind take big risks, not when you are ahead. We could have probably won if the refs were perfect in spite of MM's naïveté. Unfortunately, we can't control the refs, so we need better coaching.

Every week our offense screws around getting the other team to jump off sides and frequently our guys jump or we waste a time out. MM sees the statistics that Rodgers is great at this. MM is not bright enough to understand the costs of this league leading behavior.

Bert's picture

Time to move on to Washington this week. We should beat the Skins and 2-0-1 isn't so bad. This team will be fine.

Tarynfor12's picture

The Kendricks penalty on Rodgers was just as wrong as Matthews on Cousins. Poor officiating sure, but they were consistent as to why with both.

The officials did not ,as some claim, flag Matthews to control the games ending but to call the same sack equally.

Perhaps if the Matthews sack isn't the only one emphasized but watching/highlighting both sacks and flags as to the perception each conveyed,both QB's threw while leaving the ground willingly and then getting hit and looking like pile driving or burping.

This is the excuse for this weeks tie or loss depending on view point,especially when the INT happened long after the flag had been dropped however erroneously on both sacks.

It was a good game and the holes that GB had after last week appeared somewhat closed only to reveal other holes on offense that seem glaring.

Hopefully next week vs Wash, the slice of Swiss Cheese will appear more Provolone like and a solid win comes to the front.

Rak47's picture

Please crawl back in your wet dark hole. Kendrick's tackle was not the same as Clay's. Kendrick stopped moving his feet and lifted Rodgers up off the ground before dumping him on his back. Clays feet kept moving as he ran through Cousins. The only similarities are that both hits were against a QB.

Tarynfor12's picture

If anything, Matthews lands more on Cousins where Kendricks lands on the ground.....
take the time and watch both.
https://screencast-o-matic.com/watch/cFQbYoqLcr

Rak47's picture

I did. and also saw Mathews extend his left hand and arm to break his and Cousins fall. If Clay wanted to he could've crushed him and landed with all his weight on him but he didn't showing he was consciously aware not to rough the QB. But they flagged him anyway as you said to even up the call on Kendrick's earlier which happened on second down mid game as opposed to a game ending play that would've sealed the win. Somehow I don't see that as evening the calls. maybe you and Corrente do which is probably why he called that trash call anyway.

Doug_In_Sandpoint's picture

Plenty to look forward to. Jones return, Burkes in the lineup, healthy QB1, and one more game vs. the queens for payback. Also I believe the young secondary becomes a force. Lucas Patrick returning kicks. Seems like we've been hit with a lifetime of game changing calls, so those should start evening out too. I believe that we will be one of the best teams down the stretch and will get a home game or two in the playoffs.

But when that happens, DON'T SELL YOUR TICKETS TO THE OTHER TEAM'S FANS!

Chuck Farley's picture

I'm not so sure Mr Rogers injury is going to heal fast and may be several weeks before he can get mobility back. Hell he may even need surgery or something this week? All I know is with the brace, his accuracy is shabby and rightfully so. He better learn the plays and stop waisting time outs.

holmesmd's picture

Ok Chuck, now I’m convinced that you either can’t see or have never played football. Rodger’s accuracy was pinpoint as usual. If he “misses” a throw, it’s just not perfect but almost always catchable. The knee brace had no impact on his accuracy. It’s not on his “drive”leg anyway so please explain how it could affect his accuracy? Huh?:/

Mojo's picture

This isn't to pile on Crosby because he did have a good game. But in an interview afterwards he indicated the miss was because he was anticipating a left to right breeze so therefore he aimed to the left of the goalposts.

I'm not buying it. I think he more-or-less just miss hit it.

On all his makes you can tell from the flight of the ball off his foot he was aiming towards the center of the goal posts as he should have. Even on what ended up being a practice kick just inside the left post the ball was barely influenced by the wind. Certainly not a left to right wind. He should have noted that for the last try.

Either his timing was off or he slightly miss hit it (it happens). Don't use what little wind that was out there as an excuse. I get it if it's really breezy, but that wasn't the case Sunday.

And even if there is a moderate wind, aim for the center and I'll bet 99% of the time it goes through if struck correctly. Don't get to cute and own up to misses instead of blaming the wind.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

He hit almost exactly the same kick both times. The first one hooked in enough and the second one didn't.

Coldworld's picture

The former Vikes kicker hooked wide right three times. Plus, sitting behind the opposite posts, one could see flags supporting the breeze from left to right. Still isn’t proof but does suggest some basis for support.

sardog's picture

Crosby's plant foot was in the same place on both kicks. As a former holder, winds can die or swirl without warning. MN kicker was pushing right because his plant foot was too far ahead.
The real question should be the timing of Zimner's time out signal. I believe it was at the same time not before the snap. Scouting in the pre-season can give insight as to a consistently used snap count. Kicking squads tend to get habitual in their timing for obvious reasons. But Zook should look into a quick count for "game on the line" kicks.

Oppy's picture

Thanks for the insight. Not often we get to hear from anyone who knows anything about place kicking!

Question, Sardog.. What can you tell us about the job that JK Scott has been doing as a holder so far? The results seem positive enough, but I assume you actually have some insight into his performance overall that would go unappreciated by most of us.

sardog's picture

The mechanics of the holder in both games is very good and smooth. As said earlier the kicking squad that is consistent gives the kicker confidence. IMHO Crosby is quite dependable and some of that is also due to the coaching staff. But with Division opponents that you see twice a year you have to build a subset to keep them at bay...much like the punt block by Geranimo. That made not only a score but probably caused a scramble by the MN coaching staff fo at least a quarter. It's always good to play with their minds also. Lol and these guys get paid millions to have fun Lol

Derty Ernesto's picture

Never ceases to amaze me how dix is out of postion in nowhere land and gets tipped balls for interceptions. Fine but how about playing some safety. He still sucks at helping out over the top.
If House and Williams is all you got as back up then you deserve to lose and should lose. 420 yards passing to a guy who never played in GB before and only played a couple games with his new team mates.
Hate to see it once he is comfortable with them like when we meet in Minny.
Pettine has improved nothing.

Jonathan Spader's picture

Pettine has also only played a few games. Why give the benefit of the doubt to Cousins that he'll improve with time but Pettine won't? Hypacrite.

Rak47's picture

How one chooses to look at this tie comes down to each individual. I think we all knew the Packers would not go 16-0, so I choose to look at this as a notch off the loss column. I still expect the Packers to win 12 games this year, they'll just be 12-3-1 instead of 12-4 which works out better anyways.

JohnnyLogan's picture

Nothing seems to change over the years. McCarthy screws up time management to blow insurmountable leads. And Belichick gets a star receiver for Brady for practically free. Josh Gordon to NE for a 5th. What a joke. Everyone else too scared like they were with Moss who had 22 TDs and Marshawn Lynch who carried Seattle to SBs. Brady now will have Gordon, Edelman, Gronk and Hogan. While we’re happy to trot out Allison. A nice player but with a small ceiling. We couldn’t top that offer for a potential superstar who could stretch the field?

Jonathan Spader's picture

Moss had an attitude problem Gordon has a drug problem. The 2 are a little different. Moss is a Hall of Famer hard to see Gordon at this point in his career becoming one. Don't blame NE for the flier but there's no guarantee it works out. Look at Oakland trading a 3rd rounder for Martavius Bryant. How did that work out for them?

Lphill's picture

I think Rodgers should do all the play calling . Let him control the game , should have been more no huddle Yesterday also .

Kb999's picture

The bottom line is the Packers squandered multiple opportunities. We all can cry about the officials, which sucked, but they shot themselves in the foot. The article was spot on. They should have won.

henry113's picture

KB, the truth is that this team is not firing on all cylinders. They just seem out of sink at times. I also have to question some of the play calls. Some things never change.

Bert's picture

We have a really nice schedule for the next 4 games. We should be 5-0-1 heading into the bye. This game will soon be in the rear view mirror......

henry113's picture

Bert, Disagree. Lets not take any opponent lightly. Assume nothing especially the wasted opportunities we had. You don't forget this one easily.

Bert's picture

Well actually we fans can take any opponent as lightly as we want. Hopefully the Packers will stay focused the next few weeks and go on a winning streak. The schedule is favorable and they should capitalize. I really don't think this tie will mean that much in the long run.

PatrickGB's picture

Dear Dug_IN, I will not be returning kicks. They would kill me!
My take is that the game was quite entertaining but it sort of felt like WWE. Too much drama. But a tie is better than a loss and we are on to Washington. As others have posted, I see improvements on this team and we are only going to get better as Aaron heals and our running game gets going. My only concern is the lack of pass rush and with the new rules our secondary is going to get contested every week.

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