Packers Top Vikings 21-16, Improve to 2-0

Another week, another division win. The Green Bay Packers (2-0, 2-0 NFC North) topped the Minnesota Vikings (1-1, 1-0 NFC North) 21-16 in a roller coaster game Sunday afternoon. It was not the prettiest win, but it was a win, and the Packers head into next week undefeated and at the top of their division. Not a bad place to be.

The offense came out on fire in their first game at Lambeau Field and looked nearly unstoppable on their first three drives. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers finished the day with 209 yards and 2 TDs (ESPN stats), with 119 of those yards and both touchdowns coming from the first two drives of the game.

The Packers marched right down the field in just four plays to open the game for a total of 75 yards in 2:10 before quickly finding the endzone. Running back Jamaal Williams opened the scoring with a nice catch off a 15-yard screen pass for a touchdown.

The Vikings responded with a nice drive and a few strong runs for star running back Dalvin Cook, but kicker Dan Bailey could not get them on the board after missing his first field goal attempt of the game.

The Packers came out hot again the next drive, with three huge passing plays. A 14-yard catch to wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling, a 21-yard catch for wide receiver Davante Adams, and then a 12-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Geronimo Allision to put the Packers up by two scores just minutes into the game.

Then the defense joined in on the fun. Defensive tackle Kenny Clark stripped sacked Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins and defensive end Dean Lowry was there to pick it up. The Packers then responded with a touchdown by running back Aaron Jones to go up 21-0 at the start of the second quarter.

Unfortunately, that was the end of the fun for the Packers’ offense Sunday, as they were held scoreless the remainder of the game. Luckily Mike Pettine’s rejuvenated defense showed up for the second week in a row and held the Vikings to just 16 points, which ultimately allowed Green Bay to win the game.

With the offense so up and down, but the defense once again proving their ability to make plays, there was certainly plenty of things to take away from Sunday’s game.  

What we learned: When the offense is on, it’s ON

The Packers’ offense was firing on all cylinders in the first quarter and it was truly remarkable to watch. It was the first time since 2014 they scored on all three of their first offensive possessions, and the first time since 2013 that Rodgers scored a touchdown on the Vikings on his first offensive drive. Green Bay was up 21-0 with 14:16 left in the second quarter and at the time, did not show any signs of slowing down. Boy, was that run fun to watch.

Aaron Rodgers looked the best he has in a while in that first quarter too. He was moving in and out of the pocket well, getting the ball out quick, and hitting his lethal targets like Davante Adams often. More of that next week, please.

What went right: Defense (again)

Last week’s win over the Bears was a major defensive win for the Packers and this week was no different. Pettine is forming a well-oiled machine in Green Bay and his defense was able to hold the Vikings to just 16 points and force a pair of both sacks and interceptions in Sunday’s game.
 

In the past the Packers struggled to stop the quarterback boot that the Vikings often turn to, but not this time. The two quarterbacks the Packers have faced so far have gone 30-of-77 for 458 yards, for one touchdown, with three interceptions (ESPN stats). For years, the Packers have struggled to put a defense out on the field that is able to make crucial stops, especially when their offense is struggling, but it looks like they may have finally found their answer.

What went wrong: The offense after the first quarter

After starting off wicked hot their first three drives, the Packers were held scoreless the remainder of the game. By the fourth quarter, the defense was starting to look gassed, but luckily, they were able to grind it out. As the season goes on, our offense must find a way to stay on the field and in the game longer, so that our defense has a chance to breathe.

“The first quarter we won with offense, and quarters 2-4 we won with that great defense we got,” Rodgers said in an interview after the game. “They made some adjustments, and we did as well, but we just didn’t execute. We had some chances, had some stuff, but they just made some good plays on contested balls.”

 

Offensive Standouts: Davante Adams and Aaron Jones

After a quieter week to open the season, wide receiver Davante Adams showed up in full first Sunday. The star receiver led the team in receiving with 7 receptions for 106 yards (ESPN stats) and it was his 13th regular season game with 100 yards. The Rhodes were certainly open.

Running back Aaron Jones had quite the game as well, with a career high 23 carries, He finished the day with 116 rushing yards and 4 receptions for 34 yards (ESPN stats). Last year, Packers fans rightfully begged for more Aaron Jones touches, and it is nice to finally see him be more involved.

 

Defensive Standouts: Za’Darius Smith, Preston Smith, and Dean Lowry,

Once again, the Smith duo showed up for the Packers’ defense Sunday. The Vikings could not block Za’Darius for their lives and he finished the day with 6 tackles, 3 of which were solo and one hit on Cousins (ESPN stats). Preston Smith had a huge interception after a pass was deflected by rookie Darnell Savage and to add to that also finished the day with 2 solo tackles, 1 pass deflection, and 1 hit on Cousins (ESPN stats).

“The energy in the building is different because of those guys,” Rodgers shared in a postgame interview.

Defensive end Dean Lowry had a nice showing as well. He recovered the fumble in the second quarter, and he was pressuring Cousins non stop throughout the game. He finished the game with 3 tackles, 2 of which were solo and 1 for a loss, and 1 pass deflection (ESPN stats).

 

Up next the Packers get a visit from the Denver Broncos at Lambeau Field. Kickoff is set for 1 PM EST…Oh, and I’ll be at Lambeau to see it all go down in person. 

 

Sarah Kelliher is a contributor for CheeseheadTV. She can be found via Twitter @sarahkelliher4

 

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Comments (34)

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Lphill's picture

September 15, 2019 at 07:20 pm

I think Allison’s fumble was a turning point that kept the Vikings in it plus a couple more missed interceptions didn’t help the cause this game could have been a blowout but chalk that up to being early in the season, hey the Broncos let Trubisky march down the field with 30 seconds to set up the game winning field goal. How do you explain that?

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JHitTheB's picture

September 16, 2019 at 02:24 am

Well the call on Chubb was just bs. That gave the Bears 15 free yards and allowed them to keep their final time out.

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EddieLeeIvory's picture

September 16, 2019 at 04:05 pm

Yep. horrible ref. just like against the Saints. again.

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EddieLeeIvory's picture

September 16, 2019 at 04:06 pm

Right Allison killed the momentum & cost us 3 or 7 points.

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stockholder's picture

September 15, 2019 at 07:23 pm

Rodgers was an offensive stand out. He played Cautious. His teammates fumbled, stopped blocking, poor hiking , Failed to run for some first downs, and just couldn't catch some well thrown balls. His exchange with his coach got buried. He didn't self- destruct , and panic. Winners show composer. Arron Rodgers has returned. His teammates only need to do their part.

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edp1959's picture

September 15, 2019 at 07:33 pm

100 percent agree.

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JHitTheB's picture

September 16, 2019 at 11:23 am

Thank you. AR is getting too much blame for WRs not doing their part. But like a good leader, he takes the blame for his teammates and doesn't call them out. He placed some nice dimes to Adams and MVS that hit them in both hands that they failed to catch. If those catches are made we're talking about a potential 300 yard game. I know, I know - "if if was fifth we'd all be drunk" and all that but come on...what more can the man do? No one is open - he's holding the ball too long. WRs drop easy catches right in their hands and he can't throw anyone open anymore. He gets the team lined up and lets the play clock run to take time away from the opponents offense and give the D time to rest and he's thinking he's smarter than everyone else on the field or changing plays. The lack of understanding game mechanics and situational football posted by the majority here is just mind boggling.

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fastmoving's picture

September 17, 2019 at 01:03 am

Yeah, thats why MLF talked to him. got it. Besides that, nobody got a much better group of WRs on this planet. But at least you are right that your understanding of game mechanics and situational football is no near where it used to be.

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JHitTheB's picture

September 17, 2019 at 06:19 am

"Besides that, nobody got a much better group of WRs on this planet."

You've got to be trolling...NE, KC, NO, LAR, MN, ATL, DAL, PHI, CLE, HOU ALL have better WR groups. Just because players put on a Packers uniform doesn't make them the best in the NFL. There are many teams sporting much deeper groups of playmakers. You should pay attention.

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PatrickGB's picture

September 15, 2019 at 09:07 pm

Nice article, thanks. Although the injuries are worrisome they are not key going forward. Looks like Z had his ankle taped but the injury to Greene might be more long term. I hope that Goodson can get up to speed next week.

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PAPackerbacker's picture

September 16, 2019 at 03:53 am

Thank the defense for this win, but it is a win. The offense looked great in the first quarter then self destructed for the rest of the game, allowing the Vikings plenty of opportunities to get back into the game. Thank the defense for not allowing the Vikings to score on many of the opportunities they were given. Some pretty bad decisions on the offensive side of the ball just didn't make any sense, some coaching, some by the players. Luckily the Packers do have a top notch defense that kept the Vikings from scoring on the many opportunities they were given. The offense is a talented bunch and need to get it together and play more than one quarter of football. Go! pack! Go!

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Packers2019's picture

September 16, 2019 at 08:32 am

We need a #2 WR. The WR's were not getting open except for Adams.

I have been saying it since the draft. MVA and Allison have not stepped up so far.

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packerbackerjim's picture

September 16, 2019 at 01:02 pm

I disagree. The touchdown showed Allison’s skill, going up to get the ball that only he can. The sideline catch where he was ridden out of bounds again showed his skill, unfortunately the DB was able to zforce the him out of bounds. The fumble was on him; a painful learning experience. Plus Rodgers has a degree of comfort with him.

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JHitTheB's picture

September 16, 2019 at 04:29 pm

That was MVS who was knocked out of bounds in the air, not Allison. Ironically I think he even held onto the ball that time almost landing on his neck but failed to hang onto to the other one he high pointed nicely in bounds landing on his ass lol. After the fumble Allison was pretty quiet.

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mnklitzke's picture

September 16, 2019 at 10:48 am

Why does it feel like once the first x amount of scripted plays where done we see the same old Rodgers? To start he was up tempo hiking the ball with 10secs on the play clock. After those scripted plays happen he is taking it down the play clock and not getting the ball out. We need to find a #2 WR we have a bunch of 3's and 4's. I would place a call to Dez..

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Jonathan Spader's picture

September 16, 2019 at 12:18 pm

How the call to Dez goes.

Packers: Hi Dez

Bryant: Thank God someone still needs me.

Packers: It wasn't a catch. *click*

Dez: *sobs*

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HeavenlyRa's picture

September 16, 2019 at 12:31 pm

It's almost as if bringing the play clock down also brings the game clock lower, which decreases the amount of time that the Vikings offense is on the field.

Hmmmmm...

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HeavenlyRa's picture

September 16, 2019 at 12:31 pm

It's almost as if bringing the play clock down also brings the game clock lower, which decreases the amount of time that the Vikings offense is on the field.

Hmmmmm...

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edp1959's picture

September 16, 2019 at 05:36 pm

So you have a copy of the game plan, please share with us.

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murf7777's picture

September 16, 2019 at 12:30 pm

I took some time and analyzed the 1st half....some thoughts....Nothing seems to look as good or bad as it seems live.

-the quick thoughts after game on Graham with many fans is they want him gone, stating he can't block, can't get open. What I saw was someone who had 5 good blocks in the first half. He was asked to block a lot and wasn't in much of the passing scheme for whatever reason. He's not Lewis, but he did his job well.
-Taylor good run blocking, but somewhat suspect on pass blocking.
-The offense actually also looked good in the second half. 4th drive GMO fumbles on the Vikings 30, otherwise probably 3 or 7 more points. 5th drive not so good. 6th drive, they got a 1st down, then false start sets them back, Rodgers throws a beautiful 30 yd sideline throw to Adams and last second Harrison hits ball out of adams hand. Last drive, driving the ball and on 3rd and 1, receiver I believe GMO catches quick toss and MVS doesn't block his man or GMO makes the first down. IF MVS blocks there we probably have two more scoring drives, that is a fixable issue, but in the future MVS blocks or he gets sat down on the bench.
-Rodgers looked very good in first half throughout.

Defense
-Martinez is a beast tackling and making splash plays, should've had that FF on Cousins with slapping the ball out but somehow the Vikings recovered.
-Savage what a great find, he might've taken a bad angle on D. Cook's long run, but how many make that play one on one in open field? If Adams stays on his block vs trying to do a 180 turn, he makes the play on Cook and it never gets to the backfield. Adams didn't have a good 1st half.
-Jenkins is very physical on run blocking
-Great to have the Smith brothers, both athletic, long and play smart controlled football.
-Not much from Lancaster or Gary
-Clark = Beast Lowry had some good plays and happy they signed him.

Again, 1st half only.

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murf7777's picture

September 16, 2019 at 12:35 pm

I agree with Klizke….We should go after Dez, as long as he passes a physical on his Achilles. Not much downside and great upside having a veteran with great experience who can play big in the redzone and 3rd downs. Give him a one year deal, his signing could be just what the O needs to really take off!

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flackcatcher's picture

September 16, 2019 at 01:21 pm

Nice well rounded write up Sarah. There will be a lot written and spoken about the problems of the Packers offense this week. A lot of it is going to be overheated in this age of hot takes. At best, the Packer offense is as other CHTV commenters say 'a work in progress'. And as fans we are going to have live with it (for now). Outside of two great individual plays, the Packers defense totally controlled the Vikings at the LOS and in the secondary. The D line constant pressure collapsed the Vikings pocket protection forcing Cousins up and into early throws in the Vikings pass plays. That's why the Vikings QB looked so bad so early and thru out the Vikings pass game. The discipline the front 7 showed in run coverage was unreal. Go back and watch Cooks run, you will see Lowery breaking contain. After that, never again. The entire D line played smart across the board and in their assignments. They were gashed, but never for the deep run, forcing the Viking into deep third down more often than not. An impressive performance across the board. Bring on the Broncos.

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wimiller's picture

September 16, 2019 at 02:01 pm

is there any reason at all to keep graham on the roster? or have him play more than 7 snaps a game? the vikings adjusted by taking Adams out after he kept getting open, but we really do not have a number 2 or 3 receiver, we skip those and drop to a number 4 and 5. maybe shepherd? lazard? kumerow? on the good side, looks like we bought and drafted ourselves a professional defense.

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RCPackerFan's picture

September 16, 2019 at 02:08 pm

What I learned is when the offense gets rolling, look out. This can be a very dangerous offense. We got a really good glimpse of what it can be.
They just need to find a way to sustain it, and they need to adjust when teams adjust to what they do it. They need to stop shooting themselves in their own feet too. They were just a little bit off on a number of other plays that would have kept drives alive. The Allison fumble, the bad snap by Linsley really hurt. The missed opportunities were the great throw MVS couldn't haul in, the one Adams couldn't bring in, and the one with Aaron Jones running down the sideline. All of those were very close to being completed for big gains.

Also, this defense is good! And this defense could get even better. Burks will be back. Gary should be playing more by the end of the season. Keke is a guy who could come in and produce. Josh Jackson is a ball hawk type of CB who is trying to catch up from missing part of the preseason. This defense could be much better by the end of the year!

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flackcatcher's picture

September 16, 2019 at 06:18 pm

Breaking QB 1 of bad habits and fixing his mechanics is going to be year plus project. That will solve some, but not all of the current problems on offensive. MLF must find a way to simplify his play book for Rodgers, a lot of the early snap issues is Rodgers calling out the play and going to what option he is running, it's taking too long. Vikings defense is good, with great athletes. MVS made a great play, MN CB made a equally great play carrying his feet out of bounds Rodgers was on time and target, Jones ran a good route and got free, it was a great play tipping the ball away. They get paid too.

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RCPackerFan's picture

September 17, 2019 at 07:00 am

Honestly I think some of the habits are being broken. But it does take a while.

I agree about simplifying the play book. Or finding a quicker way to get plays in so they can go a little faster. It takes some time. These first few games are essentially like preseason games where they need to iron out a few things.

I'm not taking anything away from the defense on those plays. My point was more that on 2 of the plays the WR's had the balls in their hands on key plays and weren't able to bring the balls in. The defense made great plays on the balls. Had they been able to bring in those catches, who knows what the offense would have done on those drives. The MVS play I was talking about was in the middle of the field. The one on the sideline was kind of an unfortunate thing. I don't think the DB meant to carry him out of bounds, but it worked out that way.
The Jones play Rodgers needed to lead him a bit more and get it outside a bit more. But was a great play by the defensive player.

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flackcatcher's picture

September 18, 2019 at 05:56 am

Got your point RC. I agree with you overall. These were 50/50 plays that both defensive's were pretty much winning all day. Unusual in today's NFL. I should have made that clear from the start.

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sam1's picture

September 16, 2019 at 02:16 pm

Did Tonyan even play? I understand Lewis got injured, is that correct? My guess is the coaching staff must still see something in Graham, being not a football expert I wonder what it is? And I totally believe the WR corps will get worked out as too who is who and just be fine! Just hope it happens soon!

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Hematite's picture

September 16, 2019 at 02:53 pm

The Vikings aren't 1-0 in the NFC North as stated in the headline.

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EddieLeeIvory's picture

September 16, 2019 at 04:11 pm

What's the diagnosis on Raven Greene?

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4thand1's picture

September 16, 2019 at 04:26 pm

The defense is ahead of the offense no doubt. I was hoping for 3 weeks for the offense to gel, but looks like it will take a little longer. For a team starting 2-0 against 2 division rivals with really good defenses, there is a lot of doom and gloom around here. Do I have to say it ?.........................R-E-L-A-X DAMMIT!

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PackfanNY's picture

September 16, 2019 at 08:13 pm

I finally figured it out. The weird Skol chant is Icelandic for “Second Place!”

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JHitTheB's picture

September 17, 2019 at 01:45 pm

I think you meant "tied with the Bears for LAST place." The Lions are currently in 2nd with a better record than both LOL.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

September 17, 2019 at 02:00 am

Kenny Clark was the outstanding defensive player.

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