Game Recap: Packers Top Vikings 43-34 in Season Opener

Sarah Kelliher recaps the Packers’ week one win against the Vikings.

The Green Bay Packers (1-0, 1-0 NFC North) were all gas no brake in their season opener, topping the Minnesota Vikings (0-1, 0-1 NFC North) 43-34 at U.S. Bank Stadium. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers led the way with a tremendous performance; the seasoned veteran was 32/44 for 364 yards and 4 touchdowns (ESPN stats).  

The Packers’ offense didn’t waste any time finding a rhythm Sunday. They marched down the field with authority on their first drive but in the end, had to settle for 3-points, with kicker Mason Crosby opening the scoring front with a 31-yard field goal.  

The energy on offense unfortunately didn’t transfer over to the d-train on their opening drive, a theme we would see time and time again in the Packers’ opener. The Vikings literally ran through the Packers, rushing for 28 yards and eventually a touchdown from running back Dalvin Cook to quickly take a 7-3 lead.

Luckily, it was the only time Minnesota would lead the entire game, as Green Bay responded with a massive safety from cornerback Jaire Alexander a couple drives later. That moment changed the course of the game, giving the Packers all the momentum in the world.

The Packers followed up Alexander’s big defensive play with another field goal from Crosby, this time for 43 yards, to retake the lead with a perfectly normal football score of 8-7.  

After linebacker Za’Darius Smith came up with a huge third-down sack for Green Bay, the Packers followed up with a beautiful play from Rodgers and his favorite receiver, Davante Adams. Rodgers found Adams in the endzone for a 24-yard LASER to give the Packers a 15-7 lead. With a young and inexperienced secondary, the Vikings had truly no answers for Adams on that play and pretty much every play that followed on Sunday.  

Alexander clearly wasn’t satisfied enough with his safety early on because he went out and got an interception to add to his week one resume too. The play, once again, resulted in some positive momentum for Green Bay on offense. Rodgers, looking as sharp as ever, responded by firing a ball deep to receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling for a 45-yard touchdown to make it 22-7 with 14 seconds left in the half.

The second half wasn’t as pretty for MVS, with two big drops, but he was still able to showcase his skill after a tough last year. Luckily, Adams was there to save the day, connecting with Rodgers for his second touchdown of the game to extend he Packers’ lead to 29-10. From there, it was back and forth between the two NFC North rivals.

On the next drive, Cousins found wide receiver Adam Thielen for a 37-yard touchdown and Cook was able to run it in for the 2-point conversion to cut the Packers’ led to 29-18.

Luckily, Green Bay responded with a touchdown of their own. This time, getting fan-favorite receiver Allen Lazard in the mix, for a 28-yard touchdown to make it 36-18.

Per tradition, the Packers continued to keep the Vikings in the game even though they were very clearly outplaying them. The Packers defense let up another Cook touchdown and, once again the Vikings’ 2-point attempt was good.

However, that didn’t phase Green Bay as they responded with another deep pass to Adams, which eventually resulted in a touchdown for running back Aaron Jones to make it 43-26 Packers.

In garbage time, Cousins found Thielen on a 19-yard play and the Vikings converted on yet another 2-point conversion to give us our final score of 43-34.

With a huge division win, a fired-up Aaron Rodgers and a few concerning injuries, there was plenty to take away from week one for the Green Bay Packers.

 

What we learned: New year, same defense

Unless you’re new around here,  the Packers’ defense struggling to stop the run should be old news for you. I was cautiously optimistic about how Green Bay would handle Dalvin Cook and I’m glad I was because things looked scary at times, especially on the Vikings’ opening drive.

Luckily, Green Bay’s offense was on the field so much and made the most of it when they were. As a result, the Packers’ d-train got some much-needed rest. The defense was able to hold Cook to just 50 yards, but he still got in the end zone two times and converted on multiple two-point attempts.   

Last season, we learned that stopping the run was the difference between making the Super Bowl and walking away empty handed for Green Bay. Let’s hope that Pettine and his crew can go back to the tape and see where they can improve as they look ahead to week two.

 

What went right: The offense

If you would’ve told me the Packers would put up 43 points on the Vikings last week, I would’ve thought you were crazy. If Sunday was any indication of what year two will look like in LaFleur’s offense, then sign me the heck up. The Packers’ offense put up 43 points and 524 yards of total offense (ESPN stats) with literally every player getting involved. From touchdown catches from all three key wide receivers, to the offensive line allowing no sacks, to the incredible blocks from rookie tight end Josiah Deguara, the offense looked nothing short of efficient.

 

What went wrong: Injuries

Although the Packers are leaving week one with a win, they took a few big L’s on the injury-side of things. Nose tackle Kenny Clark left the game with a groin injury after going down awkwardly in the first half and guard Lucas Patrick left the game with a shoulder injury.

Perhaps the biggest gut punch was watching Lane Taylor go down after he fought back from a season-ending injury last year. Taylor looked visibly upset and was carted off the field with what the Packers reported as a knee/leg injury.

 

Offensive MVPs: Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams

Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams are stupid good together. Like, this must be some sort of cheat code…right? 12 and 17 both had record-breaking performances and it was a thing of beauty to watch.

Rodgers passed Eli Manning on the all-time passing TDs list (now 7th) after his stunning 4-touchdown performance and he looked as elite as ever. Whatever Rodgers saw, and is now adjusting, from his 2010 tape is working, and hopefully it keeps working.  

With 14 receptions for 156 yards and two touchdowns (ESPN stats), Adams tied the franchise record for most receptions in a single game (Don Huston vs. Giants in 1942), according to the Packers.

 

Defensive MVP: Jaire Alexander

This is the year a lot of people predicted Jaire Alexander to make a leap and he seems to be trending in that direction. With two momentum changing plays, Jaire absolutely was the defensive MVP Sunday. In addition to his safety and interception he had 5 total tackles and 1 QB hit (ESPN sacks).  

 

Here’s a look at some of your favorite takeaways!

  • Davante Adams is a top 3 receiver. MVS would be very good if he could catch consistently. Defense is worrying, but I'll give it a pass being week one. - @beet_gordo

 

  • 1) Following the game on Twitter sucks. 2) Loved the confidence in MVS 3) Hope KC is ok because it appears the defense didn’t come out for the 2nd half. - @EricRose4

 

 

 

 

Up next, the Green Bay Packers match up with yet another NFC North rival; the Detroit Lions. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. EST next Sunday (9/20) inside an empty Lambeau Field.

 

 

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

 

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Comments (23)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
cinpackback's picture

September 13, 2020 at 05:30 pm

Thanks for the breakdown! Couldn’t find a free audio/radio cast (New York transplant). Didn’t realize how much I missed these guys! GPG!

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jeepingmakooi's picture

September 13, 2020 at 08:03 pm

Get the hot mic app and listen to the guys commenty of the game!

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dobber's picture

September 13, 2020 at 08:15 pm

WTMJ.com

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LayingTheLawe's picture

September 13, 2020 at 08:26 pm

I didn't check it today but in past seasons I have used the Tune In Radio app.
GPG!

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Lajur's picture

September 13, 2020 at 10:59 pm

Might be location, but I was able to watch for free on NFL.com app.

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CAG123's picture

September 13, 2020 at 05:34 pm

Three 2pt conversions in a game is pretty disgusting I won’t be too harsh on them because the offense was amazing and the def did chip in 3 solid quarters of play we just need that energy for all 4 next week! Let’s gooooo

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NickPerry's picture

September 14, 2020 at 05:56 am

Yup, going 3 for 3 on 3 point conversations and allowing 24 points in the 4th quarter doesn't instill the confidence I may have had if the Packers held them to even 7 points in the 4th. The TD to Theilin where he beat Savage was just a horrible play by Savage. He's GOT to be better than that.

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PatrickGB's picture

September 13, 2020 at 05:58 pm

Perhaps the team might now consider bringing Mack up from the PS? A big guy in the middle would help with Clark out.

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JerseyCheese's picture

September 13, 2020 at 07:01 pm

Love Alexander but if he really wants to be considered one of the leagues best he needs to stop giving up touchdowns one-on-one. Seems like he gets burnt too easy to be considered one of the games elite. But he is certainly a playmaker. Both him and King are not afraid of contact. They made some crazy hits.

I know it's one week but I'm definitely worried about this defense and how teams know they can just run all over them. Our offense looked great but I hope we don't have to put up 40 plus to win. Giving up 34 is usually a loss. Defense has a lot to work on.

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CrazyPackersFan's picture

September 13, 2020 at 07:05 pm

Offense was unstoppable, and it needed to be today. I spent all offseason wondering if Aaron Rodgers still had it, and I think I got my answer. Btw, autocorrect caused one "conversion" to be spelled "2-point conversation" in your article. And there should be a conversation about the 2-pointers. Can't allow them to be that easy.

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SarahKelliher's picture

September 13, 2020 at 07:47 pm

Thanks for catching this. It somehow slipped by me in my review. I've made the correction. Totally agree with you about the 2-pointers. But hey, a win is a win. Go Pack Go! And thanks for reading!

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Tundraboy's picture

September 13, 2020 at 07:47 pm

Picked up the game at 8-7 and was overjoyed until I heard Kenny was hurt. Love the pedal to the metal offense but that D in second half. Oh boy. Pettine is on notice in my mind.
Can not squander this offense with Capers lke 2nd half swoons,not this year. Rodgers showed he's ready to perhaps have his best season ever, and I hope the organization sees that ,and makes the necessary moves to improve the run defense.

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Branden Burke's picture

September 13, 2020 at 08:22 pm

I wanted Pettine fired after the san Fran game, and I never call for coaches to be fired. This defense isn't working. It's middle of the road and you don't win championships with average to below average defenses.

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Coldworld's picture

September 13, 2020 at 11:23 pm

A defense with the Clark out for most of the game. Greene unavailable and a rookie UDFA starting at ILB2 who wasn’t in the initial roster. Barnes has issues on the first drive but actually looked good after. But then the first drive was probably the only time cook looked dominant. Clark will be a big loss, but ILB should get better and Greene will make us better overall.

Just wish we didn’t go to soft coverage In 3rd quarter, especially after it allowed yards on their last drive of the first half. I don’t like that approach generally, but it seems to suit us less than most. I don’t like that Pettine seems content with it coming with an apparent dilution of intensity.

Otherwise I see a mixed bag that I think should get better. Clark would be a huge loss though Lancaster was better than he was at the end of last year at least. We need that central component to be effective. We did not have it today.

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CoachDino's picture

September 14, 2020 at 03:10 am

I'm with you, when it counted the defense played well. Very well. One of 2019 issues we often forget was how the Offense went 3 and out so often the defense was on the field way too much. This offense did a fantastic job and will be a big help to the Defense and cover up some issues.

Cook had 50 yards? what 50 yards? That's fantastic!!! it should not be under played. He is going to get yards and score TD's. He is arguably the#1 back in the league, what more does one expect.

With the Injuries, which the Pack just needs to overcome, this is the NFL you take advantage of the good and stem the bad, I see the biggest issue being the horrendous Prevent Defense. Now if that's the worst takeaway on Defense I call it a great game. Same guy who called the Corner blitz and the calls that held the Vikings to abismal #'s for 3 quarter does need to get the Prevent D in order. Kudos to the offense for keeping the pedal to the metal and making it a mute point in the 4th.

Lets not get too excited either way, as they say very small sample size yet what was displayed today is very encouraging.

ps... Mack needs to be active every week.

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Leatherhead's picture

September 14, 2020 at 07:05 pm

A comment about the defense.....

Even with the conditions you mentioned, the defense really choked the life out of the Vikings. They scored a TD at about 11:30 of the first quarter. They got a long FG to end the half. They got squat in the third quarter.

Meanwhile, the Packers got to 29. So it’s a 19 point lead going into the 4th quarter and we play prevent and the Vikings get three TDs and people don’t like that. But Coach LaFleur hasn’t lost a single game where he’s had a halftime lead.....maybe we should give his game management decisions the benefit of the doubt at least until he loses one.

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Lphill's picture

September 13, 2020 at 07:40 pm

Giving up 34 points and 3 , 2 point conversions is something to be concerned about and losing Kenny Clark doesn’t help , yes it’s a road win but this defense has some work to do .

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Branden Burke's picture

September 13, 2020 at 08:11 pm

I was pretty happy overall with the offense. Could have had a bit more success with the traditional run game. Obviously don't love the injuries. Hopefully we scrape by there. And hopefully the defense figures it out. Nobody wants to play against KC and feel inadequate at defense.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

September 13, 2020 at 08:42 pm

That looked like the 2011 Rodgers.

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JohnnyLogan's picture

September 13, 2020 at 08:52 pm

Which comes with a Capers defense. Likely won't fire Pettine mid-season but MLF needs to have a sit-down and tell him to get his act together. Run D was bad even with Clark in there and the pass D in the 4th was embarrassing. The idea of zone is to make the other team work hard and take time off the clock in order to score. The exact opposite happened. The Vikes scored so easily three times it was as if there was no defense on the field. Maybe we don't have the players on D we need, but Pettine isn't making good use of what we do have. Hope we don't stick with him as we did with Capers when it was obvious he had to go.

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keeley2's picture

September 13, 2020 at 09:02 pm

Couldn't help but notice we had to put up with that pathetic flugal horn after a good play by the Queens. God,that is soooo annoying!

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Leatherhead's picture

September 14, 2020 at 07:08 pm

Fortunately, there were few reasons to blow it until after the game had already been decided.

AND we get to beat them down again later this year.

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ImaPayne's picture

September 14, 2020 at 08:29 am

Zimmer plays to win they no other coach so when the Vikes were down and the clock running out, dont the annoucers get it that the run game is not going to happen and its pass pass pass to get back into it? Apparently Petting didnt get it either. How about rushing 4 to contain and playing 6 d backs to stop the pass. You cant stop the pass by rushing 7 when the qb is elusive and makes you guys miss a lot.

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