Game Recap: Vikings Beat Packers 34-31

Sarah Kelliher recaps the Packers’ week eleven loss against the Vikings.

In a rollercoaster game at U.S. Bank Stadium, the Minnesota Vikings (5-5, 2-0 NFC North) escaped with a 34-31 win over the Green Bay Packers (8-3, 2-1 NFC North) to steal a game in the NFC North and improve to .500 on the year.

The Packers were the first to get a shot at things and started off hot. On the first play of the game, the Vikings seemingly forgot about Packers’ star wide receiver Davante Adams, and he and quarterback Aaron Rodgers connected for a 37-yard gain. However, the exciting start wasn’t enough, and the Packers were forced to settle for a field goal after two incomplete passes intended for wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling were incomplete. Kicker Mason Crosby’s 54-yard field goal was good, and the Packers took an early 3-0 lead.

The Vikings responded with an eerily similar drive to open up their scoring front. On 3rd and 6, quarterback Kirk Cousins connected with his star wide receiver, Justin Jefferson, for a 43-yard gain to move the chains and bring the Vikings to the edge of the red zone. However, it wasn’t enough to find the end zone after Green Bay linebacker Preston Smith sacked Cousins for a loss of 10 yards on 3rd and 5. The Vikings would also have to settle for a field goal and their 51-yard attempt was good to tie the game at 3-3.

Looking to take the lead, the Packers looked to get settled on offense. On 2nd and 6, a defensive holding penalty gifted Green Bay with 5 yards and the automatic first down to help get things started. Then, on 2nd and 6, Rodgers connected with running back AJ Dillon for a 13-yard pass and a first down. On 3rd and 9, Rodgers held onto the ball in the pocket for too long and was sacked for a loss of 5 yards and fumbled on the play. Luckily, he was able to fall on top of it, but Green Bay was still forced to punt it away.

Unlike Green Bay, Minnesota started to find something offensively on their next drive. On 3rd and 4, Cousins connected with wide receiver Adam Thielen for an 18-yard gain and a first down. Then, on 2nd and 7, Cousins looked downfield to Jefferson again and the results were catastrophic for the Packers. Jefferson came up with a huge 56-yard reception and was downed at the 1-yard line. After that, Vikings’ running back Dalvin Cook rushed up the middle for 1-yard and the touchdown. The extra point, however, was no good, so the Vikings only took a 9-3 lead.  

To start the second quarter, on 3rd and 12, the Rodgers to MVS deep ball finally worked for the Packers and they produced a 39-yard pass play to move the chains for Green Bay. After that, on 2nd and 8, Rodgers connected with Adams for 8-yards and a first down to move the Packers into the red zone. But, the Packers continued to struggle in the red zone and failed to find the end zone after back-to-back incomplete passes to MVS. Green Bay looked to Crosby for a 32-yard field goal, but his kick bounced off the left upright and was no good.

Minnesota just kept exposing Green Bay’s defense too. On the opening play of their next drive, they rubbed things in some more after Cousins connected with tight end Tyler Conklin for a 15-yard pickup and the first down. Then, the Packers gifted the Vikings with 37 free yards and a trip to just outside the red zone after safety Darnell Savage Jr. was flagged for defensive pass interference. And, just when it looked like the Packers forced a turnover after Savage came up with an interception, Green Bay was flagged with roughing the passer and the Vikings were gifted 10 more free yards. From there, Cousins connected with Thielen on 3rd and goal for a 10-yard touchdown to take a 16-3 lead.

Both teams would go three and out on their next drives after failing to connect in the pass game.  

With the ball back in their hands and just over four minutes left in the half, the Packers finally started to get into a rhythm on offense. On the first play of the drive, Rodgers connected with wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown for a 17-yard play and a first down. Then, on 3rd and 7, Rodgers connected with wide receiver and known BFF Randall Cobb for 15 yards and a first down to keep the chains moving and bring the Packers to the two-minute warning. To open their two-minute drill, on 2nd and 8, Rodgers connected with tight end Dominque Dafney for 8-yards to keep the chains moving. Then, on 3rd and 5, Rodgers fired one 25-yards downfield to tight end Josiah Deguara for his first career touchdown to cut the Vikings’ lead to 16-10 at the half.

Minnesota had one more opportunity to extend their lead before the half but went three and out.

To open the second half, the Vikings went on a 14-play, soul-sucking touchdown drive that stretched 75 yards and lasted nearly seven minutes (ESPN stats). On the first play, Cousins connected with Conklin for 15-yard to move the chains right out the gate. Then, on 2nd and 3, Cook rushed for 4-yards and the first down. From there, Cook continued to move the chains after first down runs on 3rd and 1,  2nd and 10 and 3rd and 1, respectively. After that, Cousins connected with who else but Justin Jefferson for a 9-yard touchdown and the Vikings extended their lead over the Packers to 23-10.

Green Bay was not going down without a fight though. To open their first offensive drive of the half, Rodgers connected with Adams on 2nd and 7 for 12 yards and a first down. Then, on the next play, 12 connected with 17 again, this time for 17 yards. From there, Rodgers took it himself and scrambled 18 yards for a first down on 2nd and 6 to put the Packers at the Vikings 21. On 1st and 10, EQ continued to get involved and came up with a big 11-yard gain to move the chains. On the next play, Rodgers had allllll day to find a receiver in the end zone and, after it felt like 10 minutes went by, Rodgers found Adams for the 10-yard touchdown to cut the Vikings lead to just 23-17.  

From there, the Packers’ defense started to make some much-needed plays. After they gave up another big Jefferson gain off a 21-yard pass play, Smith got to Cousins on 3rd and 10 for a strip sack. The Vikings recovered the fumble but were forced to punt it back to the Packers.

To open the fourth quarter, things got crazy. Green Bay proved they were very much still in this NFC North matchup after embarking on a 12-play, 94-yard touchdown drive that shaved 7:02 (ESPN stats) off the clock. The bad news? Offensive lineman Elgton Jenkins went down with a left knee injury and did not return. NFL Network and NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reported that the Packers fear he tore his ACL but will have an MRI to determine the final diagnosis.

But, just as they have all season, Green Bay proved that when they get hit they can get up and continue to battle. On 3rd and 6, Rodgers connected with Adams for 13-yards and a first down. Then, EQ continued to shine and, on 3rd and 1, produced a 26-yard pass play to push the Packers past midfield. From there, Dillon rushed for 7 yards on 3rd and 1 to keep the drive alive and then Rodgers connected with Adams for an 18-yard touchdown to take a 24-23 lead.

Minnesota was unfazed though. They responded with a touchdown drive of their own that stretched 79 yards and shaved over five minutes off the clock. The Vikings continued to bully the Packers’ secondary, and it wasn’t pretty. Cousins connected with wide receiver K.J. Osborn for a 19-yard play to move the chains. Then, on 2nd and 6, Cousins connected with Jefferson for a 6-yard pickup to move the chains. From there, Cousins found Thelien for back-to-back first down conversions before, once again, looking deep downfield to Jefferson for 23-yards and a touchdown. Minnesota attempted a two-point conversion and got it after Cook rushed untouched into the end zone to extend the Vikings’ lead to 31-24 with 2:17 left.

Hopefully, you didn’t run to the kitchen to get a late-game snack because, in a matter of seconds, the Packers tied the game. On the first play of their next drive, Rodgers looked deep to MVS and the two connected for a 75-yard touchdown to tie the game at 31-31.

With 2:08 left, the Vikings would have a chance not to Vikings and, with a little help a long the way, they were able to survive. On 1st and 5, Cousins threw what was initially ruled an interception by Savage, but the play was reviewed and later reversed after the officials ruled it was not a catch.  

To open the two-minute warning, Cook gave the Packers a taste of their own “running backs that can catch” medicine and produced a 19-yard pass play to move the chains for the Vikings. Then, Thielen stepped up and he and Cousins connected for a 26-yard gain. From there, Cook continued to wreak havoc and rushed for 12-yards and a first down to bring Minnesota into the red zone. After that, the Vikings didn’t want to give Rodgers and the Packers another shot and ran out the clock until there were just two seconds left before calling a timeout and attempting a 29-yard field goal to win it. Their attempt was good, and the Vikings beat the Packers 34-31 as time expired.

 

What we learned: The Packers desperately need the bye week

Is it week 13 yet? The Packers desperately need to make it to the bye week without sustaining any additional injuries than they already have. Losing Jenkins to a possible ACL tear is nightmare city for the Packers and it sucks to watch what feels like the eleventh game in a row that a key player on the roster goes down with a serious injury.

With the Rams coming to Lambeau next week, this beat-up Packers team will have to, once again, find a way to dig deep and win another huge NFC matchup.

 

What went right: Fourth quarter offense

Not sure why the Packers waited until the fourth quarter to wake up on offense but, when they did, it was really pretty.

With great plays from Adams, Dillon, MVS and EQ to move the chains, it’s further proof that this team is best when they are balancing things and not trying to play hero ball on every play.

 

What went wrong: Defense

Welcome back, old Packers’ defense. You were not missed.

After several weeks of truly elite play, Green Bay’s defense looked incredibly sluggish on Sunday. I know Justin Jefferson is an extremely gifted player but allowing him to score two touchdowns and drop 169 yards (ESPN stats) on you when you know what he’s capable of dong is pretty disappointing.

 

Offensive MVP: Davante Adams

Speaking of elite wide receivers, the Packers’ number one guy had a nice showing on Sunday. Davante Adams was certainly the offensive MVP after coming up with 7 receptions for 115 yards and two touchdowns (ESPN stats).

 

Defensive MVP: Preston Smith

Have a day, Preston Smith! During a week where the Packers’ defense looked poor overall, Smith was one of the few bright spots. He continued to play at a high level this week and provided several game-changing plays for Green Bay. He finished the day with 6 total tackles, 4 of which were solo, 2 sacks, 2 tackles for a loss, and 3 QB hits (ESPN stats).

 

Up next, the Green Bay Packers return home to Lambeau Field for a matchup with the LA Rams. Kickoff is set for Sunday, November 28 at 4:25 p.m. EST.

 

 

Sarah Kelliher is a contributor for CheeseheadTV and a podcaster with Pack-A-Day Podcast. She can be found via Twitter @sarahkelliher4

 

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Comments (49)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
albert999's picture

November 21, 2021 at 05:13 pm

When will some coach step up out of the safe norm bullshit and just correct shit
Same shit answer in press conferences every week by lafleur

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murf7777's picture

November 21, 2021 at 07:30 pm

I know he is such a shitty coach~ are you really a GB fan?

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albert999's picture

November 21, 2021 at 08:49 pm

Yeah are u

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murf7777's picture

November 22, 2021 at 06:08 am

Albert, you seem to be seeking perfection and unfortunately, it’s not out there. You will always be disappointed and make derogatory remarks unless you change your way of thinking. Think in terms of comparison to other past and present coaches. If you do that you will realize that Matt LaFleur, even thou he has a great QB, is one of the best young coaches in the game. Is he perfect, NO, but nobody is!

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Lphill's picture

November 21, 2021 at 05:18 pm

You can look at several plays in this game and say the if the Packers make that INT or one more third down stop , they would win

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NJMagic's picture

November 21, 2021 at 05:31 pm

I've been saying that in every close Packers game for the past 10 years... Too many missed opportunities and shooting yourself in the foot (Savage, OL, Keke, etc)

Two extra thoughts-
1) how did that punt get off when it was in the dirt??? Wow.

2) Taylor doesn't have much burst. They need a new backup for Dillon.

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Eighteen17's picture

November 21, 2021 at 05:34 pm

Pathetic defense. Stokes gets beat like a red headed stepchild almost every play.

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Coldworld's picture

November 21, 2021 at 05:37 pm

And yet it came down to a last minute field goal

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Packers1985's picture

November 21, 2021 at 05:42 pm

That's because of our offense. Our defense totally folded when it mattered. Our secondary was getting beaten all night.

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Caden819's picture

November 21, 2021 at 06:27 pm

Yeah because it’s not like the special teams left 3 on the board… or the offense failed to capitalize on multiple occasions

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edp1959's picture

November 21, 2021 at 06:35 pm

Rodgers gave the Packers the lead at the end and the defense blew it period.

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Caden819's picture

November 22, 2021 at 09:50 am

When the inept offense couldn't even get going in the first half, punting twice and missing a field goal. What did you want the defense to do? You cant rely on the defense every game, its time for the O to step up

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ImaPayne's picture

November 21, 2021 at 06:50 pm

ya great defensive coaching allowing stokes to cover the best tall receiver in foitball.

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bjkdad44's picture

November 21, 2021 at 11:51 pm

Who else?

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cpabandit's picture

November 21, 2021 at 07:20 pm

Stokes runs around like the Keystone Cops. I thought Jermichael Finley had Hand of Stone, but it seems that's Savage has taken over that name.

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Philarod's picture

November 21, 2021 at 06:17 pm

Just not a good day defensively, other than from P Smith, and at times, Kenny Clark.
...
Jefferson was probably the player of the day overall, as not only did he put up those huge numbers, but he also drew a long PI penalty -- poorly played by our Dbacks.

Davante was good, and MVS and Dillon had their moments, but in what world was Rodgers not the offensive MVP today?

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NJMagic's picture

November 21, 2021 at 06:18 pm

In the world where he decided not to show up until halftime... This offense can't function when he's missing wide open receivers and going for a long balls instead of the planned progression.

Randall Cobb's expression said it all.

He was not seeing the field well at all in the first half. And in the second half he operated best when he played within the game plan.

You think he would have learned that by now

Also, if it takes half a game to get on the same page as your receivers, perhaps practice DOES matter

And our defense got beat, but what a gutsy performance by all of them.

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Lphill's picture

November 21, 2021 at 06:22 pm

So free pass to the defense giving up 34 points?

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edp1959's picture

November 21, 2021 at 06:23 pm

Ohh so you were in the huddle? Tell us all what the planned progression was.

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Philarod's picture

November 21, 2021 at 06:59 pm

During much of the season, the defense has been both gutsy and very good. Surprisingly good. Not so much today.
On the day, the Pack had the ball 8 times, without benefit of a turnover or short field.
First half was not great, but not bad. FG, position to score a Fg (missed), punt, punt, TD.
Second half: 3 TDs in a many possessions.
And this without their best back and by game's end, their two best O-lineman out.

I'd venture to say that 23 for 33, 385 yards, 4 TDs (including the last 4 times they had possession, including from their own 6) for a 148.4 passer rating is one helluva game.

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Packers1985's picture

November 21, 2021 at 07:30 pm

That too with not much practice and also bum toe and still people are complaining about him not making plays for 1 qtr.

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Coldworld's picture

November 21, 2021 at 06:47 pm

Feel like I’m back on APC reading this thread

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Leatherhead's picture

November 22, 2021 at 12:10 am

There does seem to be a lot of gristle in the sausage today.

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ImaPayne's picture

November 21, 2021 at 07:03 pm

what it really came down to is The Vikes did there homework, they always do, and Stokes was deemed their savior, putting Jefferson on stokes pretty much sealed the deal.

Dont want to hear any rookie shit excuse either. We all heard how Adams was making a fool of him in training camp and apparently he never got it. May take, the guy aint too bright. Game set match.

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jannes bjornson's picture

November 21, 2021 at 07:55 pm

Where was the Deep Safety, genius?

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LeotisHarris's picture

November 21, 2021 at 08:52 pm

The Packers know they're will be .500 teams that always do there homework.

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albert999's picture

November 21, 2021 at 07:21 pm

Oh we need to put our guys in a better place to make things happen
Then why don’t you do it with your frickin million dollar coaching contracts
Every fucking week the same bullshit replies

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albert999's picture

November 21, 2021 at 07:23 pm

Stupid mental errors
Letting Crosby off the hook
Grow some balls lafleur

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albert999's picture

November 21, 2021 at 07:24 pm

Call em out nagler in the questions

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LeotisHarris's picture

November 21, 2021 at 08:48 pm

This is pure gold, albert! An Ernie Von Schledorn-like level of greatness.

If you see "Call em out nagler in the questions" merch available on CHTV, lawyer-up and sue the bastages!

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PhantomII's picture

November 21, 2021 at 07:52 pm

Okay Gute...This is why you move up to #20 and draft Jefferson. He should have went top 3 in the draft. Kid is good as it gets for his age.
Most good coached defenses take something away from a good offense. We took the ball away from them after they scored.

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albert999's picture

November 21, 2021 at 08:50 pm

We need to corrected this and that…..well than correct it…that’s what you get paid for

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albert999's picture

November 21, 2021 at 08:51 pm

If I don’t correct shit in my job I get fired

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albert999's picture

November 21, 2021 at 08:52 pm

Every week ….oh we need to get better….come on

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albert999's picture

November 21, 2021 at 08:53 pm

Just sell more fake packer stock

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NJMagic's picture

November 21, 2021 at 09:11 pm

Please; I don't need to be in the huddle, you can watch the all 22 to see him passing up the easy pass.

I think if he plays all 4 quarters the way he played the last 2, we have a reasonable shot at the SB.

Why are people dumping on this defense that finally cracked under injuries??

Did anybody notice who was lining up across from Preston?? They played pretty damn well for having to either sell out for pressure or cover forever.

Hopefully Gary heals up soon!

Man, CTV I get how much easier it is to dump on the Defense, but why are we letting the offense and Rodgers not get called out for the slow starts???

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Packers1985's picture

November 21, 2021 at 11:17 pm

Today the slow start didn't mattered because the offense got the lead when it mattered. But the defense didn't finish it. Even offense has injuries that didn't stop us scoring 31 right. Likewise the no.3 ranked defense has to win the game if the offense put up 31 points on board.

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edp1959's picture

November 22, 2021 at 05:51 am

All 22 my ass, this is a coaches tool to see how the defense reacts to a specific play. Where are the cameras? They certainly are not field level to show the QB perspective as to what throwing lanes are open. On average a QB has 2 - 3 seconds to throw the ball, this is the amount of time he has to go through all progressions. If he leaves a progression and the receiver comes open after he more than likely won't have time to come back to that one; especially with this OL, the defense has him scrambling in no time. Does All 22 show you that; hell no, so sit on your couch and bitch about something that is totally irrelevant.

The Offense has injuries also, offensive line, Lazard, Tonyan and Jones and you have no problem dumping on Rodgers but you haters think everyone should give the defense a break because they have some injuries. Rodgers put the Packers in a position to win twice and the defense blew it period.

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NJMagic's picture

November 24, 2021 at 11:28 am

So.. from Jersey Al...

"Broken Record - How many times do we have to watch the Packers offense come out in the first half taking too many deep shots and stifling hopes of building up any type of rhythm or momentum. Then at some point, finally figuring out they have a running game and short pass game that will "matriculate" them down the field and get them points. And once you have that established, that's when a well-time shot play surprises the defense and actually has a good chance of success. Packers offense (LaFleur/Rodgers/Hackett, whoever is most responsible) can be their own worst enemy.

Randall Cobb is severely underutilized on this team. It's not sexy, but he is open a lot on those short crossers or dig routes, He knows where the openings are and is available as an option for Rodgers who just is looking for the bigger splashes."

just saying...

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haevs6's picture

November 21, 2021 at 10:12 pm

Many have commented on Stokes, never turned his head, I get it...... Did u not see King on Theilan and TD earlier on a simple down 7& out???

how many times do we have to see this guy give up so many plays???

Savage has terrible ball skills, and we gave up a #1 & 3 #4's to get him??? Brutal

Check out pro foot focus, one of the worst rated safety's in the league!!!

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Leatherhead's picture

November 24, 2021 at 11:17 am

If he’s that bad, how are we a top defense? Minus Alexander, and Z, and all the other guys were missing?

Somehow, people don’t get the disconnect. They crap on Lowry and Lancaster as being JAGs and bitch about Stokes and King and Savage, but they don’t explain how we’re still a top defense.

The simplest explanation is that these guys are better than you think.

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haevs6's picture

November 21, 2021 at 10:24 pm

Stokes on the latter play is like someone saying the guy how didn't make the last free lost the game....he was there, should have made a play... I get it... but dont forget all the earlier plays no ONE made....K King has 4 years under his belt & was BRUTAL!!!... Savage was BRUTAL!!!.......AGAIN... AMOS is way to slow, put him in the box or forget it.... Cousins and Jefferson had numbers to put them in HOF... Our D was not good........ Oh, if you do not rush the passer and try to cover, which you still do not do, U LOSE!!!

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haevs6's picture

November 21, 2021 at 10:35 pm

Who ever gave a Thumbs down for Savage and his brutal play, please check out Pro Football Focus who grade every playy and every player....You really do not know what you are talking about.. he is rated well below the AVERAGE safety...AVERAGE safety!!

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Leatherhead's picture

November 22, 2021 at 02:37 pm

That’s one subjective evaluation. It’s not the Book of Moses.

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Vikes4Life's picture

November 22, 2021 at 03:21 am

You like that!?

GG! I will be here for some crow on round 2 im sure.

Id say good luck against the rams but who am i kidding. I will say i hope Rodgers is healthy cause im like a kid in a candy store watching him on the bench for the last 2 minutes of a close game.

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croatpackfan's picture

November 22, 2021 at 04:33 am

Everybody have the right to have bad day in the office sometimes. EVERYBODY.

Sometimes it happened that whole company (bunch, team, part of the team) have a bad day simultaneously. That happened.

What worries me is that Packers miss some real pass rush except for Preston and Kenny. Hamilton and Galeai are not at the pro level and Garvin was invisible. Packers will need some good pass rush against Stafford if we wants to have a chance.

I'm sure that D will be bounce back, maybe not to the form against Seatlle, but level against KC should be enough.

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croatpackfan's picture

November 22, 2021 at 04:33 am

Double post

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Packerfansupreme's picture

November 22, 2021 at 06:04 am

I am at my wits end with special teams. If the organization is going to bring in players that cant play special teams then they damn well better find people who can coach them up cause that person isnt on the current coaching staff

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mikemroz's picture

November 22, 2021 at 10:30 am

The defense really missed Gary and Mercilus. Cousins had time eat a sandwich before throwing almost the entire game.

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