Tom Oates: Grading Packers’ performance in 24-17 loss to Vikings
Wisconsin State Journal columnist Tom Oates grades the Green Bay Packers’ performance in their 24-17 loss to the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday night at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.
Aaron Rodgers got the ball out more quickly and found a great rhythm early. But once injuries hit on the line, the Vikings pass rush took over and the offense dried up. That naked toss to Aaron Jones works pretty well near the goal line. Jones didn’t find much running room otherwise. Equanimeous St. Brown showed promise.
Kirk Cousins shredded Green Bay’s battered secondary for 254 yards passing in the first half. Tight end Kyle Rudolph exploited the Packers’ safeties early and often. The Packers twice stopped the Vikings on third-and-1 runs, forcing punts. Jaire Alexander blew up a bubble screen, then made the tackle for a 10-yard loss.
Special teams: D
The Packers allowed a 20-yard punt return and had a 5-yard penalty for an illegal formation when they were trailing by three late in the third quarter, giving Minnesota the ball on the 31. Tramon Williams misplayed a punt, handing Minnesota the ball at the 15. JK Scott pinned the Vikings at the 7, 10 and 17 with punts.
A jet sweep with St. Brown, a naked pitch to Aaron Brown, two screen passes to Brown. Is that some actual creativity we saw, Mike McCarthy? Mike Pettine got no pass rush early, so he blitzed. He still got no pass rush. Hard to blame McCarthy for going for it on fourth-and-1 after he was criticized for punting last week.
For the fourth time in four road games against top opponents over the last five weeks, the Packers played well early but fizzled in the second half. After taking a 14-7 lead, they couldn’t move the ball and couldn’t stop the Vikings’ passing attack, putting their playoff hopes on life support with five games left to play.