The Green Bay Packers suffered what is perhaps their worst loss under Matt LaFleur with a 28-22 defeat at the hands of the Minnesota Vikings
The Green Bay Packers came into their game 5-1 and flying high after a big win in Houston over the Texans. They were hoping to add another layup to get to 6-1 before getting to an NFC showdown against the San Francisco 49ers.
It was not to be. Dalvin Cook ran wild. The Packers had no answers for him. They had the ball with one last chance for some heroics from Aaron Rodgers, but instead he was strip-sacked and the clock melted away.
The Green BayPackers dropped to 5-2 with a 49ers team that will follow a similar blueprint staring them in the face just four days from now.
Here are some of my thoughts.
1.) The Mike Pettine criticism makes sense. I get it. That said, if Preston Smith is going to get blocked by a non-blocking tight end – among other things – I think at some point we’re just looking for one person to scream at.
2.) Perhaps the biggest indictment of the Packers’ defensive front today. Ezra Cleveland is considered a finesse offensive lineman. On one of Dalvin Cook’s touchdown’s he drove Dean Lowry three yards deep into the end zone. That’s completely unacceptable.
3.) Some positive stuff. Robert Tonyan and Jace Sternberger both had some really nice moments today. Sternberger appears to have found some footing in this offense. That’ll be very helpful moving forward.
4.) I am definitely not blaming the officials. However, for them to call the two pass interference penalties on Jaire Alexander and Josh Jackson, only to turn around and pick up the flag on Anthony Harris was absolutely laughable.
5.) Through the course of the game, the argument appears to be what the Packers should be targeting. Another weapon, or help on defense. The answer can be both. The Green Bay Packers could use another pass catcher. Some of that will come in the form of the return of Allen Lazard and Aaron Jones. Someone like Will Fuller – a reported Packers target would not hurt. Defense would help too. The answer can be both things.
6.) Earlier I offered some defense of Mike Pettine, but there are some things that are absolutely maddening. Sending a 3-man rush on 3rd and 4 with the game essentially hanging in the balance was absolutely inexcusable. He got bailed out by a bad offensive pass interference call. The criticism of him is incredibly valid.
7.) Loved the call of LaFleur going for two when the score was 28-20. It could have been an indication of how his kicker was feeling as the day progressed. I tend to think it was more he didn’t want to go to overtime and have to trust his defense to make any more plays than necessary.
8.) This is the worst loss of the Matt LaFluer era. Many will point to the NFC Championship game. I get it. The final was 37-8, but I feel different. That Green Bay Packers team last year wasn’t better than the 49ers. They were on the road, and frankly incredibly out gunned.
This Packers team is much better than Minnesota. The Vikings have three good active players on defense. They essentially had to stop one man on offense. They couldn’t do it. It was embarrassing.
9.) On that note – I am also getting pretty tired of hearing about “lack of energy” any time the Packers lose a game. Why don’t you have energy? That’s a question that needs to be answered.
10.) In addition – until further notice – this Green Bay Packers team is a front running team. If the game goes according to plan, they typically do very well. If it doesn’t, they don’t. They were kind of that way under Mike McCarthy, but it’s much more pronounced with LaFleur. When they take a punch, they have typically wilted. McCarthy had his faults. I am not pining for the days of him being the Head Coach again, but he was a much better coach through adversity, especially early in his time in Green Bay than LaFleur has been in his young coaching tenure.
11.) Not to beat a dead horse – but this is kind of the fair criticism of the Packers’ draft this past offseason. The draft is for the future. I understand that, but when you are unable to do a lot in free agency, which the Packers really weren’t, drafting two third stringers with your first two picks is easy pickings for a team with Super Bowl aspirations.
12.) On a much more serious note: This piece goes out to Carly Rae Baron. My cousin who was tragically killed this Saturday evening. Carly had a smile that lit up the room. She was compassionate and kind in every way possible. I don’t know why these things happen. What I do know is I look forward to the day I can see her again.
Be good to those around you. You truly never know when you’re saying goodbye for the last time.