There’s really not much to analyze in the Green Bay Packers’ 38-26 loss to the Minnesota Vikings Sunday in Favre Bowl II at Lambeau Field.
Vikings QB Brett Favre was booed – and booed heartily – pretty much every time he stepped onto his old playing field. So was former Packers kicker Ryan Longwell, but the Packers were simply outplayed by Minnesota today – in every facet of the game.
The Packers defense failed to pressure Favre, allowing the old man to complete 17 of 28 passes for 244 yards and a season-high four touchdowns in beating his old team for the second time this season. Favre wasn’t sacked in the game, a repeat of the first meeting between the two teams.
Aaron Rodgers, in comparison, looked good on paper, throwing for 287 yards and three scores and running for 52 yards. But he again held onto the ball too long on several occasions, which cost the Packers. On the day, Rodgers was sacked six times. Hillbilly Jared Allen accounted for half of those sacks, dominating just like he did the first time these teams met, when the Vikings sacked Rodgers eight times. Pathetic.
The Packers special teams were a joke. Rookie wideout Percy Harvin returned five kickoffs for 175 yards – including one return for 77 yards that gave the Vikings key field position for a score early in the game. Harvin also caught five passes for 84 yards and a touchdown. In comparison, newly re-signed running back Ahman Green averaged just 20 yards on seven kickoff returns for Green Bay. Packers kicker Mason Crosby added to the Packers special teams stench, missing another important field goal – this one from 51 yards.
Penalties were a killer, again. Green Bay had twice as many as Minnesota, racking up 45 yards on six calls. The Vikings had three penalties for 29 yards.
One of the most boneheaded penalties of all time, however, really set the tone for this rematch. The Packers appeared to have stopped Minnesota at the Green Bay nine in the first quarter – until Johnny Jolly was called for a personal foul for head butting Chester Taylor after the play. The penalty resulted in an Adrian Peterson score, giving Minnesota a 7-3 lead. Early in the fourth quarter, a 15-yard face mask penalty by rookie B.J. Raji gave the Vikings first-and-goal at the nine that resulted in another score.
The Packers’ offense was anemic early on, netting just 47 yards the entire first half. By the time Rodgers and Co. decided to show up, it was too late. The defense had a few stops in the second half, but ultimately couldn’t keep Favre out of the red zone. Peterson did a lot better this time around too – rushing for 97 yards and a touchdown and netting 44 yards receiving, after the Packers held him to less than 60 yards in the first meeting.
I wonder what the stoic/unemotional/uninspiring Mike McCarthy will have to say about this one. Let me guess. Penalties? We’ll work on it. Too many sacks? We’ll work on it. No running game? It’ll come around.
Well guess what, Mike. Your time’s nearly up. The Packers are now 2.5 games behind Minnesota in the NFC North at 4-3 with some tough games coming up at home against Dallas, San Francisco and Baltimore. This team isn’t winning the division, and might not make the playoffs if someone doesn’t get their head of our their ass and address some of these nagging issues like penalties and pass protection.
Time is running out. Enough excuses.