The Green Bay Packers (5-2) planned all week to focus their attention on stopping Minnesota’s Dalvin Cook. All of that planning went awry when Cook scored four touchdowns to single-handedly beat the Packers 28-22 on Sunday at Lambeau Field.
Cook accounted for 226 yards total yards of offense for the Vikings, who improved to 2-5. He rushed for 163 yards and three touchdowns and caught two passes for 63 yards and another score.
Each team put together a pair of long, time consuming touchdown drives to eat up the entire first half. They went to the locker room tied 14-all. The Vikings then scored a touchdown on their first drive of the second half and jumped out to a 28-14 lead before hanging on for the win.
The Packers were penalized nine times for 85 yards and had another double-digit missed tackle performance that reared its ugly head.
Just as concerning was all the talk after the game in which several Packers players talked about a lack of energy, which has been a recurring theme this season. With no fans in the stands in Green Bay, the Packers at times looked as if they weren’t interest. The result is a loss to what was a 1-5 football team.
“This definitely qualifies as one of those games where if you want to be a great team, you’ve got to handle business at home,” said quarterback Aaron Rodgers. “Look, it’s not the same type of home environment. I get it. But it’s 2020, and we’re in a different NFL this year. It’s still a game we should win, (against) a team with the trade deadline coming and questions about their coach during the week.
“Yeah. These are one of the games we need to win.”
Rodgers completed 27 of 41 for 291 yards and three touchdowns. All three scoring passes went to Davante Adams, who finished with seven catches for 53 yards. But no other wide receiver had any more than one reception.
On the ground, Jamaal Williams had 16 carries for 75 yards and caught six passes for 27 yards. He also added a two-point conversion in the fourth quarter.
But as the Vikings were widening the gap in the second half, the Packers offense stalled in the third quarter. The Packers had empty possessions the first three times they had the ball.
Eventually, Rodgers found Adams for their third touchdown of the day and closed the gap to 28-22. They got the ball back with 47 seconds left and no timeouts and moved the ball to the Viking 41-yard line before Rodgers was hit from behind and fumbled the ball. The Vikings recovered as time expired and the game was over.
In the end, the Packers couldn’t stop the one weapon the Vikings had.
“We knew we had to stop the run,” said Packers head coach Matt LaFleur. “That didn’t happen.”
LaFleur suffered his first loss against an NFC foe since taking over in Green Bay. Sunday’s setback dropped the Packers record against the NFC North to 8-1 under LaFleur.
The NFL trade deadline is Tuesday at 3 p.m., and the fans want Packers GM Brian Gutekunst to pull off a deal. Most would like to see the Packers add another offensive weapon to help Aaron Rodgers. But Sunday’s performance against Minnesota showed they could use a play maker or a run stopper on the defensive side of the ball.
Of course, then there’s the real question. Will Gutekunst pull off a deal at all?
In the meantime, the Packers have already turned their attention to the San Francisco 49ers and the quick turnaround they’ll face with a trip to the West Coast for Thursday nights game.
The 49ers fell to Seattle 37-27 on Sunday and lost starters Jimmy Garoppolo, George Kittle and Tevin Coleman in the process. It’s too early to tell if any or all of those players will be available against the Packers.
Green Bay went 0-2 against the 49ers last season and struggled to stop the run in both losses. Matt LaFleur and the Packers have a score to settle on Thursday night, with both teams coming off Sunday losses.