Tom Oates: Grading the Packers’ performance in tie with Vikings
State Journal columnist Tom Oates grades the Green Bay Packers’ performance in their 29-29 tie with the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday at Lambeau Field in Green Bay.
Despite limited mobility, Aaron Rodgers did what he could and threw the ball well. Rodgers was sacked four times but the pass protection was generally solid. With six catches for 94 yards, Jimmy Graham finally was a factor in the passing game. The offense moved the ball well but had difficulty finishing off drives.
The defense wilted late after a strong start. The Packers allowed three touchdown passes in the fourth quarter, bringing back memories of last season’s collapses. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix’s interception could have clinched the game. Jaire Alexander’s pick would have except for the bogus roughing-the-passer penalty on Clay Matthews.
Special teams: B
Mason Crosby was 5-for-5 on field goals until his 52-yard attempt at the end of regulation narrowly missed to the left. Geronimo Allison blocked a punt and Josh Jackson recovered it for a touchdown. Problem was, Mike Hughes returned the ensuing kickoff 46 yards. JK Scott boomed punts of 63 and 59 yards to flip the field.
The offensive game plan − mostly runs and quick passes − was dictated by Aaron Rodgers’ knee injury and, for the most part, it worked against a strong defense. Mike McCarthy could have run the ball and the clock on third down prior to Green Bay’s final field goal but went for the potential clinching touchdown instead.
With Aaron Rodgers operating on one leg, Green Bay needed a strong effort from all areas of the team and got it until the fourth quarter and overtime. Down the stretch, the offense settled for field goals and the defense couldn’t get off the field, allowing Minnesota to rally from a 20-7 deficit and escape with a tie.