by Mark Metzler
It was another good game against the Minnesota Vikings last week, and I’m sure that I can join many Packers fans in thanking Kirk Cousins for making sure it ended that way.
The Packers started brilliantly against the Vikings and ended with a whimper. But thanks to poor play selection and a bad decision by Cousins, the Green and Gold was able to hold on to a 21-16 win.
Aaron Rodgers connected with his receivers early, and it was nice to see the long pass to Davante Adams to start the game. With all the talk of the need to focus on the run, that pass gave the Vikings something to think about.
It was good to see Aaron Jones get more than 20 carries in a game, with 23 carries for 116 yards. He runs hard and with vision. He also had four catches, including a crucial one for a first down near the end of the game. Jamaal Williams also played well, including a 15-yard screen play for a touchdown. The offensive line played well again against another tough front.
It’s hard to know how good the offense is going to be. The Vikings are a very good defensive team, as are the Bears. I give the Vikings a lot of credit for not cashing it in after the three early Packers’ drives and making adjustments.
I also give LaFleur credit for going for a first down on a fourth and two in the second quarter. I think it was right to go for the knockout. I know that he has been criticized for the call, but I think he wanted to crush the spirit of the Vikings.
The Packers’ defense played very well again. Other than Dalvin Cook’s long touchdown run and the long pass from Cousins to Stefon Diggs, the defense would bend but it didn’t break. I thought the defensive line played well against a tough Vikings’ offensive front, especially early on. Sorry to see safety Raven Greene injured. Time will tell how much that will hurt.
Rodgers and Head Coach Matt LaFleur were yelling at each other at the end of the first half. That didn’t take long, and I had to laugh at Rodgers’ response to questions about it. Rodgers said they weren’t telling each other they love each other. To some extent it has to be expected. They both want to win, and Rodgers has proven to be a bit of a pain. Just ask Mike McCarthy.
Dalvin Cook and the Vikings’ offensive line played well against the Packers. By the end of the game they were really pounding the ball. It seemed inevitable that they would score, and I was hoping that the Packers would get the ball back and re-find the offense that had been so dominant early. In the end it was nice to see Cousins’ pass float down safely into Kevin King’s hands. It was a gift. Another gift was Stefon Diggs’ taunting penalty that led to a crucial missed extra point. Maybe he wanted people to see there was something inside the helmet. I’m sure Vikings fans would like him to prove there is something between his ears.
Make no mistake. This is a great start. The Packers are 2-0 after playing two very tough division rivals. My expectation is the Bears and Vikings will be fighting for playoff spots down to the end of the season. For the Packers, the defense has played very well through the first two games, and the offense is starting to show signs of life. I think it will continue to improve. If it does, I think another win is possible against the Broncos next week, another team with a good defense.