The Green Bay Packers battled the Minnesota Vikings to an overtime 26 – 26 tie Sunday at Lambeau. It was a disappointing development in what is quickly becoming a substandard season for Cheeseheads as they watched their beloved Packers slip to 5 – 5 – 1. All was not lost, however, as both Detroit and Chicago unexpectedly lost their games this past weekend and thus the Packers are still alive with post-season aspirations.
It was a cold and blustery afternoon in Green Bay where the hometown faithful expected a win against the 2 – 8 Vikings. The Packers’ almost must-win situation, home-field advantage and seeming edge in the talent department had Cheeseheads frothing for a win despite the absence of injured quarterback Aaron Rodgers and an ugly three-game losing streak. That didn’t happen.
The Packers started quarterback Scott Tolzien this week. It wasn’t pretty as Tolzien took on the look of a deer staring into headlights against one of the worst pass-defending teams in the league. Tolzien accomplished very little and the Packers found themselves trailing 13 – 7 at halftime. Tolzien didn’t get much help from a consistently shaky offensive line as once again Evan Dietrich-Smith and Marshall Newhouse had me wondering how these guys earned their starting status.
Mike McCarthy saw enough of Tolzien by the third quarter and pulled him in favor of Matt Flynn after the Vikes had built up a 20 – 7 lead. Flynn, signed a couple weeks ago for his second stint as backup Packer quarterback, was able to spark a fourth quarter comeback with a couple remarkable plays including clutch catches by Jarrett Boykin and James Jones. With the game winding down, Flynn and the Packers’ offense had a chance to win the game with a touchdown, but instead settled for a field goal. Flynn’s efforts, along with an awesome performance from rookie running back Eddy Lacy, led the Packers to four consecutive scoring drives and sent the game into 23 -23 overtime period.
Once again the Packers had a chance to win the game in overtime with a touchdown but Flynn couldn’t quite get the job done and thus the game ended in a 26 – 26 tie. There wasn’t much of anything to cheer about for Cheeseheads except for the fact that the Bears and Lions both suffered defeats. At the end of the day the Packers actually picked up ½ game on those two Division-leading teams and still control their destiny for the playoffs, should they be able to run the table with their remaining five games.
That may prove very difficult, however, as the Packers have yet to prove they can win a ball game this year without Aaron Rodgers and the Packer defense performed horribly against the Vikings. Something is drastically wrong with the Packer defense right now which I can’t explain. Yes, there have been injuries but a group that played so stoutly, especially against the run earlier in the year, is really struggling now.
The Packers have only a couple days to cry in their beer over this debacle as they play in Detroit on Thanksgiving morning. The good news is that the Lions have lost nine games in a row on Thanksgiving Day at home. The bad news is that they have a talented, but error-prone team this year that would love nothing better than putting the coffin nails on Green Bay’s season. This game may well be decided upon whether or not Rodgers is able to play. It is sad that the season has come down to Rodgers’ health, but it is what it is.