Packers - Vikings 2022 Game 1 Recap: Bay-ja Vu

It's a long season, but this game felt longer.

Guys, our stocks are now useless. We have a new owner, and his name is Justin Jefferson. For the second season opener in a row, the Green Bay Packers would have been better off forfeiting. Or staying on the plane. Or, better yet, at the Don Hutson center working on their offense, or defensive responsibilities, or, like, trying hard. In a dismal and embarrassing effort, the Packers Davante-less offense was never able to find its footing – yes, just like last season when they did have the services of one Mr. Adams. Let’s reflect on the disaster because we’re masochists and we’re in this together.

Justin Jefferson evades Darnell Savage for a touchdown in the Vikings' 23-7 win over the Green Bay Packers.

Justin Jefferson evades Darnell Savage for a touchdown in the Vikings' 23-7 win over the Green Bay Packers.

The preseason hype of the Packers defense was toned down almost immediately, as the Vikings punched their way down the field to a 7-0 lead. And lest you think Justin Jefferson might be contained, he was, uh, not. He was heavily involved early including the fourth-down touchdown. 

The Pack’s first turn, however, started with a wide open – and I MEAN WIDE OPEN – Christian Watson dropping a sure-fire touchdown. Insert the MVS meme of your pain or pleasure here, if you’d like. The Watson drop was a microcosm of the Packers’ first-half offense – no execution. Their best effort came on a lengthy 10-play, 79-yard drive that ended inside the one yard line, where A.J. Dillon was stopped just shy of six points. From there, the Vikings used the aforementioned griddy king himself, Justin Jefferson, to further the damage on a 36-yard touchdown and take the horned helmets into the locker room at 17-0. Oh, and Aaron Rodgers and his crispy new haircut threw a pick right before half. Whatever, who cares.

The second half? It started off even clunkier than the first – even after some successful early runs by A.J. Dillon. After receiving the opening kick with a chance to get on the board, Aaron Rodgers was obliterated on a hapless play-action attempt that gave the Vikings the ball back well inside Green Bay territory. After hitting a 56-yard field goal (which, admittedly, was very impressive), the Packers put it together with a 7-play, 75-yard drive that finished with a touchdown by the Quadfather to make it 20-7. I write this – with all honest emotion, frustration and unadulterated anger as I write – FINALLY!

At last, we have a game. That is, until a Justin Jefferson (YES, HIM AGAIN JOE BARRY) conversion on third-and-long in the fourth quarter extended a Minnesota drive midway through the fourth quarter to put the deficit essentially out of reach at 23-7. After a failed effort to cut the lead on a fourth-and-one throw to Robert Tonyan (nice to see him again, by the way), it was over.

Like the season opener a season ago, it was a comedy of errors. It was an eerily-reminiscent effort from top to bottom, that resulted in a confounding loss and questions around whether this team is any good or not. A defense incapable of getting a stop when needed, or remotely limited the best player on the opposing team. A dropped touchdown, a goal line failure, and overall ineptitude that will be something very much under the microscope the remainder of the season should the struggles continue.

Overall, we knew this would be a tough one going to Minnesota. It is, even when the offense is a bit more seasoned. But, that doesn’t make it any more enjoyable or easy to watch. This was another brutal effort, in both emotion or execution, which is becoming a bit of a theme with Matt LaFleur Packers teams in big games. Being down a game in the NFC North out of the gate is, obviously, subpar.

Next week brings the 1-0 division-leading (lol) Bears to Lambeau Field in what we hope is a get-right game. Because, of course, The Bears Still Suck.

 

__________________________

Tony Wilson takes pride in journalism training from 2/3 of directional-Michigan MAC schools. A former Sporting News writer, Tony now focuses on the Packers from his home in Toledo, OH. His beer of choice is a Miller Lite from the bottom of the cooler. You can find him on Twitter @GlassCityPack.

2 points

Comments (44)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
Bearmeat's picture

September 11, 2022 at 07:00 pm

The Watson drop doesn't bother me. These things happen to rookies. The offense spit the bit. I expected it and expected to lose today. This team is designed to run the ball, stay on top of the sticks, and wait for the young WRs to mature. The old ones suck. Impossible to wait for young guys when both your all-pro OTs are out and your best blocking and most dependable WR is out. And 12 NEEDS TO FRICKING REALIZE THAT. Run. The damn ball.

This team was built by the GM to be a tank. And the Head Coach and QB want to run a sports car. One of the many reasons I wanted to trade 12 for max capital. The growing pains this year will be hard to watch when you have a moody Ferrari for an engine and the car body has no miles on it. And if we lose in January, this will be why. It will sit at the feet of MLF and ARod. Full stop.

That said, the Packers are still good. They will win the division. The Vikings will still be in 2nd place in the division when it matters. The only thing that upset me was the complete lack of pressure on Cousins. That was upsetting. The secondary settled down after the 2nd quarter. That, and Walker's injury. I hope he's ok.

6 points
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stockholder's picture

September 11, 2022 at 07:25 pm

Watson ran a great route. Wish he'd change his number to 80. I can't think of any player that had #9., that became a star in the last 40 years.

0 points
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Untylu1968's picture

September 11, 2022 at 07:46 pm

Number has nuttin to do with it!

2 points
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MITM's picture

September 11, 2022 at 07:58 pm

Brees

2 points
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Bure9620's picture

September 11, 2022 at 07:04 pm

Rodgers was awful, held the ball WAY too long. He needs to stop this trust shit. 4th preaeason game they will be fine. The Vikings won their super bowl, good for them. I was at the Saints game in Jacksonville last year, same shit. They didn't get off the plane. Whatever, they still win the division. Hopefully Quay Walker was held out for precautionary resasons. Barnes may be done for the season. They will still get to 11-6, 12-5

-1 points
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Lphill's picture

September 11, 2022 at 07:10 pm

My only question is why wasn’t Alexander on Jefferson?

0 points
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Bure9620's picture

September 11, 2022 at 07:13 pm

Lots of zone in the first half

2 points
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Bure9620's picture

September 11, 2022 at 07:13 pm

Lots of zone in the first half

1 points
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Rarescope's picture

September 11, 2022 at 07:48 pm

The announcers talked at length about this. Alexander follows Jefferson, the rest of the defense is constantly adjusting and don't know who their assignment is. Still, you'd think that with playing football being their sole occupation they'd be able to figure that out but I've never been a player so my opinion ain't worth much.

2 points
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Fubared's picture

September 11, 2022 at 07:49 pm

The analyst answered your question, barry said Alex is the only one who can cover one on one, so they are forced to play that silly zone that hasn't worked in 5 years or more and the reason we lose playoff games.
Any team that can pass effectively against the pack can win.

3 points
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Coldworld's picture

September 11, 2022 at 08:54 pm

Douglas was the only one who did defend him.

1 points
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LLCHESTY's picture

September 12, 2022 at 01:05 am

I bet the first words you heard were "Sorry ma'am, I dropped the baby." More than 80% of the teams in the NFL run "silly" zones and some are very good at it.

2 points
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MarkinMadison's picture

September 11, 2022 at 07:11 pm

Out coached on defense. Out executed on offense.

1 points
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croatpackfan's picture

September 12, 2022 at 03:04 am

Outcoached on D, because every DC in NFL knows they can leave the middle of the field 10 to 20 yards deep, because Diva will never throw the ball there... Offense, that is another story. It is delusional DIva who thinks that he can throw hero balls when he decide and than be p*ssed off if his teammates are not open. There was open receivers, but his progression does not include middle of the field.

Second, outcoached on the O because DIva is not willing to follow the game plan and he is not willing to play by play calls. When Packers utilize play calling, they scored lone TD in the game. Before and after that TD Diva started to call again his plays, not by play book, but by his wishes.

On coaches are disaster on OL. Lot of posters here was warning that Jake Hanson can not play real football and that Royce Newman is the guard, not tackle. Zach Tom entered in the 2nd half to replace injure Runyan and there was not loss on OL left side.

I suggest Packers to sell their time outs, because they obviously do not need them (2 TO in the first Q!!!! - for what?????).

This was embarrassment show of the franchise I'm fan of.

0 points
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PackyCheese500's picture

September 11, 2022 at 07:15 pm

WHY WAS JAIRE NOT COVERING JEFFERSON! WHY WAS HANSON STARTING! WHY DID WE NOT RUN THE BALL MORE! WHY COULD WE NOT CONSISTENTLY PRESSURE COUSINS! I think the Packers can move on and be fine, but the offense laid an egg. Defense was okay, but the secondary needs work It would help if Jaire covered JJ. This also proves why the Packers NEED to sign Jason Pierre-Paul to make their pass-rush more consistent. I had predicted a L for the Pack, but not this bad.

-2 points
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PackyCheese500's picture

September 11, 2022 at 07:15 pm

WHY WAS JAIRE NOT COVERING JEFFERSON! WHY WAS HANSON STARTING! WHY DID WE NOT RUN THE BALL MORE! WHY COULD WE NOT CONSISTENTLY PRESSURE COUSINS! I think the Packers can move on and be fine, but the offense laid an egg. Defense was okay, but the secondary needs work It would help if Jaire covered JJ. This also proves why the Packers NEED to sign Jason Pierre-Paul to make their pass-rush more consistent. I had predicted a L for the Pack, but not this bad.

-4 points
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PackyCheese500's picture

September 11, 2022 at 07:15 pm

WHY WAS JAIRE NOT COVERING JEFFERSON! WHY WAS HANSON STARTING! WHY DID WE NOT RUN THE BALL MORE! WHY COULD WE NOT CONSISTENTLY PRESSURE COUSINS! I think the Packers can move on and be fine, but the offense laid an egg. Defense was okay, but the secondary needs work It would help if Jaire covered JJ. This also proves why the Packers NEED to sign Jason Pierre-Paul to make their pass-rush more consistent. I had predicted a L for the Pack, but not this bad.

-4 points
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Rarescope's picture

September 11, 2022 at 07:49 pm

Why did you need to post this three times?

5 points
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stockholder's picture

September 11, 2022 at 07:18 pm

This OL sucked. The defense looked slow. Too slow and No energy.
Watson needed more time. And if Rodgers trusts the veterans. He's going to disappointed. Adams is gone. And they're just too slow.

4 points
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Coldworld's picture

September 11, 2022 at 08:55 pm

If that is the real Watkins, we are in trouble

2 points
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Coldworld's picture

September 11, 2022 at 07:34 pm

We saw a LaFleur led team come out flat and ignore their strengths until it was too late. Not to ignore the failure to plan for Jefferson moving around, but the classic LaFleur planning disaster (readiness is a secondary issue) should be starting to sound alarm bells. Whether it’s championships, playing teams the same way when it failed before or the same strategic blindness it’s time to realize that this coach is the problem. It’s out there if people just look. It’s not Rodgers, though I think their relationship compounds it unfortunately.

3 points
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Rarescope's picture

September 11, 2022 at 07:53 pm

I'm starting to be on board with this take CW. I don't even think it's just MLF. Either I'm just that much more tuned into GB games but it seems like we've had a dearth of coaches who seem completely incapable of making in-game adjustments. There was that one series where AJ Dillon was on fire. If it worked then, why not try it again?

2 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

September 11, 2022 at 08:54 pm

The play design was head scratching. I liked the deep ball to Watson to start it off and wondered why they stopped challenging them deep? The answer is the right flank as you mentioned, but Jones should have been the game plan. I'm skeptical of the TE position.

0 points
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Rarescope's picture

September 11, 2022 at 08:03 pm

To my eyes it seemed like the linemen on both sides of the ball were being straight up manhandled. Like, Bowling Green Falcons going up against the Georgia Bulldogs level of being manhandled. All offseason we heard about how good GB was at developing o-line men but then when it got to joint team practices we were starting to hear that our guys weren't up to snuff. I had a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach from then on. When I read that Bahk and Jenkins were both out I knew it was going to be a disaster. Sure enough, Cook running the ball with impunity, little to no pressure on Cousins, and Rodgers constantly running for his life. Thankfully we have last year's opening loss to learn from. But then again at least last year we had Adams' invisible off the line ghost mode super power to count on...

Like always I don't hinge my enjoyment of the game on winning the Super Bowl and will be happy if we can merely replicate last year to a certain extant. Just give me a little hope to make the season interesting, that's all I ask for!

2 points
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croatpackfan's picture

September 12, 2022 at 10:16 am

I agree with you that the right side of the OL was disaster. Center and left side not that much, only for few snaps.

The problem is that when you take of 1/3 of the field (middle third) there is a crowd on the other 2 parts. How do you expect from any WR or TE to be open in that situation. Every smart coach knows (and smart QB, of course) that using the middle of the field opens sides for long passing. But if you have 5 years of avoiding middle of the field, opponent DCs will use that against you. DIva has to be sent to retirement and to be introduced to Packers HOF. It is time.

One note - Jordan Love had 40 seconds or so and he throw 5 passes, 4 of them was caught . 3 of them was, imagine in the middle of the field. Wow. It is Subatomic & theoretical physic for many on the Packers coaching staff.

Also, QBR of Jordan Love was 118.75 and what was DIva's QBR? In 62 seconds he moved sticks for 65 yards. And we all knows that he is not ready to play complete game now. Or, maybe he is?

EDIT: Do you know why DIva did not threw the ball to Allen Lazard or ESB in the Divisional last season? Because both was free in the MIDDLE SECTION of the field!!!!!!!

-1 points
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Straya's picture

September 11, 2022 at 08:06 pm

The loss doesn't concern me - I fully expected this offense to have at least a few of these games to start off.

That said, I'll be pretty disappointed whenever this defense doesn't hold a team to less than 20pts. They have too much talent for that.

Hope Quay Walker is OK

1 points
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cheesehead1's picture

September 11, 2022 at 08:14 pm

I expected the offense to struggle, but thought our hyped up D was disappointing. A first third down stop would have been a big positive but instead MIN drove the length of the field for a TD. Next up Chicago, jump on them early and get back on track. GPG.

1 points
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jurp's picture

September 11, 2022 at 08:19 pm

Because the weather was absolutely horrendous where I live, I watched a good chunk of the Bears' game and a bit of this one (only needed to see a series for each team to realize where it was probably going to go). If LaFleur can't clean things up this week, the Bears may own Rodgers next week. They're not good by any means, but they're scrappy and, as they showed the 9ers, they can take advantage of mistakes and make in-game adjustments. I hope I'm proven wrong, but I don't think that they'll be an easy out by any means.

Any talk of GB winning the division is premature until they beat someone handily.

2 points
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Fubared's picture

September 11, 2022 at 10:27 pm

Looking at the Vikes sched, they could easily go 7-0 before having any real competition with the Cards coming to town in game 8. The Cards got pasted today so if they continue to win and GB looks like stumble bums the NFC is lost and should be the way this team was put together.
They dam well better beat the bears next week or the wheels will come off the wagon as they say. Rodgers will blame the coaches and their scheme, the O line protection, the drops and route running, everything will be wrong and he will mention how the team let this two best receivers go. Not gonna be pretty

1 points
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murf7777's picture

September 11, 2022 at 08:22 pm

Maybe our defensive players will stop touting how good they are and start playing solid ball. Hoping Quay is ok.

Oh my, do we need Bak and Jenkins back. Yes, I’ve like Tom all pre-season and he looks like he should be a starter.

Rodgers, please get rid of the ball on time and quit running the clock down to almost 0, lets change it up and get a faster pace once in awhile.

It’s just one game, but I wish it wasn’t against the Vikings. Onto da bears! GPG

3 points
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Coldworld's picture

September 11, 2022 at 09:01 pm

We need Jenkins back and Newman at RG. As long as Runyon can clear concussion protocols that would give us a decent chance. The key thing is no Newman at T and no Hanson at all. Tom may end up starting at LG next week though. He was ok there today. Who backs him up is an interesting one.

1 points
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WestWi_Packfan's picture

September 11, 2022 at 08:34 pm

I know they don't want to risk the injuries but for two years in a row the starters don't play in pre-season and two years they look like crap, You'd think La Fleur could have figured it out that his starters need at least a few series in the pre-season to clean things up but then doubles down on his previous mistake. If this was a veteran team maybe they don't need pre-season but with all the new faces this year they needed more then they did and obviously were not ready. Of course you have to give the Vikings credit because they were ready and really gave us a whooping. Our overrated secondary had no answers for Jefferson and pass rush wasn't much better.

Lets hope they can turn it around like last year.

1 points
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Leatherhead's picture

September 11, 2022 at 08:43 pm

Settle down, Pilgrims.

I know it's hard while the wound is still fresh, but I must have watched a different game, because I saw a game where we held our opponent, at home, to below the league scoring average, despite the fact the Purple is an above average team on offense. Our special teams didn't hurt us.

In 15 rushes, Dillon/Jones had almost 100 yards. It's not like we didn't do anything good, because we did some things pretty well...but the bottom line is you have to score more than 7 points to win a game, and you have to do a better job of protecting your QB or he isn't going to last as long as you want him to.

IMO, that's where the Packers have to start tomorrow morning, on protecting their QB better. I think you need to hand off more until your line can protect him. Let your defense keep it close.

xxxxxxxxxxxxx

One real disturbing thing. On our last real shot, the 4th and 1, we passed to a double covered Robert Tonyan. Really? That's the best we got? What were the other receivers doing? I just have a gut feeling that Rodgers wanted to go to Tonyan, and that's where he went. I'm afraid that when I see the All22 that there's going to be questions.

-3 points
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Coldworld's picture

September 11, 2022 at 09:03 pm

Jones had 8 touches, we waited till the second half to get Dillon properly involved. In what world did that seem like a great idea. It’s time to call time on LaFleur. He doesn’t learn and listens to intramural hype.

I know most won’t like that. I will hear his record rehearsed. The record is from his players. The lack of real success is from him. It’s been shown multiple times, just we did not want to see it.

3 points
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Tundraboy's picture

September 11, 2022 at 09:58 pm

Didn't watch,but from all I'm hearing it's the same old story. Start with a questionable Plan, and as soon as it fails Rodgers switches to his improvised plan . Doesn't seem like Matt is a take charge coach at all.

3 points
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Leatherhead's picture

September 12, 2022 at 08:21 am

We win because of the players, and lose because of La Fleur?

-2 points
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Coldworld's picture

September 12, 2022 at 10:08 am

Name a game where LaFleur can be reasonably credited with pulling off a victory through his tactical abilities when the system or Rodgers/Jones/Adams/Dillon or another didn’t individually carry the team on the back of great performances. Name a game where we came away saying we really out thought the opponent.

How many times do we have to hear LaFleur lament that he didn’t get the RBs involved or enough touched before we have the same reaction to McCarthy’s regular rehearsal of the same platitude?

LaFleur is a congenial pretender who has ridden the back of a scheme designed by others and player ability. He doesn’t tip games in our favor. He’s popular but ineffective. He got trounced by a rookie playing him with his own system on O and D. And to have to roast your players for effort at half time in game one? The signs aren’t hidden and they have been alarmingly consistent.

2 points
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LLCHESTY's picture

September 12, 2022 at 11:31 am

The 2020 playoff game vs the Rams. But even then Donald wasn't full strength or it would have been closer. LaFluer had a pretty good game plan for that one though.

0 points
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GregC's picture

September 12, 2022 at 06:07 am

There were some bright spots, but the defense was not one of them. The Vikings could've scored another touchdown or two at the end if they wanted to. The pass rush was average at best, and the coverage was abysmal. I think they will play better, but it was a poor performance all-around by the defense.

2 points
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PackyCheese500's picture

September 11, 2022 at 08:59 pm

The Packers ultimately need to put this loss behind them and move on. I expected there to be some rustiness on both sides of the ball due to no in-game opportunities to work together. This is proven because the STs, which played in the preseason (except Crosby), were good (thank goodness)! Not having Lazard, D-Bak, and EJ hurts mightily too. The Packers need to put this behind them, just like they did with last year's season opener, and move on and focus on the Bears. The Bears are not very good so the Packers should be able to take out their frustration on them.

As for the defense, there were two things that impeded today. First, WHY WAS JAIRE NOT COVERING JEFFERSON? Second, this is their first time playing a real game as a group, and they should get better as the season goes on. My guess is that they will be noticeably better next week, partly because of having played a full game together and part because they're playing the Bears.

Another thing: the defense could not consistently pressure Cousins. This is why we NEED to sign Jason Pierre-Paul to give us better EDGE depth. WRs will work themselves out and Lazard will return too.

On the bright side, Doubs flashed, and Dillon and the STs look good.

0 points
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Kevin Carpenter's picture

September 11, 2022 at 09:29 pm

Credit to the Vikings OC. They kept scheming Jefferson open by lining him up in the slot and running him clear and away from Alexander while they were in soft zone. Shame on Barry for allowing such ineptitude. Plenty of teams for off with double teaming Adams and Rodgers, being the magician that he is, sometimes made them pay for it. Kirk Cousins is no such magician. When you know for a fact that the opposing team has one guy who you absolutely cannot afford to let beat you, how can you let him do just that? We have literal all-stars in the backfield. It's not impossible. I blame this game solely on coaching. Also, once again, in a tight game (from the very beginning) one bad thing happens and the train comes off the tracks. It's amazing how many times we've seen it and still how many times we continue to see it. They need to get it figured out.

4 points
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GregC's picture

September 12, 2022 at 06:01 am

Yeah, I'm putting it more on the coaches than the players too. Usually LaFleur doesn't get outcoached until the playoffs, and the Joe Barry defense was clueless. The sheer indifference to covering Justin Jefferson was baffling. He's a really good player, but on a lot of those catches, he didn't even have to do anything special.

2 points
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Roadrunner23's picture

September 11, 2022 at 09:31 pm

Thumbs up 👍
^ Special Teams didn’t cost us the game.
^ Doubs had a few nice catches and show some speed.
^ Big Bob Tonyan is back!
^ Dillan & Jones looked excellent
^ Jordan Love 4/5 passing
^ Zack Tom Played well in place of Runyan
^ Watson looks fast
^ Quay Walker looks like the real deal

Thumbs Down 👎
v Injuries
v Watsons hands
v Z
v Offensive Line
v Offensive Game Plan
v Defensive breakdowns
v Rodgers holding the ball too long
v The team lethargic attitude

0 points
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joefan's picture

September 11, 2022 at 11:47 pm

Overall, this is another LaFleur disaster game and an organizational failure. LaFleur should be on the hot seat this year instead of receiving an extension this summer. This type of grind it out game is one that LaFleur's teams struggle to win especially when they're in a deficit. It's worth mentioning that the Cardinals game last year was a very gritty battle, but they weren't losing by 17 points. LaFleur has several of these games now where the game gets out of control for him. And he shoots himself in the foot by not playing to their strengths. None of those long developing shotgun plays should've been on the playcalling menu this week, yet many of their drives had those plays, which often resulted in incomplete passes and sacks. The only time the offense moved the ball was when Rodgers threw to Dillon and Jones in the flat. The Vikings weren't stopping it, so there was no reason to stop, yet LaFleur did anyway. After their touchdown, they went back to the long developing shotgun style plays and the offense stalled again. In the Cardinals game, LaFleur had no problem getting three and four yard runs with Dillon all night as that was the only option to move the ball.

Much has been said about Watsons dropped touchdown. I don't think it's fair to blame the loss on a rookie player because I don't think it means that the defense would've played better if Watson caught the ball. The defense was terrible today. They left guys so wide open that on some plays there weren't defenders within 10 yards. The defense consists mostly of veteran players, so there's no reason they should play so bad. I'm not sure what Joe Barry was doing. The rush defense was also very weak.

It sounds cliche but I think this team lacks a mentality to win hard gritty games. But I don't know what can be done. The Packers have already committed to LaFleur. Things could get very bad in Packersland. We're going to be stuck in mediocrity again just like with McCarthy. The Packers have a real chance ending up 0-3. In case no one noticed, the Beats beat the 49ers in a gritty bad weather game. The type of game LaFleur sucks at. And the Packers have to play the Bears next week. They also have to play the Buccaneers in week 3.

The only bright spot is that Bahktiari and Jenkings are coming back at some point, but it better be soon or else the Packers might be looking at losing the division.

2 points
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