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Vikings at Packers: Five Game-Changing Plays

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Looking back at the most important plays from the wild 29-29 tie at Lambeau Field.

Minnesota Vikings v Green Bay Packers
Daniel. Daniel, Daniel, Daniel.
Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Well, that was certainly...something.

The Week 2 game between the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers had just about everything. All three phrases on both sides of the ball had a roller coaster ride on Sunday afternoon. There were blocked kicks, missed kicks, terrible penalties, missed penalties, amazing passes, awful drops, incredible catches, and crushing heartbreaks for fans of both teams. There were enough intertwining storylines to fill a dozen tomes of football annals all crammed into three hours and 37 minutes at Lambeau Field. The takes extracted from this game will fill the sports radio airwaves for days to come.

The only thing the game didn’t have? A victor. While both teams had numerous chances to win the game that they’ll be kicking themselves over (pun intended) on Monday, the game ended in a 29-29 deadlock. It was easily one of the most bizarre chapters in the storied Border Battle rivalry’s history. While we could easily expand our weekly list to twenty plays in recapping this crazy back-and-forth affair, we’re going to try and whittle down the absurdity and insanity to the five biggest plays from yesterday’s action.

Play 1: Vikings ball, 4th & 16 at the Minnesota 15. First quarter, 7:33 remaining. M.Wile punt is BLOCKED by G.Allison, Center-K.McDermott, RECOVERED by GB-J.Jackson at MIN -1. TOUCHDOWN.

The first score of the game was an omen for how awful the Vikings’ kicking game would be on Sunday.

It appeared that Anthony Harris incorrectly diagnosed where the pressure was coming from right before the snap, because Geronimo Allison came through unabated to block Matt Wile’s punt. Josh Jackson snagged the ball in the end zone and suddenly it was 7-0 Packers halfway through the first quarter.

The sudden touchdown for the opposition felt a lot like the pick six in last year’s NFC Championship Game—a deflating blow that the Vikings might not be able to recover from. Thankfully, the Vikings kept fighting despite this play launching them into catch-up mode for the majority of the contest.

It was a wild way to start the scoring. But if only we knew just how wild it was about to get...

Play 2: Vikings ball, 1st & 10 at the Minnesota 25. Fourth quarter, 2:13 remaining. (Shotgun) K.Cousins pass short middle intended for L.Treadwell INTERCEPTED by H.Clinton-Dix at MIN 37. H.Clinton-Dix to MIN 13 for 24 yards (D.Cook, T.Compton).

Skipping all the way from the first score of the game to the final minutes of regulation is truly doing this game an injustice, as there were some incredible plays in between that deserved to be documented:

We had Laquon Treadwell’s first (and possibly last) touchdown as a Viking.

We had Davante Adams breaking the ankles of Xavier Rhodes and Anthony Barr as he waltzed into the end zone.

We had Ben Gedeon making a great pass defense downfield against Jimmy Graham, but probably starting said defense a bit too early.

We saw the referees call subtle push-offs on Packers pass catchers while largely ignoring some blatant holds by their offensive linemen.

We had Daniel Carlson shank a field goal just after the two-minute warning, followed by Eric Kendricks called for what would turn out to be only the second worst roughing the passer call of the game, leading to Mason Crosby giving the Packers giving a ten point lead at the halftime whistle.

We had Stefon Diggs make an incredible grab on a low throw for a short touchdown after leaving Tramon Williams in the dust with his pre-snap motion.

We had Aaron Rodgers “heroically” scrambling away from pressure and making sure everyone knew how bad his knee hurt by doing an exaggerated limp only after going out of bounds.

We had Everson Griffen spearhead a huge third down stop to force a field goal and keep the Vikings within striking distance halfway through the fourth quarter.

We had Kirk Cousins throw a gorgeous pass over 60 yards in the air to Diggs to get the Vikings back within two.

But the last twelve-plus minutes of this game were so unhinged that we simply have to gloss over all of that and get to the really important stuff. Like this interception that went directly through Treadwell’s hands and seemingly sealed the game for Green Bay.

After the Vikings defense held Green Bay to Mason Crosby’s fourth field goal of the game to keep within one score, this is what happened on the very first play of the ensuing drive.

It was the play that made me officially throw in the towel on any lingering hope I had for the third year receiver.

The Vikings have seemingly started to agree on Monday, signing Aldrick Robinson to a deal. Unfortunately, they weren’t done with him during the game, as they threw to him on back-to-back plays in the ensuing overtime...but we’re getting a bit ahead of ourselves here. There is lots of craziness left in regulation to cover.

Play 3: Vikings ball, 1st & 10 at the Minnesota 25. Fourth quarter, 1:45 remaining. (Shotgun) K.Cousins pass short right intended for S.Coley INTERCEPTED by J.Alexander at MIN 23. J.Alexander to MIN 18 for 5 yards (G.Iloka). PENALTY on GB-C.Matthews, Roughing the Passer, 15 yards, enforced at MIN 25 - No Play.

Even after Treadwell’s boner (stop giggling—I’m using the word correctly here), the Vikings defense once again held firm and held Green Bay to a field goal. Somehow, it was still a one score game with just under two minutes remaining. Once again, an interception on the first play of the drive seemed to negate all hope for Vikings fans.

But wait! Someone touched the quarterback! For the second straight week, Clay Matthews gave the opposing team new life with a roughing the passer penalty!

But unlike the opening week in Chicago, where Matthews obviously hit Mitchell Trubisky too late, this one was...well, it was a bad call. Even when looking at this one with the most purple-tinted glasses possible, I don’t see how this was a penalty. Just like I couldn’t see how roughing the passer was called on Kendricks earlier in the game. If these kind of hits are going to be illegal, I don’t know how one is able to hit the quarterback at all in today’s NFL.

(That said, I do appreciate the irony of the Packers getting a win taken away from a rule that was created to protect their quarterback.)

Play 4a: Vikings ball, 1st & 10 at the Green Bay 22. Fourth quarter, 0:37 remaining. (Shotgun) K.Cousins pass deep right to A.Thielen for 22 yards, TOUCHDOWN [M.Daniels].

Play 4b: Vikings ball, two-point conversion attempt. Fourth quarter, 0:31 remaining. K.Cousins pass to S.Diggs is complete. ATTEMPT SUCCEEDS.

Even after the egregious call against Matthews, the Vikings still had to drive 60 yards in just over 90 seconds to score. And then get a two point conversion. And that’s exactly what they did.

I still don’t know how the pass from Cousins found its way in the keyhole-sized space between Jaire Alexander and Kentrell Brice. I still don’t know how Adam Thielen held onto the ball and managed to park his backside in the end zone before going out of bounds. All I know is that it happened, it counted, and on the next play the Vikings tied the game on a perfectly executed goal line fade to Stefon Diggs.

And even after all THAT magic, the Packers had a chance to win the game at the end of regulation thanks to some truly baffling boundary defending by the Vikings secondary. But after five makes, Crosby finally missed a 52-yard try to put the game to overtime.

Daniel Carlson must have admired Crosby’s miss and said to himself, “let me show you how it’s done.”

Play 5: Vikings ball, 1st & 10 at the Green Bay 17. Overtime, 0:04 remaining. D.Carlson 35 yard field goal is No Good, Wide Right, Center-K.McDermott, Holder-M.Wile.

The play where Daniel Carlson literally kicked himself out of a job and opened the door for Dan Bailey to join the team.

Carlson had a really bad football weekend. He went 0-for-3, including two misses in overtime, in his second (and last) game with the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday. The day before, he watched his alma mater, Auburn, lose to LSU. To make matters worse, they lost by one point...on a last-second field goal. To make matters the worst, the Auburn kicker missed a 52-yard field goal earlier in the fourth quarter that would have forced LSU to go for a touchdown instead of that field goal at the end. That Auburn kicker? Anders Carlson. Daniel’s little brother.

Ouch.


As always, we welcome you to vote in the poll to tell us which play you thought was the biggest and encourage you to suggest any we may have missed in the comments. And for a game as bonkers as this one was, there were certainly a lot that we didn’t cover.

Poll

What was the most important play of the Vikings’ tie against the Packers?

This poll is closed

  • 9%
    Allison’s blocked punt
    (162 votes)
  • 1%
    Clinton-Dix’s interception off Treadwell’s hands
    (29 votes)
  • 26%
    Matthews’ "roughing the passer" penalty
    (429 votes)
  • 26%
    The TD to Thielen/Two-point conversion to Diggs
    (429 votes)
  • 35%
    Carlson’s fate-sealing shank in overtime
    (590 votes)
1639 votes total Vote Now