Penalties, Sacks and Turnovers Key to Packers Loss
About the only thing the Green Bay Packers did right in their ugly 30-23 loss to the Vikings in the MetroBarn last night was hold Adrian Peterson to 55 yards rushing. Peterson did score once, but was held to an average of just 2.2 yards per rush, which is no small feat considering he’s racked up 415 yards in four games so far this season.
But really. That’s about the only thing the Packers did right last night.
Penalties, sacks and turnovers killed any hopes Green Bay might have had of coming in and stealing a win from the Vikings. The Packers were flagged seven times for 57 yards compared to Minnesota’s two penalties for 10 yards. Packers’ coach Mike McCarthy acknowledges it played a role in the loss.
“Penalties was a negative,” McCarthy said. “I think we had six penalties (for 47 yards) and they didn’t have any. I know it didn’t balance out either, as the game went on. It was definitely a factor in the game.”
On to sacks. Aaron Rodgers was sacked eight times by the Vikings, bringing his total to 20 in just four games so far this season. That’s four more than any other NFL team has allowed and just 14 less than the Packers allowed in the entire 2008 season. Something’s gotta give here. Yes, Rodgers needs to let go of the ball sooner, and yes, the Packers are losing offensive linemen left and right, but columnist Mike Vandermause is right when he says it’s a wonder Rodgers not only survived, but passed for 384 yards and finished with a 110.6 quarterback rating.
“It’s a slap in the face,” said Daryn Colledge, who shifted over from left guard to left tackle in place of the injured Chad Clifton. “For an offensive line that prides itself on its ability to do one-on-one pass protection, it’s a struggle. That’s hard. That’s gut-wrenching. You know how important that guy is back there. I take it personal every time he gets hit, whether it’s my guy or someone else’s guy. We know how special he is and we’ve got to keep him off the ground.”
The Packers defense also failed in the sacks category. I’m not sure they even touched Brett Favre more than a couple times, at one point giving him more than seven seconds to decide what to do with the ball – an eternity in the NFL. Charles Woodson and others on the defense are fired up, some are blaming Dom Capers for not blitzing more, but it’s not one person’s fault. The Packers have just five sacks so far this season and just one in the past two games.
Woodson now says he feels foolish for talking about the Super Bowl before the season.
“I talked big and now I look like I don’t know anything about anything,” Woodson said. “The reality is that we’re nowhere close to what I thought we were earlier in the preseason coming into the season. We’ve got a long ways to go.”
That’s right, Charles. It’s time to shut your trap like your teammate Rodgers and focus on getting the Packers back on track.
Finally, Rodgers coughed up the ball twice, both times deep in Minnesota territory when the Packers were moving the ball with apparent ease. He fumbled on the opening series, leading to Minnesota’s first touchdown, and threw his first pick since last season late in the first half that led to another Vikings’ score.
Green Bay shot itself in the foot countless times in this loss. The Packers are now light years behind unbeaten Minnesota in the race for the NFC North, and sit in third place behind Chicago (3-1) with a 2-2 record heading into the bye week.
In Colledge’s words “we’ve got a lot to fix” over the next two weeks. You’ve got that right, Daryn. You have definitely got that right.
Sarah is a writer and editor living in the Twin Cities, a lifelong Packers fan and an ardent supporter of all things anti-Vikings.