It was fitting. Sunday’s affair was a rivalry game, pitting two division combatants who each have designs on making the playoffs. Both teams excelled, and they both struggled. There were many fine moments, and plenty of blunders too.
As often happens, the outcome came down to one shining moment by one gifted athlete.
After roaring out to a 21-0 lead a minute into the second quarter, Green Bay slowly but surely lost the momentum that its fan base had helped inject. They were reeling and fatigued, and the Vikings were marching.
With ten minutes to go, Minnesota took over on its own 24-yard line. The Green Bay defense, which was on the field for much of the final three quarters, was fading, and Minnesota was smelling blood. In eight methodical plays, three of which featured a fresh and powerful rookie, Alexander Mattison, providing Dalvin Cook some relief at running back, the Vikings drove to the Packers 8-yard line, where they had a first down and goal to go.
Instead of continuing the ground assault, the Vikings and QB Kirk Cousins took to the air. The target was Stefon Diggs, who had been held to a single catch up to that point – but that one catch (in seven targets) had gone for 47 yards and a touchdown. Diggs appeared open as he raced toward the right back corner of the end zone.
Cousins timed his pass perfectly, lofting it high toward his fifth-year receiving star. Out of nowhere, Packers’ corner Kevin King, a full stride behind Diggs, emerged into the frame, and did his rendition of the Jeff Janis Hail Mary pass in January 2016. He rocketed up, high-pointed the ball, grasped it in both hands, and cradled it into his gut as he descended three feet and landed hard on his back.
As with the Hail Mary play, the impact jarred the ball, but King pinned it against his torso for a second or so, before it squirted away. The announcer called it this way:
Cousins throws a Hail Mary. Kevin King – did he come up with it? . . .The ruling on the field is an interception. . .They’re going to review it. . .Does the ball come out. . .Wow. . .Confirmed, a Packer takeaway.
Minnesota got the ball twice more in the waning minutes, but it was King’s heroics that secured this victory.
When King was drafted 33rd overall in 2017, the Packer coveted his 6’3” height, his 4.43 dash speed, and his 39.5” vertical jump. King utilized all three attributes to create the critical turnover.
This was one of four turnovers registered by the Packers D, two fumble recoveries and two interceptions. Mike Pettine stressed the need for more turnovers throughout training camp, and he’s been rewarded with five of them after two games.
It’s the kind of balletic athleticism that King displayed on Sunday that makes pro football the visual spectacle it is. Courtesy of King and Green Bay’s exceedingly-improved defense, the Packers find themselves alone at the top of the NFC North division.
That was a gift……he clearly fumbled it away.
I thought so too. I’m still not convinced it should have been rued an interception but the officiating yesterday was pretty bad overall. These offensive PI calls are also getting out of a hand early. It reminds me of the knee-jerk overreaction to the QB-Hit rule changes we saw in this same game last year with Clay. I’m optimistic it will level itself out after a couple of weeks as the refs start to moderate it better, like it eventually did.
It was a hell of an athletic play by King though. I kept watching the replay it seems like he had infinite hang time. But you’re right, if Calvin Johnson’s catch wasn’t a TD, then I don’t see how this was an INT.
Jaire should have had two picks on the day, including the bomb to Diggs.
Yes, Jaire could have easily batted it away, but got greedy and tried for the INT and should have caught it.. but, hell, he didn’t even seem to touch it at all..WTF!. And you talk about QB hits – did you see that Bears/ Bronco game at the end? There’s no way that’s roughing the passer. I call bullshit.
I missed the Broncos/Bears game. Last I saw, the Broncos went ahead with less than a minute left and I was happy to see them start 0-2. Then I heard the Piniero hit a 50+ yarder to pull it out.
In March of 2018 the NFL changed the catch rules so that incompletions like Calvin Johnson’s, and I hate to say Dez Bryant’s would now under new rules have been determined catches. King’s INT does comply with the new 2018 catch rules.
Rob, refreshing, a fair-minded article!
There is no doubt that the Packers are greatly improved but there is also no doubt the Vikings are a better team.
Notable stat lines from yesterday-
Jimmy graham- zero catches zero yards… 1 penalty 2 big missed blocks.
Mike daniels- literally didnt show up on the stat sheet…has like 1 tackle in 2 games. Just gotta let mike be mike right Charles woodson?
Why mention this?
Packers did a great job cutting one of these players…but the other not so much.
Grahams 3 reception 30 yard 1 td performance against the bears was so good relative to his other performances that packers fans have his back because of his “great stat line” vs the bears…it surely was a great stat line…for a number 2 te. 10 mill a year tight ends usually call that a bad game.
Yeah, that’s a question 75% of Packers fans are asking. I am not seeing the contract translate into production on the field. How often does the guy even draw double teams? Like, never? He can’t block. I don’t see the point.
Yeah, $10M for the Carcass That Used To Be Jimmy Graham is only slightly less of a waste than the $28 M the Yikes are paying for their “franchise “ QB. (What franchise – Dunkin Donuts?) I love hating on the Yikes so much it hurts
I didn’t see his contract rate anything above robbery the day he signed it (on record),
But it isn’t Jimmy’s fault he won the lottery, is it Russ?
Perhaps charity? Old russ is such a genius they wrote it off on their taxes..after all Jimmy didnt steal it…he was offered it
I really can’t blame a player for taking the cash Stig, it’s human nature, What gets me is it still seems there is no accountability in the front office. As a matter of fact, regardless of the bad contracts, they promote the man and give him more money and almost made him GM. Still….BROKEN.
Don’t get too caught up in the stats. There are lies and there are stats and sometimes they are the same thing. Daniels was a big loss to the Packers and a get for the Lions. He was 5th last year in internal d-line pressure despite little help. That does not grow on trees.
As per Graham, remember Aaron Rodgers is afraid to throw over the middle and Aaron has never been able to utilize TEs. Never. Anywhere. This is another one of those “Oh, it’s actually AARON! That’s why!” Just like how the offense was so bad the last few years and everyone blamed McCarthy. It was actually Aaron calling whatever plays he wanted. Or the lack of running. It was actually Aaron changing runs to passes.
As long as Aaron is QB no TE will be successful week after week in Green Bay. May as well just employ a blocking TE.
The NFC seems kind of wide open right now. The only teams I can point to and say they are pretty impressive is the cowboys and Rams. Even then, I have a hard time saying that they are clear cut favorites. We will have a good barometer for where the Packers are at after they play the Cowboys.
I was absolutely shocked that there wasn’t at least an extensive review on that. And why didn’t Zimmer challenge it? Seems he could afford a challenge at that point in the game but maybe not since the Yikes were behind. Oh well, good for us And I LOVE how it furthers the narrative that Kissing Cousins disintegrates into a pile of goo at the most important moments. Thanks “Kurt”
Kurt Cousins….and nobody thought Jay Cutler could be replaced :)
Kirk hates when you call him Kurt. Why, he will get so mad he’ll throw another INT
Question: has any ever SEEN Cousins and Cutty in the same place at the same time?
Not a challengeable play because turnovers are automatically reviewed. They reviewed it and concluded there wasn’t enough evidence to overturn the call on the field which was interception
I think a couple mentions are in order……
!) Good job JP getting this site back up to speed for the season…kudos
2) More importantly….I think the Green Bay Packers (Murphy and Goodell) deserve a lot of credit for rolling out the celebration of Bart Starr’s life during halftime. That is something special that all of Packer Nation, former Packers, the NFL, and most importantly…Bart Starr’s family, can cherish forever and hold those memory’s in their heart. We could all learn lessons in life by trying to emulate the kind of man Bart Starr was. Life is short, live it with meaning and random acts of kindness.
Godspeed to Bart and his family
I swear I posted this yesterday, so forgive me it this is elsewhere on this site.
I rewatched the miserable Packer offense after the 3 scores. It appeared to me that after the Packers went up by 21 points, just like McCarthy, LaFleur took his foot off the gas and was trying to get the run established, including attempting runs by our smallish backs on 3rd and short. The problem is that Zimmer predicted correctly the Packers were going to go into run mode and put 8 or even sometimes 9 men in the box. The Packers still got some yards, but they were stopped on a number of running plays.
Then in passing situations, any receiver not named Adams had a bad game. MVS, Allison and especially Graham had just awful games. Each of them killed drives with bad plays, more than once by Graham. The Packers have other tight ends on the team, they need to start using them more often.
Rodgers actually had a good game. The lack of offense after the three scores was not his fault.
Finally something the Packers need to figure out is how to deal with fake blitzes. Once Zimmer got to Rodgers a couple times, he started faking the blitz, moving guys up to the line, then backing them out into coverage. This is where Rodgers holds onto the ball. Somehow LaFluer and Rodgers need to come up with a fake blitz play. Maybe that’s not in the playbook yet.
And there it is….Yes deep…as a matter of fact the old lady working the sidelines said she talked to LaFleur after halftime and he told her they needed to keep their foot on the gas. At the time i was like….hell yea!!, That is…until they continued their 3 n out routine.
On the other hand Deep….they had one nice series the first week, 3 great drives Sunday, if they can continue to improve weekly, i’m down with that.
I have a somewhat different take on the game. After going up 21-0 ,thru the 2nd qt. till halftime, the RBs ran 9-46 before JW lost 2 on the 10th carry, so 10-44, which is fine. In the 3rd qtr. the RBs ran 8-40, AR went 3-5 -21yds(plus a sack and a lost fumble).In the 4th AR went 3-8-12 YDs and a sack up till the 2 minute warning. Pretty miserable after the “hot start”. It almost seems as if AR is channeling last years AR checking out of called run plays and feeling his oats going with passes he thinks will work. Having a fine defense backing him up is emboldening him to do so, IMO. And what’s with those stupid attempts to draw the Vikes off-side with his cadence? AR is certainly smart enough to know that they won’t work if you try them multiple times every week. You can bet that MLF gnashed his teeth every time Rodgers did it. Every eye in the stadium must have been on Rodgers walking away from the coach ,with Matt following him as he’s talking to Rodgers. ARs body language seemed clear, it was a subliminal “up yours” to the coach. Last week a couple of delay penalties while taking the clock down to zero. This week another penalty for that, as well as having 2 penalties called on his teammates for jumping during the afore mentioned attempts to draw the Vikes off side. I think Rodgers is going to do just as he pleases as he did last week. 2nd -5, 2 minutes to go deep in your territory with the lead, he checks out of a run to a pass that would have been picked had he not pulled it short. Football is a funny sport. Cousins is picked on 1st and goal from the 8,when a series of runs likely scores a TD, AR doesn’t get picked last week and GB wins. I get MLF covering for players but he needs to be aware that a potential problem looms, ironically enough, especially, if the Pack keeps on winning.. it’s something that needs to be addressed firmly and privately. We are 2-0 and easily could be 0-2 but as I said it’s a funny sport and it would be a shame if the entire team doesn’t buy in to the coaches’ approach going forward.