NFL Green Bay Packers

Green Bay Packers Loss to Minnesota Vikings: The Good

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Green Bay Packers' Loss to Minnesota Vikings: The Good

Brace Hemmelgarn - USA Today Sports

The Green Bay Packers’ loss to the Minnesota Vikings was disappointing, to say the least. It cost the Packers a valuable week of rest and sent them into the playoffs on a sour note. As frustrating as the loss was, there are some good things to be taken from Sunday’s game.

There was a lot to like in the final three quarters of the offense. The Packers put up 405 yards of offense and were 4-for-4 in the redzone.

Running back DuJuan Harris averaged five yards a carry on 14 carries, including some big first down runs that helped put the Packers in favorable down-and-distance situations.

Considering how close the game was, the Packers have to feel reasonably confident facing this team again on Saturday at Lambeau Field. It seemed much of the struggles of the first quarter were due to miscommunication caused by the crowd noise, a problem the Packers won’t have to deal with at home.

As bad as the defense was in the loss, Packer fans have seen the same defense play well. Hopefully, they got all the bad tackling out of their system and will be ready for a rematch.

Perhaps the best part of the day for Packer fans was knowing that the Chicago Bears and their fans had to cheer for the Packers - and they still got knocked out of the playoffs! I actually kind of feel bad for them considering the dirty, cheating should be 9-6* Seattle Seahawks made it into the playoffs ahead of them, but I’m still a Packer fan and I’ll never miss a chance to kick the Bears when they’re down.

Click through to see the best of the loss:

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Brace Hemmelgarn - USA Today Sports

After a lethargic, mistake-filled first quarter, the offense started clicking like fans are used to seeing in recent weeks. Aaron Rodgers looked like Aaron Rodgers and there were big plays from Jordy Nelson, Greg Jennings, DuJuan Harris, Jermichael Finley, James Jones, and Jarrett Boykin. Here’s Rodgers’ stats from the third quarter: 7 for 7, 177 yards, two touchdowns, and a perfect 158.3 passer rating. If the Packers had been able to get into that rhythm earlier - before spotting the Vikings 13 points - they would have been able to close the game out. It’s too bad they weren’t able to complete the comeback, but the Packers were down 13-0 to begin the game and were playing in a loud, hostile environment, and were able to take the game down to the final minute.

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Mason Crosby

Benny Sieu - USA Today Sports

The Packers’ kicker continued his tentative hot streak (lukewarm streak?) on Sunday by converting his third and fourth consecutive kicks, including just his second of the season from beyond 50 yards. I don’t want to say anything more out of fear of jinxing him, but good job! It’s at least a step in the right direction.

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Jermichael Finley

Jeff Hanisch - USA Today Sports

For as much as I criticize Finley, it’s only fair to give him credit when it is due. Finley caught eight of his nine targets for 72 yards, including a couple of huge first downs. Nice job, JMike.

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Jordy Nelson

Bruce Kluckhohn - USA Today Sports

How adorable is Nelson? Besides catching a huge 73-yard pass that would lead to a touchdown and catching an incredible back-shoulder throw for his own score, Nelson seemed to be the team’s guardian angel.

Mike McCarthy inexplicably threw the challenge flag in his irritation over a fumble call. Besides costing the Packers 15 yards on an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for challenging a play that is automatically reviewed, McCarthy could have cost his team the touchdown which was rewarded to them on the replay. As Jim Schwartz and the Detroit Lions learned the hard way, the unsportsmanlike conduct penalty is immediately enforced, and supersedes the review, meaning that the review is never conducted because it was automatically going to be reviewed (great job on the rule book there, NFL). Thank sweet baby Jesus in heaven, the replay official buzzed down for the replay just before McCarthy threw the red flag, so the play was indeed reviewed and resulted in a Green Bay touchdown rather than the original fumble it was ruled.

When McCarthy threw the flag, Nelson, aware of the rule, sprinted over, picked up the flag and tried to hide it in his hands, hoping the refs hadn’t seen it. (So adorable - is it any wonder why he’s number one?)

Then, when rookie Jeremy Ross was in the huddle when he shouldn’t have been, Nelson, who was on the sidelines, ran onto the field, into the huddle, and grabbed Ross and pulled him out so that the Packers avoided a 12 men on the field penalty.

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Greg Jennings

Bruce Kluckhohn - USA Today Sports

Jennings had his best game of the season, scoring two touchdowns, and recording some impressive yards after the catch. If he can’t be with the Packers next year (but I’m still holding out a glimmer of hope!), at least he can have a great rest of the season and earn himself a nice contract elsewhere, à la Matt Flynn.