After most games, I prefer to break down a few specific positive and negative things that the Vikings did on a Sunday afternoon. I can’t rationally do that after the gong show that was the 29-29 tie between the Vikings and Packers at Lambeau. Instead, here’s a look into my experience watching this insane game that hit every emotion I have, solidifying my love affair with this unforgiving sport.
I’m only going to focus on the fourth quarter and overtime; I don’t want this article to be 5,000 words long. This ignores the first blocked punt the Vikings have given up since 2014 (I was emotionless watching Joshua Jackson do the Lambeau Leap), the weak roughing the passer penalty on Eric Kendricks (so weak, which made me angrily text my dad to complain) and Laquon Treadwell’s first career touchdown (was so happy for him, only to start hating him less than an hour later).
Coming into the fourth quarter, the Vikings trailed 20-7. Given the way the offense looked throughout the game, I wasn’t confident that they could come from behind against Aaron Rodgers in Lambeau. If Kirk Cousins is worth the money, he was going to prove it during this quarter.
2nd & Goal at the Green Bay 3 – 14:17 left in the 4th quarter
When the pass was first thrown, I thought it was incomplete. I didn’t realize Stefon Diggs had scored until he tried to do a Lambeau Leap, which was rejected immediately.
Diggs has more confidence in one pinky toe than I’ll ever have in my entire life. I thought this was a bit excessive considering the Vikings were still down by six, but Diggs clearly knew he wasn’t done scoring in this one.
4th & 3 at the Minnesota 13 – 7:35 left in the 4th quarter
Mason Crosby hits his third field goal of the game. Why can’t the Vikings get a kicker as reliable as Crosby? How is it that ever since Ryan Longwell left in 2011, I’ve had to worry about extra points being made? Dan Bailey has turned into the Obi Wan Kenobi of this franchise, our only hope to reliably make kicks and defeat the Evil Empire.
Rodgers was able to take 6:42 off the clock and now the Vikings trailed by two scores with 7:35 left in the game. They needed a quick score, and what came next was so unfamiliar to a fan that’s watched mediocre quarterbacks for most of the past 23 years.
2nd & 10 at the Minnesota 25 – 7:18 left in the 4th quarter
I was watching this game on my couch, shirtless. If I had been wearing a shirt, I would’ve ripped it off after this. I sprung off my couch and screamed with glee as I watched this game alone in my apartment. Since I was standing, I decided to take a lap around my living room, inspired by watching Diggs run 75 yards to the house. It was the least I could do. Considering how unexpected this was, the adrenaline hit me hard and overtook my body. I’ve never tried heroin, but I’d imagine the peak of its high feels something like this.
You can come down from that high quickly when Rodgers gets the ball back. He milks another 5:05 off the clock and sets up another Crosby field goal, which he of course hits with ease. Vikings need a touchdown to win. THIS is where Kirk earns his money. Let’s go.
1st & 10 at the Minnesota 25 – 2:13 left in the 4th quarter
Kirk Cousins threw his first INT of the season on Sunday, but it wasn't his fault.
“Hello darkness my old friend…”. Cousins had a chance to lead the Vikes to a huge road win in Lambeau, all while overcoming a 13-point fourth-quarter deficit. That was taken away in two seconds as Treadwell couldn’t make a routine catch on a ball thrown right to his hands. My live reaction:
Don’t let Laquon on the team bus after the game. You can leave him in Green Bay
— Luke Hanlon (@luke_hanlon95) September 16, 2018
The Vikings defense saved them once again, holding the Packers to another field goal with only 19 seconds coming off the clock. Plenty of people criticized Mike McCarthy for passing twice during this sequence, which is understandable. Conventional wisdom says to take up the clock and leave the Vikings with as little time or timeouts as possible. I’m of the opinion that he did the right thing here, and I’m not only saying that because it helped the Vikings get to overtime. I was terrified of Rodgers dropping back to pass, convinced he would be able to score a touchdown in the red zone. When you have a Hall of Fame quarterback, you trust him. The Vikings defense did enough to get Kirk the ball back.
1st & 10 at the Minnesota 25 – 1:45 left in the 4th quarter
Clay Matthews was NOT happy after taking a late roughing the passer penalty. 😡
Holy s***, that was lucky. This was a weak call, but the same exact call was made against Kendricks in the first half. And while I loved Colin Cowherd’s rant telling Packer fans their quarterback was the reason this all happened, he’s wrong about that. Both penalties against Kendricks and Matthews were for lifting the quarterback, not landing with their weight on top of the QB. That’s not a new rule this season. On both hits, the linebacker lifted the quarterback’s leg, which leads to the call. Both should not have been called in my opinion, but I was not at all mad about it when Matthews got flagged and gave Cousins a second chance.
1st & 10 at the Green Bay 22 – 37 seconds left
This was the second touchdown of the quarter that I thought wasn’t completed. I have no idea how Cousins got this through two defenders. It was 50 percent insane accuracy and 50 percent irrational confidence, and it totally worked. I was standing again as I watched the replays, only to see that Adam Thielen made the catch after it was deflected, which makes this touchdown even more unfathomable. This touchdown led to another mini-adrenaline hit, but of course, the Vikings had to convert the two-point conversion as well. Enter Diggs once again.
Three keys to Stefon Diggs’ Sluggo that tied the Minnesota-Green Bay game:
•Staying light on his second step allowed for the hard plant + sell inside
•Eyes inside sold Slant on the CB who was peeking in the backfield
•Low pads + level shoulders allowed for the seamless C.O.D pic.twitter.com/rjF5KbFAfL
— Brad Kelly (@BradKelly17) September 17, 2018
KIRK COUSINS IS WORTH THE MONEY. THIS TEAM IS NOT AFRAID OF TRAVELING TO LAMBEAU. WE”RE HEADING TO OVERTIME AND WE’RE GONNA SCORE…*looks at the clock to see Aaron Rodgers has 31 seconds left and only needs a field goal*…”oh s***, we’re going to lose.”
2nd & 7 at the Minnesota 34 with three seconds left in the 4th quarter
Of course, Rodgers went down the field with ease, most of that coming on a 27-yard pass where Mackensie Alexander was burned once again and let Jimmy Graham run down the sideline. Crosby is lining up the 52-yard game-winner, which he inevitably drills. My soul is crushed once again.
BUT, the Jedi Master Mike Zimmer iced the gray-haired kicker (with a timeout he still had left, thanks McCarthy). This gave the Vikings new life, but I knew Crosby would end up nailing it aga…NEVERMIND HE MISSED IT!
4th & 9 at the Green Bay 31 – 7:36 left in overtime
The Vikings drive down the field, but their drive inevitably stalls when on second-and-nine and third-and-nine, Cousins throws it to Treadwell, both incomplete passes. The Vikings have two receivers who were over 100 yards on the day, burning Packers’ defensive backs, but the guy who had two key drops, one that led to a pick, gets targeted on two vital plays…alright then. Daniel Carlson misses a 49-yard field goal that no one expected him to make. Rodgers gets the ball back and only needs a field goal, it was a fun game while it lasted.
3rd & 4 at the Minnesota 40 – 4:34 left in overtime
Rodgers gets sacked by Alexander on a nickel blitz after Rodgers had been beating blitzes all afternoon, forcing the Packers to punt. Man, it’s a good thing I don’t play for this team, given my weak mindset and willingness to accept defeat.
1st & 10 at the Green Bay 17 – 4 seconds left in overtime
While Carlson is lining up for the game-winner, I’ve already accepted that he’ll likely miss it. Not only because he’s a rookie who’s missed two field goals already, but because he kicks for the Vikings, and we know how this ends. What made me the most upset was that Zimmer was so willing to settle for the field goal. Right after the two-minute warning, Cousins hit Diggs for six yards to get a key first down after a third-and-three. They had 90 seconds and the ball at Green Bay’s 21-yard line. Cousins was dealing, Thielen and Diggs were dominating and Kyle Rudolph is asking for a red zone target. Instead of trusting the quarterback you singed for $84 million guaranteed, you trusted a rookie kicker who had missed twice already. Zimmer took the traditional route, and it cost him. However, as Zimmer said in his post-game press conference, “guys are supposed to do their jobs.”
Sports are a drug. They’re the only legal thing that can make me jump and scream alone in my apartment. As high as the highs get, the lows are there to match. I got multiple adrenaline rushes in this game, but the 35-yard miss from Carlson sent me back down and stripped all of my dopamine along the way. Then I started tweeting while depressed, which is never good.
I’ve always hated sports
— Luke Hanlon (@luke_hanlon95) September 16, 2018
Sports piss me off, and this game REALLY pissed me off. Yet I know after my withdrawals during the week, I’ll be back ready for a few hits when the Vikings embarrass the Bills on Sunday. I have an unhealthy addiction and I’m 100 percent okay with it.
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