Packers lose a heartbreaker in Minnesota: What Went Right, What Went Wrong

MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA - NOVEMBER 21: Greg Joseph #1 of the Minnesota Vikings reacts after a successful field goal against the Green Bay Packers in the fourth quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium on November 21, 2021 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA - NOVEMBER 21: Greg Joseph #1 of the Minnesota Vikings reacts after a successful field goal against the Green Bay Packers in the fourth quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium on November 21, 2021 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images) /

It was a wild game, but ultimately the Green Bay Packers lost a heartbreaker at the hands of the Minnesota Vikings 34-31 on a last-second field goal.

The Packers remain in control of the NFC North, but the loss to the Vikings makes things interesting when they meet next on January 2nd at Lambeau Field

It was a wild ride Sunday, from beginning to end, entertaining, to say the least.

Let’s check out what went right in the Green Bay Packers’ heartbreaking loss Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings. 

The passing game may have finally found their groove.

For an unstoppable offense last season, this year has been a little bit of a struggle, especially in the passing department.

Sunday, they seemed to find their groove, finally.

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers started shaky but finished the game looking like the NFL MVP he was a season ago–finishing the game with four touchdowns and 385 yards and a 148.4 passer rating.

Rodgers went 10-11 for 197 yards and three touchdowns in the second half alone, including a 75-yard bomb to wide receiver Marques Valdes-Scantling to give the Packers the lead late in the game.

Both Davante Adams and Valdes-Scantling finished the day over 100 yards, and second-year tight end Josiah Deguara caught his first career touchdown.

Even in a loss, it was a welcoming sight if this is a step forward for this passing offense.

For most of the first half, the Packers as a team struggled. Let’s take a look at what went wrong Sunday in Minnesota.

According to multiple reports on Monday, the Packers lost pro-bowl utility offensive lineman Elgton Jenkins to a torn ACL and he will miss the remainder of the season. 

Arguably, the Packers’ most significant loss was not the one on the scoreboard but who they lost in the process.

This feels like a weekly visit, but the Packers have lost another key piece and pro-bowler to a season-ending injury. Multiple outlets have reported that Packers versatile lineman Elgton Jenkins has torn his ACL and will be out for the season.

Watching it live and seeing the replay, we all kind of knew what happened, unfortunately.

The Packers now face a massive concern on the offensive line, as three starters are out with injuries.

Yosh Nijman will now step in for the injured Jenkins, who has been absolutely solid this season while all-pro left tackle David Bakhtiari still rehabs his own ACL injury.

Jenkins will now face a long rehab process and look ahead to 2022.

The defense, who we all came to love, struggled mightily Sunday against the passing attack of the Vikings.

After giving up a combined total of 34 points over the past three weeks to elite quarterbacks, the Packers surrendered 34 points Sunday to the Vikings, making it only the second time this season the Packers have given up 30 or more points in a single game.

Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins picked apart the Packers’ secondary from start to finish, making big throw after big throw on critical downs.

Cousins finished the day with 341 yards and three touchdowns. Second-year receiver Justin Jefferson and veteran Adam Thielen were unguardable at times, finishing the day combined for 251 yards and three touchdowns.

The defense gave up a lot of yards and multiple big scores, but the most frustrating part of the game for me was the lack of execution when it seemed Cousins was seemingly trying to give the ball to the Packers.

The Packers arguably dropped four interceptions, while one was called back to a personal foul on defensive tackle Kingsley Keke for his hit on Kirk Cousins.

Over the past few weeks, the Packers defense has helped carry this team to victories. If all three phases of the team can ever figure things out and click at the same time, watch out.

Mason Crosby continues to be a severe issue. 

Like injuries each week, you can almost pencil in a missed kick from veteran Mason Crosby. Since that start of November, Crosby has missed at least one kick in each of the Packers’ three games.

This week, unfortunately, was no different.

Last season Crosby was a perfect 16-16, but that tide has changed greatly this season, going 15-23 thus far, only a shade above 65%.

Sunday was another example of the season struggles for Crosby, missing an easy 32-yard chip shot, bouncing it off the upright, ultimately costing the team three points.

The Packers have protected backup kicker JJ Molson on the practice squad every week this season. Could it be for COVID-related precautions? Very well may be why, but it’s something to monitor while Crosby continues to struggle.

The Packers now get set for a clash with the high-powered Los Angeles Rams at Lambeau Field.

It doesn’t get any easier for the Packers, as they get set for a matchup against the well-rested Rams, who will be fresh off their bye week when they travel to Green Bay.

This game will all, but certain, have significant implications down the stretch in determining the NFC playoff picture.