GREEN BAY – Not a lot went right for the Packers during Sunday's 24-10 loss to Minnesota, but effort and urgency once again gave Green Bay a chance late during Sunday's game.
While the Vikings led by two scores, Preston Smith and Kenny Clark recorded back-to-back sacks of quarterback Kirk Cousins that forced a Greg Joseph field goal on fourth-and-23 with 9 minutes, 50 seconds left.
After noticing a few things on film, the Packers busted through for their NFL-best second blocked field goal of the season after rookie Karl Brooks got his hand on Joseph's 44-yard attempt.
Green Bay safety Jonathan Owens corralled the loose ball and returned it 23 yards to the Packers' 44.
"We'd seen a lot of holes in their field-goal protection, and we've been doing a really good job at that all year," Clark said. "It's one of the staples of our team. K.B. made a tremendous play on that."
With the blocked field goal, Brooks joins defensive lineman T.J. Slaton (Oct. 24, 2021) as the only Green Bay rookies to block a field goal over the last 30 seasons (1994-2023).
The block came after 6-foot-7 tackle Yosh Nijman blocked Daniel Carlson's 53-yard attempt earlier this month in Las Vegas. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the two blocked FGs on the season matches Green Bay's top mark over the last 20 seasons (also 2004, 2014).
The Packers' offense drove down to the Minnesota 10 following the block, but three straight incompletions led to the turnover on downs with 7:19 remaining.
"I thought this game was gonna come back down to that last possession again," running back Aaron Jones said. "I wanted to be in that position, and I wanted our guys to be in that position so we can succeed during that time when we hadn't in previous games and let them know, 'Hey. This is us. This is who we're gonna be.'"
Although the Packers came up short, Smith was proud of how the team didn't quit after trailing by as much as 21 points in the third quarter.
"That just shows you what this team is about. No matter what's going on, we're going to finish," Smith said. "Like I said about these guys earlier this year, we never give up, even if we have to continue to the parking lot. These guys are going to continue to play hard and continue to fight and continue to try to make plays to put our team in position to win."
Alexander said after the game that his back "felt good enough" to finish against Minnesota, while Musgrave battled through an ankle injury that initially had him in a walking boot and sidelined him during practice on Wednesday and Thursday.
"That's part of football," Musgrave said. "Monday, I was not thinking I was going to play, but great training staff, great people around me, and I fought to play, and they got me ready to play. If I can play football, I'm going to play football because that's what I'm here to do, that's what I love."
Linebacker De'Vondre Campbell had a team-high 14 tackles in his first game since injuring his ankle in Week 3 against New Orleans.
Wanting one back: Jayden Reed led the Packers with four catches for 83 yards but the only play on his mind after the game was the one ball the rookie receiver didn't come down with.
On the Packers' first play of the third quarter, quarterback Jordan Love targeted Reed deep on third-and-8. It looked like a completion at first but Vikings safety Josh Metellus wrestled it from Reed for the takeaway.
"I gotta attack the ball right there. That's completely on me," Reed said. "I'm a receiver. I'm paid to catch balls. Right there, I just gotta make that play."
Reed has been a bright spot for the Packers during their 2-5 start. Through seven games, He leads Green Bay with 314 receiving yards on 20 catches (15.7 yards per reception).
"Hungry. I just want to win," said Reed when asked how he's feeling after the game. "I want to be better personally. There's definitely more I can do. Like on the (interception), I gotta have those. That's why I'm here. I'm just hungry to be a better player."
Check out photos from the Week 8 matchup between the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings at Lambeau Field on Sunday, Oct. 29, 2023.
Three in a row: With two more sacks Sunday, Smith surpassed Tony Bennett for No. 7 in team history with 37½ career sacks.
It also was Smith's third consecutive game with at least one sack, the first time the ninth-year veteran has hit the trifecta since 2018 with Washington.
"Preston and R.G. (Rashan Gary) did a great job of getting pressure and putting them behind the sticks," Clark said. "Preston did a good job at pressuring the quarterback, getting him to step up."