GREEN BAY – The Packers dropped their fourth straight game, losing to the Vikings on Sunday at Lambeau Field, 24-10.
Here are five takeaways from the defeat:
- Matt LaFleur's opening statement to the media summed up the frustrations.
"Well, that was obviously tough to watch," LaFleur said before taking questions. "Just way too many mistakes. Penalties, drops, not being able to convert on third down. Conversely, not getting off the grass on third down. Struggles in the red zone. Starting the game out, I want to say four three-and-outs. It's hard to get into a rhythm offensively, and then when we needed a stop or whatever, we weren't able to do that."
- The numbers back up everything he said.
The Vikings (4-4) had 24 first downs to the Packers' 16, converting on third down 10 times in 18 tries to Green Bay's five in 14. The Packers (2-5) also failed on three of four fourth downs. Minnesota was actually 9-of-14 until the final 11 minutes of the game.
LaFleur estimated the Packers dropped six passes as QB Jordan Love was barely over 50% completions (24-of-41, 229 yards, one TD, one INT, 72.1 rating).
The Vikings possessed the ball nearly 13 minutes longer (36:22 to 23:38). Green Bay committed 11 penalties for 99 yards to Minnesota's seven for 35 yards, with three of the Packers' infractions 15-yard personal fouls that moved the chains, one of them on third down. The statistical list goes on.
"Certainly the lack of disciplined play, that's paramount," LaFleur said. "Because it doesn't matter what you're doing if we're getting called for things. We've got to clean it up."
- The game turned hard the wrong way early in the second half.
After the Packers finally mustered some points on their final drive of the first half to get within 10-3 at intermission, the beginning of the second half nearly buried them.
The Vikings went 75 yards in 13 plays, converting three third downs and a fourth down along the way, for a touchdown. The defense had a chance to get off the field right away on third-and-9 to open the series, but QB Kirk Cousins found receiver K.J. Osborn for 32 yards to put the Packers on their heels.
Three snaps after tight end T.J. Hockenson's TD catch, Love fired deep down the middle for rookie receiver Jayden Reed, who got both hands on the ball but had it stolen by safety Josh Metellus as he came down.
On the very next play after the interception, Cousins found rookie receiver Jordan Addison down the seam for a 20-yard TD, and it was suddenly 24-3.
- Yet amazingly, the Packers had a chance to make a game of it in the fourth quarter.
A 14-play, 81-yard TD drive, capped by a 1-yard TD pass to receiver Romeo Doubs on fourth-and-goal, made it 24-10, but even that was a slog.
With first-and-goal on the 1, the offense almost blew it even with Minnesota jumping offside on third down to move the ball halfway there.
But that mighty struggle only foreshadowed the failures that followed two huge plays, both of which tried to keep the comeback alive.
But the ensuing drive stalled when rookie receiver Dontayvion Wicks dropped a slant pass near the goal line on second-and-5 from the Minnesota 10. Two incompletions later, it was a turnover on downs.
"We had a hurtful drop going in with an opportunity to cut it to a one-possession game," LaFleur said.
Then, with Cousins out of the game for what's been reported as a season-ending Achilles injury, backup QB Jaren Hall fumbled on a Preston Smith sack near the Minnesota goal line, with Devonte Wyatt recovering in the red zone.
But miscues doomed the Packers again. A second-down sack put Green Bay in a long-yardage situation, and Love's scramble on fourth-and-16 came up a yard shy.
"You've got to capitalize on those opps, and we have not been able to do that," LaFleur said. "Extremely disappointed."
Added Love: "Making plays – that's what it comes down to right there at the end. We had opportunities."
Check out photos from the Week 8 matchup between the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings at Lambeau Field on Sunday, Oct. 29, 2023.
- So the same question gets asked for the fourth time in a row. What now?
LaFleur's message was as simple as it gets: "Keep working," he said.
Love ultimately asked a question of his own.
"It's frustrating, man," he said. "I'm frustrated. Everybody in that locker room's frustrated. Plain and simple, we're not winning. We're losing games and it's all games that we should be winning, I think.
"It comes down to a play here, a play there … and everybody's frustrated, but the question is, what are we gonna do to change that?"