Geronimo Allison finding ways to make plays

Pass rushers still adjusting to NFL rules emphasis

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GREEN BAY – Geronimo Allison wanted to make an impact Sunday and it didn't matter to the Packers' third-year receiver what phase of the game it came in.

While his six catches for 64 yards were welcome contributions to Green Bay's passing game, Allison sparked the Packers with a blocked punt on the Minnesota Vikings' first possession of Sunday's 29-29 tie at Lambeau Field.

Allison broke through the line and dove in front of Vikings' punter Matt Wile, popping the ball into the air for rookie cornerback Josh Jackson to catch in Minnesota's end zone to put the Packers ahead early.

It marked the first time Green Bay had blocked a punt and returned it for a touchdown since Davon House and Dezman Moses combined on the feat against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Oct. 29, 2012, despite the Packers only having 10 players on the field at the time.

"Man, that was cool," cornerback Jaire Alexander said. "I'm happy for Geronimo for blocking it and Josh for catching. That definitely was a bolt of energy. We just have to keep that all four quarters."

Offensively, Allison has flourished as the No. 3 receiver in the Packers' first two games and had two critical catches in the fourth quarter of Sunday's game against the Vikings.

He showed good second effort to turn a short pass into a 22-yard completion and then caught a 12-yard slant in a third-and-8 situation to extend the drive and put Green Bay within field-goal range.

An undrafted receiver out of Illinois in 2016, Allison quickly developed the trust of quarterback Aaron Rodgers during his first two NFL seasons and has fit right in with veteran receivers Davante Adams and Randall Cobb.

"I'm not surprised. There's a lot of guys like that," said cornerback Tramon Williams, who entered the league himself as a college free agent in 2006. "As much as we think guys like myself or guys like Geronimo are missed, missed scouts looking at them, they're not missed. Just not heard of during the process of scouting."

Allison wasn't throwing any bouquets for himself after the tie, though. For him, it comes down to one thing.  

"Consistency," Allison said. "That's one thing I preach and pride myself on a lot, and just being available, being open and making the plays that are there."

Adjusting to the emphasis: Two weeks into the regular season, pass rushers across the NFL are still getting acclimated to the emphasis the league is placing on protecting the quarterback.

Two more unnecessary roughness penalties were called Sunday at Lambeau Field with Minnesota linebacker Eric Kendricks getting flagged before halftime and Packers linebacker Clay Matthews drawing a foul for allegedly picking up and driving Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins to the ground.

The penalty wiped out a Jaire Alexander interception and led to some confusion in Green Bay's locker room afterward.

"When you're tackling somebody, you're taught to bring your feet with your head to the side," said defensive lineman Kenny Clark, who had a sack in the game. "However that guy goes down, that's how he goes down. It's kind of tough. I don't know if they want us to twirl our body while we're tackling a guy. That's kind of putting us at a dangerous (spot). I don't know."

Defensive lineman Mike Daniels said he pulled up on a possible sack of Kirk Cousins in the third quarter because he didn't know how to sack him without drawing a possible flag. Pump-faking, Cousins then scrambled away from the sack for a 1-yard gain.

"If I wrap him and take him down – (guard Mike) Remmers is already on me – Remmers is going to fall on me, then I fall on the quarterback, and now it's 15," Daniels said. "It's just trying to be smart without losing my aggression, and you just don't know."

Graham factor: This was the type of game the Packers had in mind when they signed Jimmy Graham back in March.

The five-time Pro Bowl tight end led the Packers with 95 yards on six catches, including a 34-yard connection at the start of the third quarter. He also pulled down a 27-yard catch and got out of bounds with seven seconds remaining to give Green Bay a chance at a game-winning 52-yard field goal.

"Jimmy has been successful in this league for a long time," Allison said. "He's been getting going. He's done some things well in practice and he's Jimmy Graham. He's going to get open. He's going to make plays."

Hot in here: With a game-time temperature of 80 degrees, the Packers and Vikings had to battle the elements during Sunday's three-hour, 37-minute contest.

The Packers only had one player drop out due to cramping (Alexander), but he returned to the game within a few plays. The rookie cornerback admitted it felt like training-camp conditions, but he believed his cramping had more to do with coming back on the field after his interception of Cousins.

"It felt like camp almost. It's one of the hottest games we've been in," Alexander said. "We just had to hydrate."

Unexpected surprise: Lucas Patrick knew he had to be ready for a possible pooch punt when special teams coordinator Ron Zook added the second-year offensive lineman as a blocker on the kickoff-return team.

Sure enough, the Vikings kicked one to him midway through the fourth quarter. Patrick's 8-yard effort was the only kickoff the Packers returned Sunday.

"Doing the special-teams ball drills at the end of practice paid off," Patrick said. "Getting my job done on that, I'm happy with that. But it would have been nicer if it'd been an 80-yard return."

Big leg: Rookie punter JK Scott displayed the leg strength that made him the Packers' fifth-round pick this spring, averaging 51.8 yards (45.2 net) on five punts.

His best effort was a 63-yard punt in the second quarter, moving the ball from the Packers' 19-yard line to the Vikings' 18 after a fair catch.

"Every time I go out there I'm not really focusing on distance," Scott said. "I always try through the week to hit a high trajectory ball, so it's just naturally, when you connect with the ball, it's just going to go. If you can worry about the things that you need to, not even really the punt, but if I can focus on one or two things – to walk my line straight and make good solid contact, the thing is going to take care of itself."

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