It's difficult to win in the NFL when your team is having trouble stopping the run. It's even more difficult when your own offense can't get the rushing attack off the ground.
But when you have trouble in both areas, it makes for a nearly impossible hill to climb.
The Packers lost 20-17 at Lambeau Field Monday night as the Vikings put together a 58-yard drive with just over three minutes to go in the game, and Paul Edinger kicked a walk-off field goal of 27 yards.
Edinger's kick came after the Packers tied the score with a 46-yard field goal by Ryan Longwell, capping a 39-yard drive.
It was Edinger's second game winner against the Packers this season, but the heroes had to be the Vikings offensive and defensive lines. The offense, led by running back Mewelde Moore, averaged a robust 4.3 yards a carry on 37 attempts. Moore finished with 122 yards on 22 attempts for a whopping 5.5 yard average.
On the flip side, the Packers couldn't manage to get Samkon Gado or Tony Fisher untracked. After an impressive performance at Atlanta, Gado started his second consecutive game, but finished with only seven yards this time around. Overall, the Packers netted 21 yards on the ground.
According to right tackle Mark Tauscher, the offensive line's struggles were the difference in the game.
"It was a poor effort tonight by everyone up front," Tauscher said. "Every week we say that we need to run the football to be effective. Obviously we didn't run the football tonight and we weren't effective. Those two things go hand in hand.
When you run the football, everything else opens up. Tonight we basically became a passing team and when you do that, they can pin their ears back and start running more stunts than they can if we are running the ball effectively. So that's kind of where you can look at why didn't execute on offense."
Fisher agreed that the Packers failure to run the ball put the offense at a huge disadvantage.
"There was something we needed to get right and we weren't able to get it right," Fisher said. "Obviously, it made us change from what we wanted to do in the game. In the end, when you have to just leave it all on the passing game, their defense already knows what's coming."
The Packers were looking for a little revenge after the October 23rd loss to the Vikings, which makes the loss even tougher, Fisher admitted.
"It's extremely tough," Fisher said. "We felt coming into the game that we were more than capable of beating them. We let one slip away from us over there and we let another one slip away from us today. They made the plays when they needed to make them, and we didn't."
Despite the same ending, Tauscher felt that Monday's loss was just opposite of the one played in Minnesota.
"I don't think we played well today," Tauscher explained. "This was a complete 180 from the Metrodome game. Our defense played great, our offense stunk (tonight)."
Head Coach Mike Sherman said the Vikings defensive front in particular played a great game.
"Their inside guys did a nice job on our inside players," Sherman said. "Our guards struggled at times with those fellows. You have to give them credit. They did a nice job."
The Packers offense had issues in protecting the ball as Brett Favre threw two interceptions and Gado also fumbled in the Packers opening possession of the third quarter, which Vonte Leach recovered. It turned out to be Gado's last carry of the game, but not solely because of that miscue, Sherman said.
"It was a combination of things, certainly the fumble didn't help much," Sherman said. "I would have been more willing to get him back in there, but we were in a different type of game. We did not have any success with anybody running the football."
Gado said that there are no excuses for his third fumble in two weeks.
"I've got to fix it," Gado said. "If I don't fix it, I won't be here much longer. I won't be anywhere much longer. And that's just the nature of the beast."
Na'il Diggs wasn't ready to put the blame squarely on the shoulders of the offense. In fact, he said that the defense had a difficult time stopping the run despite knowing what was coming.
"They didn't run many different plays," Diggs said. "They ran a lot of the same plays over. Sometimes back to back. For whatever reason, we didn't get to the ball. He (Moore) was making the plays he had to make and getting yardage off of those."
Aaron Kampman was a bright spot on the defense, however. The defensive end notched his first two-sack game of his career to go along with seven total tackles, one pass defensed and one forced fumble.
His performance wasn't much consolation though.
"Regardless of the individual performance, you just can't feel good when we lose a game again," Kampman said. "We have to find a way to get it fixed."
According to Kampman, the Packers can't feel sorry for themselves and don't intend to stop playing hard despite suffering so many heart-breaking losses.
Whenever you decide to lay down, that's a terrible sign of a man and a team and we'll never do that," Kampman said. ""It's a bitter pill to swallow. We can't do anything about it. We have a short week coming up and we have a Philly team who is going through some things as well. We have to get ready to play them."