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Tie leaves Packers' locker room with mixed emotions

Players lament not capitalizing on opportunities


GREEN BAY – The Packers played to a tie for only the second time in the last 30 years on Sunday afternoon in front of 78,461 at Lambeau Field.

Much like the team's most recent stalemate in 2013, which also happened to come against the Minnesota Vikings, Sunday's 29-29 result left Green Bay's locker room with mixed emotions.

On one hand, the Packers overcame an unseasonably hot September day to make plays in all three phases of the game to seize control, beginning with Geronimo Allison's blocked punt that resulted in a Josh Jackson touchdown.

Conversely, there were feelings of dissatisfaction over missed opportunities, including a 1-of-5 success rate in the red zone and leaving the door open for a Minnesota comeback.

"You have to put games away like that, especially when you're up a majority of the game. You have to finish," receiver Davante Adams said. "It's more frustrating. Yeah, we tied. It's better than a loss but I'm not happy about it. I don't think anybody in here is."

The Packers controlled the tempo for much of the game. Offensively, they built a manageable game plan for injured quarterback Aaron Rodgers to effectively operate, while Jimmy Graham busted out with six catches for 95 yards.

It appeared Graham might have his first touchdown in Green Bay when Rodgers hit the five-time Pro Bowl tight end for a 12-yard touchdown in the third quarter. However, a holding penalty brought the play back and the Packers ultimately settled for a Mason Crosby field goal.

Crosby was lights-out for much the afternoon, tying his career high five made field goals from 37, 40, 31, 48 and 36. He appeared to hit his sixth on what would have been a game-winner from 52 yards, but Vikings coach Mike Zimmer called a timeout moments before the snap.

Crosby took the same approach to the next attempt, aiming for the left upright and looking to drill it in, but the ball didn't swerve back right on the second try and the game went to overtime.

In the final 10 minutes, Vikings kicker Daniel Carlson missed once from 49 and then again from 35 as time expired, leading to the tie.

"Obviously you hate losing, but ties are just weird. You don't get them a lot," Crosby said. "You have to go through it, process it and move on as quickly as we can, but obviously it went from being my best regular-season game to one I'm a little bummed about and that kick."

Green Bay's defense subdued Dalvin Cook (10 carries for 38 yards) and held the Vikings to only seven points through the first three quarters, but Kirk Cousins kept Minnesota afloat with a 75-yard touchdown pass to Stefon Diggs with 7 minutes, 29 seconds remaining.

The Packers came close to putting the Vikings away when Ha Ha Clinton-Dix picked off a pass off Laquon Treadwell's deflection and returned it 24 yards to Minnesota's 13, but Green Bay had to settle for a field goal to extend its lead to 29-21.

Rookie Jaire Alexander then appeared to pick Cousins off for the second consecutive series, but the play was called back due to a roughing-the-passer penalty on Clay Matthews.

Matthews said he was not given an explanation on the field, but referee Tony Corrente told pool reporter Rob Demovsky after the game the Packers' linebacker was flagged because he "picked him up and drove him into the ground."

Matthews and several of his teammates said they did not agree with the call. Regardless, the Vikings managed to tie the game with 31 seconds remaining with a 22-yard touchdown pass to Adam Thielen and Diggs successfully completing the two-point conversion.

"Obviously, disappointed, because we had a number of opportunities to put them away," Matthews said. "We fought hard, we battled. We'll be better as a team for this. You obviously want to come away with the win but we'll watch the film tomorrow, assess it, and try to correct those opportunities we had to put this game away."

Afterward, several players said they didn't know how to react to the tie, but most agreed there is value in the result. A handful of veterans, including cornerback Tramon Williams, were on the roster when the Packers rallied back from a 19-point halftime deficit to force a tie against the Vikings in November 2013.

That game ultimately allowed the Packers to win the NFC North and sneak into the playoffs, and after playing two barnburners to start the season, Williams believes the team will be better in the long run from these early-season experiences.

"The great thing about it is we're going to be in a lot of these types of games throughout the year," Williams said. "So for us to be having games like this early, we always want to come out on the top end of it. Today we didn't, but we didn't lose also.

"It's a different emotion. You're like, 'Ah, what do I feel?' You don't really know how to feel. But I'd rather learn from a tie than learn from a loss. So we'll go back to work this week and learn together."

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