During Week 8 of the NFL season, the Green Bay Packers lost 28-22 to the Minnesota Vikings. This is the Week 8 Recap that will showcase exactly what went wrong for the Packers.
Unfortunately, the Green Bay offense couldn’t replicate the same efficiency and success from Week 1 with the absences of Aaron Jones, David Bakhtiari, and Allen Lazard. The run defense proved to be a massive liability yet again. The defense overall couldn’t generate impact plays in any capacity, forcing no turnovers and generating only 1 sack. It was a frustrating game to watch all around for Packer fans. Multiple drives ended deep in Minnesota territory but provided no points. Mostly, Dalvin Cook running through and over any Packer defender that tried to get in his way. As Green Bay looks to regroup headed into a tough rematch against the defending NFC Champs, what areas of play can Packer fans expect the team to focus on (and hopefully improve) during the next week of film study and practice?
Run Defense Abysmal Again
What a complete and utter disaster. The run defense provided little to no resistance against Dalvin Cook on Sunday. He piled up 163 yards and 3 touchdowns rushing while averaging over 5 yards per carry. He also took a screen pass 50 yards for a touchdown, shrugging off a few pathetic tackle attempts on the way to that score. Throughout the day, the Packer defenders appeared either afraid, unwilling, or incapable (or perhaps all 3?) of tackling Cook. It was an extremely disappointing display.
Because of this dominance on the ground, Kirk Cousins only had to throw the ball 14 times. In Week 1, the Packers forced Cousins to air-it-out in a cemback attempt. During Week 8, the Packers let Cook beat them and let Cousins manage the game instead. The result? A very disappointing in-division loss.
Playmaking Defense Missing Again
The Packer defense has generated only 4 turnovers through 7 games. That is tied for worst in the league. Their only saving grace has been that the offense has been so efficient (fewest giveaways in the NFL). That cannot continue. As the competition tightens up, the Packer defense must improve at creating turnovers. Some of the QB pressures must become sacks, more of the sacks must become strip-sacks, more of the pass breakups must become interceptions. They managed to put up one of their worst performances of the season overall against the Vikings. Only 1 sack and no turnovers generated while over half the passes Cousins completed went for 10 or more yards. Dalvin Cook’s dominance has already been well-documented in this article. Mike Pettine has to find a way to give this defense more teeth.
Offense Efficient, Unable to Finish
If you were to look at the box score alone, the efficiency of the Packer offense would make it seem like they should have won this game. Aaron Rodgers had a good game with 3 touchdowns, no interceptions, nearly 300 yards, and 66% completion percentage. The running game was solid as well, averaging 4.5 yards per carry with over 100 yards overall.
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Unfortunately, 3 second-half turnovers proved to be crucial in the outcome of the game. On their first drive of the second half, the Packers got down to the Minnesota 37 before stalling out and turning the ball over on downs. Their following drive was torpedoed by back-to-back holding penalties that took them from 1st and 10 at the Minnesota 32 to 1st and 30 from their own 48. Naturally, they ended up punting on that drive. The next drive, they again got to the Minnesota 32 and couldn’t advance further, once more turning it over on downs. On the final play, a Hail Mary chance, the offensive line inexplicably let one of the 3 pass rushers get to Rodgers before he could unleash the throw. This game-ending strip-sack instead, a brilliant microcosm of the entire day offensively.
This game was extremely frustrating to watch. However, there are some positive notes to remember going into Week 9. The defense, despite getting steamrolled most of the day to the tune of 4 straight Minnesota drives ending with touchdowns, tightened up down the stretch. This gave the offense a chance by forcing 3 consecutive punts to close out the 4th quarter. As previously noted, the offense was again extremely efficient, even while lacking Jones and Bakhtiari.
On an individual note, Rodgers and Adams were once again a potent combination, producing 3 touchdowns. Jamaal Williams again proved to be a capable replacement for Jones, rushing for an efficient 75 yards and catching all of his 6 targets. Adrian Amos led the team in tackles and has been progressively improving his impact and overall form as the season goes on.
The strip-sack at the end of the game was one of only two hits on Rodgers the offensive line gave up all game. Like previously mentioned, the offense regularly went deep into Minnesota territory. Despite the many frustrating negative notes from the game, there is plenty to build upon from Sunday’s game.
This will hopefully be the most frustrating game the Packers play all year. They had more than enough chances to win this game, regularly shooting themselves in the foot with either penalties or stalling out drives. The defense was horrendous most of the day. They only really put up a fight when the Vikings became conservative with the ball to avoid a turnover while protecting a 2 touchdown lead in the 4th quarter. The defense must generate more turnovers if this team plans to truly contend for a title. The offense needs to finish drives when they get inside the opponent’s 35-yard line if they expect to truly contend for a title.
This game could have been a win, but a mix of coaching errors and on-field errors turned it into a loss. There is plenty of good for the Packers to replicate moving forward, but they must address the problems that got exposed in this game.
Thank you for reading this Packers Week 8 Recap. Be sure to check out Full Press Coverage for more great NFL content.