Nobody went home happy after a bizarre 29-29 Green Bay-Minnesota tie on Sunday afternoon in Wisconsin.
Not Aaron Rodgers, who played with a bulky knee brace and gutted out what should have been a victorious performance.
Not Kirk Cousins, the other high-priced quarterback on the field, who lived up to the hype with a 425-yard, four touchdown (including three in the fourth quarter) effort that also could have resulted in a better fate Not Clay Matthews, who took a highly questionable roughing the passer penalty late in the fourth quarter that sure seemed like a legal play and would have all but ended the game had the officials not thrown a flag. Cousins threw an interception on the play and once it got reversed by the penalty, Adam Thielen made a spectacular touchdown catch with 31 seconds remaining and Cousins found Stefon Diggs for a two-point conversion to tie the game.
Certainly not rookie Vikings kicker Daniel Carlson, who missed field goal attempts to both start and conclude overtime, preventing Minnesota from rallying from a late 13-point deficit a week after Rodgers had brought the Packers back from 20 down against the Chicago Bears.
Rodgers had added to his already sparkling resume after being carted away last week and the former NFL MVP sat out practices this week and was listed as questionable for the game, but to the surprise of nobody, was in the lineup. He wasn’t himself, but still showed his class, throwing for 281 yards and a touchdown. Rodgers helped his club build the lead that should have stuck, then even after everything had fallen apart, marched the Packers 41 yards in 27 seconds in overtime to set up Mason Crosby’s potential game-winning field goal. The veteran hit the kick, but Minnesota had iced him, calling timeout just in the nick of time.
After nailing six attempts (including the one that was waved off), Crosby finally missed, giving the Vikings a second shot in extra time.
But special teams were anything but special for the Vikings in a game that saw the scoring opened when a punt was blocked by Green Bay’s Geronimo Allison into the arms of Josh Jackson 7:28 seconds into the proceedings.
Carlson’s day was truly disastrous.
After Minnesota won the toss and elected to receive, Cousins got them into field goal range, only to see Carlson miss his second attempt of the afternoon.
Rodgers finally looked mortal on the final Packers drive of the game, resulting in a punt and nearly some Cousins magic.
The quarterback marched the Vikings up the field from his own 20 yard line all the way up to the Green Bay 17, only to see Carlson miss another one.
The 23-year-old had struggled in the pre-season too, missing a pair of 42 yard attempts on August 24th against Seattle, which had led head coach Mike Zimmer to warn afterward: “If he’s going to miss them (field goals), I’m going to go for two (point conversions).” The Vikings cut Kai Forbath, the eighth-most accurate kicker in league history in August after he missed five extra point attempts in 2017. The team then traded up to take Carlson in the fifth round of the draft.
Ex-Cowboys kicker Dan Bailey is a free agent and is the second-most accurate kicker in NFL history.
Profootballtalk.com reported that Bailey has already turned down four “very good offers” to join clubs.
The Vikings, the top defensive team in the NFL in 2017 and once again Super Bowl contenders, especially if Cousins keeps this up, might be able to convince him, should they come calling.
DEION WOULD HAVE SAT RODGERS Superstar cornerback turned football pundit Deion Sanders said in the leadup to the game that he would not have let Rodgers play. “He got hurt last year against that nasty Mike Zimmer defence, and secondly you’re not going to win anyway against Minnesota Vikings,” Sanders told NFL Network.“It’s a valiant effort to say ‘I’m good enough to play’ but an immobile Aaron Rodgers sitting there like a sitting duck against that defence, I know Mike Zimmer,” Sanders said.
“There’s no way I would put him out there, I’d give him another week to heal.” Rodgers, Packers coach Mike McCarthy and the team’s medical staff clearly had a different opinion.
If the hard hits Rodgers took contribute to a season spent at less than 100% they might regret putting him out there.
FINALLY, SOME LUCK Colts quarterback Andrew Luck doesn’t look like his old self yet, he’s now thrown three interceptions, along with four touchdown passes over his first two games back from injury. Luckily for Luck his defence came up big in a 21-9 win over Washington, giving him his first victory since Jan. 2nd, 2016 … How bad are things in Washington? The team was booed off of the field at halftime and attendance was believed to be less than a sellout for the first time since 1967.
“If you don’t give them anything to cheer about, they’re probably going to boo,” left tackle Trent Williams said after the game.
QUICK HITS While Buffalo makes a compelling case, the Arizona Cardinals just might be the NFL’s worst team. After losing 24-6 to a not great Washington squad to open the season, the Cardinals had an even worse outing, failing to score at all in a 34-0 loss to the Los Angeles Rams. The team has trailed at halftime a combined 40-0 this season, yikes. The Rams didn’t even have a kicker, since Greg Zuerlein was knocked out with a groin injury, but they didn’t need one … San Francisco general manager John Lynch told reporters the team has made a call about Josh Gordon, the talented but troubled wide receiver who was just released by the Cleveland Browns … Green Bay’s record with Rodgers since 2008: 104-53-1. Without him: 6-13-1 … Cousins is the first Vikings quarterback with 400 passing yards and four touchdowns in a game since Daunte Culpepper in 2004.
@WolstatSun BRITE 1 Is Ryan Fitzpatrick the NFL’s best player?
Has he been the league’s best performer through two weeks?
The 35-year-old former Rams, Bengals, Bills, Titans, Texans and Jets quarterback is having quite a run for Tampa Bay, more than making up for the absence of former No. 1 overall selection Jameis Winston.
Fitzpatrick led the Buccaneers to a 27-21 win over the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, throwing for 402 yards and four touchdowns a week after also throwing for four touchdowns and 417 yards in a victory over New Orleans.
They’re calling it “Fitz-Magic” and the term seemed apt when Fitzpatrick threw for his second 75-yard or longer touchdown play of the first half.
Winston is eligible to return from his suspension after Week 3, but according to reports if Fitzpatrick stays anywhere close to as hot as he is right now, they will continue to start him, something Winston is reportedly fine with.
Tampa Bay is 2-0 for the first time since 2010.
– Ryan Wolstat BRITE 2 Nick Foles was a great story for Philadelphia, but nobody would be surprised to see Carson Wentz back under centre for the Eagles against Indianapolis in Week 3.
The Eagles drafted Wentz second overall in 2016 to be the face of the future, with the hope being he would one day lead the team to a Super Bowl win.
After an up-and-down rookie season, Wentz was spectacular in 2017, throwing for 33 touchdowns, 3,296 yards and only seven interceptions, and it looked like Philly’s dream was soon to become a reality.
Instead, Wentz tore the ACL in his left knee in Week 14 and was done for the year.
Of course the Eagles rallied around Foles, winning the Super Bowl for the first time in franchise history, 41-33 over New England with Foles earning MVP honours.
Foles had a strong game in Sunday’s loss against Tampa Bay (35-for-48 for 334 yards and a touchdown) after a sub-par Week 1 effort (19-of-34 for 117 yards and no touchdowns), albeit a win.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Sunday that Wentz is “on track” to return against the Colts.
– Ryan Wolstat