Packers rally to 26-26 tie with Vikings
Gerrard Diaz, firstname.lastname@example.org
If Sunday’s game was a must-win test, the Green Bay Packers both passed and failed.
The Packers and the Minnesota Vikings finished tied 26-26 after an overtime period at Lambeau Field, with both teams getting overtime field goals.
The Packers (5-5-1) rallied from a 23-7 deficit, after quarterback Matt Flynn went in for Scott Tolzien, who struggled in his second start for the Packers.
Flynn, who returned to the team two weeks ago after getting cut by the Buffalo Bills, engineered two fourth-quarter touchdown drives, capped by a 3-yard touchdown run by rookie running back Eddie Lacy and a 6-yard pass from Flynn to Jarrett Boykin to cut the lead to 23-20.
“We were looking for a spark,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. “That’s directly what the communication was. We thought we had some opportunities early. We have a history with Matt.”
The Packers’ defense got a stop on the ensuing drive, setting up kicker Mason Crosby to hit a 27-yard field goal to tie the game with 50 seconds left.
The Packers had a chance to put the game away in the overtime period, winning the coin flip and driving 77 yards to the Minnesota 2-yard line before stalling and settling for a 20-yard Crosby field goal.
“It’s very frustrating,” Flynn said. “We had a lot of momentum at that point and just didn’t get it done.”
The Vikings (2-8-1) answered with a 63- yard drive and a 35-yard field goal by Blair Walsh to tie the game at 26-26. Both teams then went three-and-out before the Packers' final drive ran off the final 1:58 of the game. The Packers punted to the Vikings with 1 second left.
The tie was the first for Green Bay since a 17-17 draw with the Denver Broncos in 1987.
Flynn finished 21 of 36 for 218 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions in relief of Tolzien, who was seven of 17 for 98 yards in two-plus quarters of action. Tolzien also had a 7-yard touchdown run in the first quarter.
The Packers rushing attack was impressive, with Lacy battling for 110 yards on 25 carries and a touchdown, sometimes carrying defenders to get the extra yard.
“That’s his run style,” McCarthy said. “He’s a gifted young man. Natural run instincts, he’s got power, he’s got excellent balance. Sometimes he gets stuck between power and balance. I thought he did a lot of good things today.”
He also had six catches for 48 yards. James Starks had three carries for 37 yards.
Receiver James Jones had seven catches for 80 yards, including a 28-yard catch to set up Crosby’s game-tying field goal in the fourth quarter. Boykin had five catches for 60 yards.
Punter Tim Masthay helped change the field position battle, averaging 40.8 yards on eight punts with three landing within the Minnesota 20-yard line.
Clay Matthews’ two sacks headlined a six-sack performance on Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder, who finished 21 of 30 for 233 yards and a touchdown.
Ponder’s favorite target was Cordarrelle Patterson, who caught eight balls for 54 yards. Adrian Peterson had 146 yards on 32 carries and a touchdown.
With the rest of the NFC North teams losing, the Packers are a half-game back of the Lions and Bears, with a matchup in Detroit looming on Thanksgiving Day.
McCarthy did not announce a starting quarterback, leaving open the possibility of starting Aaron Rodgers (collarbone), Tolzien or Flynn.