Packers’ Comeback Ends In Rare Tie
The Green Bay Packers ended their three game losing streak after a dramatic 26-26 tie for just the second time in the 107 meetings between the Packers and Vikings. Backup QB Matt Flynn – who re-signed with the team last week – threw for 218 yards in the second half and RB Eddie Lacy rushed for 110 yards and a touchdown helped erase a 16 point deficit in the fourth quarter to force overtime, during which neither team could seal a win
Rookie QB Scott Tolzien started the game behind center for the Packers and led the team on an 11 play, 87 yard drive down the field to give the Packers an early 7-0 lead, pirouetting into the end zone for his first career rushing touchdown.
The Vikings didn’t get intimidated by the early performance by the Packers however, and went on a 23-0 run with a devastating running attack, and a solid performance of 233 yards by Christian Ponder.
Rookie Vikings receiver Cordarelle Patterson answered the call initially, returning the following kickoff 47 yards to give the team good field position for their second drive. Adrian Peterson racked up two first downs putting the Vikings in field goal position, where they would stall – settling for three points off the leg of second year kicker Blair Walsh.
As the Packers offense continued to draw blanks, the Vikings continued to run up the score. Walsh kicked a second field goal and Adrian Peterson marched into the end zone un-touched for a score after a 63 yard drive to give his team a 13-7 lead going into half time.
The lacklustre performance in the passing game from the ex-Badger continued into the third quarter, forcing the Packers’ staff to call upon Matt Flynn to replace Tolzien for the second drive of the half to try and spark the Packers in such a desperate time.
The confident Vikings struck again coming out of the locker room however, by dominating the third quarter of the game. Fullback Rhett Ellison caught a 12 yard touchdown pass from Ponder – after being left completely open in the flats – and Walsh would later kick his third field goal, giving the Vikings a three possession lead.
Matt Flynn responded masterfully in the final 15 minutes though, getting the Packers back in the game. The Packers advanced down the field in the opening drive of the fourth quarter – aided by a pass interference call – setting up Eddie Lacy for his sixth rushing touchdown of the year at the goal line. A two-point conversion attempt followed – to cut the lead to a single score – but the pass was picked off.
Nevertheless the duo of Lacy and Flynn continued to produce, as the Packers continued to claw their way back into the game.
Lacy converted a crucial 4th and 1, powering through the Vikings defensive line to help the team move down the field. While rising star receiver Jarrett Boykin capped off the drive by catching a touchdown pass from Flynn, to make it a one score game with under five minutes left in the game.
With time running out, and one more legitimate chance to win in regulation, both the Packers offense and defense responded once again – forcing a Vikings three and out and then driving down the field to tie the game off the leg of Mason Crosby from 20 yards, forcing overtime.
The opening drive of overtime saw continued momentum from the Packers, with James Jones catching desperate heave from Flynn whose pocket collapsed around him, and Boykin making a clutch 34 yard sideline catch to secure field goal range for Green Bay. The offence couldn’t find the end zone to finish the game however, and settled for three points, giving the Pack a 26-23 edge.
It wasn’t over, as the Vikings bounced back yet again with their running game. The Purple and Gold offence advanced 63 yards down the field behind the legs of Toby Gerhart and the unstoppable Adrian Peterson – who would end the game with 146 yards total yards on the day. This resulted in a tie yet again, as Blair Walsh kicked another field goal, adding to his stunning sophomore campaign.
With time quickly expiring, neither side could move the ball in the remaining minutes, leaving both teams and their fan bases frustrated with the result on a cold afternoon in Green Bay.
“It’s an empty feeling,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. “You go out there and didn’t lose the game. But you feel like you didn’t accomplish what you set out to do.”