Observations from Green Bay’s loss to Vikings – The Athletic

MINNEAPOLIS — The Packers’ defense picked a bad day to have a bad day.

Defensive coordinator Joe Barry’s unit entered Sunday’s game against the Vikings ranked third in the NFL in points allowed per game (18). Yet on a day that Green Bay’s offense eclipsed 30 points for the first time since a Week 2 win over the Lions, a defense that has carried the Packers for the majority of the season collapsed and cost them a win that would’ve given them a 4½-game lead in the NFC North and kept them in the driver’s seat for the No. 1 seed in the NFC with six games left.

Instead, the Packers fell, 34-31, allowing its second-highest points total since a 38-3 loss to the Saints in Week 1. Green Bay hadn’t even allowed more than 22 points in a game since Week 3, and the Vikings hit 23 midway through the third quarter.

The culprits? Blown coverages. Dropped interceptions. And an inability to cover Justin Jefferson, the Vikings’ star receiver who caught eight passes for 169 yards and two touchdowns.

The Packers allowed the Vikings to convert 9 of 13 third downs and even had 12 men on the field on the first play of the Vikings’ game-winning drive, their first such penalty all season coming after a stoppage of play following the kickoff. Head coach Matt LaFleur called the mishap “embarrassing” and “inexcusable.”

“We’ve got to play better,” outside linebacker Preston Smith said. “We weren’t ourselves today.

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