The defense then forced another punt, and Flynn again got the Packers on the move again, with help from Lacy (four carries, 27 yards; three receptions, 18 yards). When Flynn hit Jarrett Boykin for a 6-yard TD with 3:30 left in regulation, the comeback was in overdrive.
“Everyone just kind of rallied around him and we were able to get back in the game,” cornerback Tramon Williams said of Flynn. “It was awesome. It gave us life.”
The defense forced another three-and-out, and Flynn made his biggest play on fourth-and-6 from the Minnesota 40. Facing a six-man, all-out pass rush, Flynn saw the Vikings’ Everson Griffen jump offsides and got his free play off just before getting whacked by blitzing linebacker Audie Cole. The ball was underthrown, but wide receiver James Jones adjusted and caught it at the Minnesota 12. Four plays later, Mason Crosby hit a 27-yard field goal to tie the game with 50 seconds left in regulation, leading to OT.
“Looking at the guys’ eyes in the huddle I don’t think there was any doubt, especially when we started to make some plays,” Flynn said. “I think that hyped up the sideline, hyped up the guys and we just felt like we did some stuff. That’s how you’ve got to go about it. That’s the mentality you have to have. I’m proud of the guys for fighting. But we’ve got to finish.”
And that’s where Flynn and the Packers failed. They won the toss and took the ball, and with Flynn hitting Nelson (15 yards), Jones (22 yards) and Boykin (34 yards), they moved inside the Minnesota 10-yard line lickety-split. After Lacy got 4 yards on first down, he was stuffed for 1 yard on second down. Facing third-and-goal from the 2, Flynn and Nelson couldn’t connect on a route toward the back right pylon, settling for Crosby’s 20-yard field goal.
“I wasn’t exactly sure what angle Jordy was going to come out and he came out flat. I just haven’t gotten enough reps with Jordy,” Flynn said. “I was set to throw it a little bit higher than he was. I could’ve maybe at the last minute tried to stick it in there, but I didn’t want to take any chances when we’re down there. I knew we’d come away with points, I didn’t want to make a throw that I wasn’t 100 percent sure about.”
With the new rules instituted last year – that if a team scores on a field goal on the first possession of overtime, the other team gets a possession – the field goal wasn’t enough. The Green Bay defense couldn’t force its third straight three-and-out – on third-and-9 from the Minnesota 21, the Packers let Peterson get loose for a 15-yard gain – and Walsh’s 35-yard field goal re-tied the game.
Both teams went three-and-out on their next possessions, and while the Packers had one last chance, three offensive line penalties took care of that, forcing the uncomfortable tie.
“It’s kind of a weird feeling when that overtime ends and you’re walking off and the fans don’t know whether to cheer or boo for you. And you kind of don’t come to grips as far as how you should feel – Is it a victory? Is it a loss? – but it is what it is, and we’ve got to move on to the next game, which is quick turnaround,” said outside linebacker Clay Matthews, who had a pair of sacks. “I guess we moved up half a game, so that’s a positive. But if you really want to get down to it, we didn’t do enough, and that’s kind of been a theme these past couple weeks.
“We fought hard at the end. I was real happy with our offense and the defense coming up big at the end. But just not enough. We put ourselves in too big of a hole, and ultimately that didn’t allow us to have that final lead.
“We’re just keeping our head above water right now. We’re treading water and hopefully we’ll find that shallow end after Thursday. But we’ve got to keep fighting and moving forward.”
Listen to Jason Wilde every weekday from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. on “Green & Gold Today” on 540 ESPN, and follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/jasonjwilde.