“We’ve got to find a better way to get them into situations to where they need try to make those plays and force plays. Obviously, they’ve got a great back in the backfield and they’re going to try to feed him as much as possible, but we definitely have to step up and make some plays.”
And in the final 7:54, although the offense did, the defense did not. Rodgers and the offense got the Packers back to even with an 11-play, 78-yard drive on which the Packers converted a fourth-and-1 from the Green Bay 43 (with a 7-yard catch by Jarrett Boykin) and a third-and-4 from the Minnesota 44 (with a 14-yard catch by Jennings). After Nelson’s 2-yard TD catch, the Packers had 2:57 to get a stop, get the ball back and secure the first-round bye.
Instead, after the 2-minute warning, the Vikings had third-and-11 at their own 27 – and converted it when Casey Hayward, Shields and Morgan Burnett lost track of Jenkins on the left sideline for a 25-yard gain. Five plays and a 26-yard run by Peterson later, Walsh trotted out and coolly nailed the 29-yarder – twice, after McCarthy tried to ice him with a timeout – to set up next Saturday night’s rematch.
“As players, we wanted that 2 seed. We wanted that bye,” left guard T.J. Lang said. “But you have to move on very fast from that. You can’t dwell on that, you can’t let that carry over into this week of preparation. You have let it go. You still realize we’re division champs, we’ve still got a home game next week, and we know they’re a tough opponent. You don’t really have time to dwell on the losing. You have to make some adjustments and get ready to prepare for them.”
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.