Home Sports NFC North Week 3 roundup: Packers hold off Tom Brady and the Buccaneers, while the Vikings rally to edge the Lions

NFC North Week 3 roundup: Packers hold off Tom Brady and the Buccaneers, while the Vikings rally to edge the Lions

by staff

Aaron Rodgers threw for 255 yards and two touchdowns and the Green Bay Packers withstood a late rally led by Tom Brady to hold off the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for a 14-12 victory Sunday in Tampa, Fla.

Rodgers tossed touchdown passes of 5 yards to Romeo Doubs and 6 yards to Allen Lazard on his team’s first two possessions, while the Bucs offense sputtered much of the day without star receivers Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Julio Jones.

Advertisement

For the second straight week, the Bucs (2-1) were held without a touchdown into the fourth quarter. Brady finally got them into the end zone on a 1-yard pass to Russell Gage with 14 seconds remaining, capping a 90-yard drive.

The Bucs’ bid to force overtime with a 2-point conversion was thwarted, first by a delay-of-game penalty and then an incomplete pass that allowed the Packers (2-1) to beat Brady for the first time in three tries since the seven-time Super Bowl champion joined the Bucs in 2020.

Advertisement

Rodgers completed 27 of 35 passes and was intercepted once in the first matchup in NFL history in which both starting quarterbacks have won at least three regular-season MVP awards.

Rodgers has won four, including the last two, while Brady has three MVP awards.

Ryan Succop kicked a pair of 45-yard field goals for the Bucs, the second trimming the Packers lead to 14-6 midway through the third quarter.

Brady, who won three of four previous head-to-head matchups with Rodgers, finished 31 of 42 for 271 yards and one touchdown. He was sacked three times.

With Evans serving a one-game suspension for his role in an on-field brawl the previous week in New Orleans and without Godwin and Jones — two of Brady’s other primary receivers — the Bucs struggled to get the offense on track while Rodgers built a 14-3 halftime lead that could have been bigger.

Aaron Jones fumbled into the end zone after a 3-yard reception to the Bucs 2, costing the Packers a chance to add at least three points late in the second quarter. The Green Bay offense was never the same after that.

Packers left tackle David Bakhtiari played for just the second time since tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee on Dec. 31, 2020. Rookie wide receiver Christian Watson (hamstring) was inactive, and cornerback Jaire Alexander (groin) did not play in the second half.

In addition to Godwin (hamstring) and Jones (knee), the Bucs played without left tackle Donovan Smith (elbow) for the second straight game. Smith was replaced in the lineup by first-year pro Brandon Walton.

Advertisement

The Minnesota Vikings have been trying to craft under new coach Kevin O’Connell a diverse and unpredictable offense that still can succeed when their best players are taken away.

Lessons from a lopsided loss a week earlier led to a more complete and sound performance Sunday in Minneapolis — capped by a stadium-rocking, last-minute rally.

K.J. Osborn caught a go-ahead, 28-yard touchdown pass from Kirk Cousins with 45 seconds remaining, and the Vikings came back to beat the Detroit Lions 28-24.

Leading by three after the Vikings turned the ball over on downs at their 47 with 2:32 left, Lions coach Dan Campbell — who went for it on fourth down six times — elected to try a 54-yard field goal that he second-guessed himself for afterward. Austin Seibert pushed the kick wide right with 1:10 remaining.

“I wanted to score a touchdown‚” O’Connell said. “I wanted to win this football game in front of our fans in regulation, put maximum pressure on those guys.”

After an incompletion to Osborn, Cousins hit his No. 3 wide receiver for a 28-yard gain to set up the touchdown. Osborn blew by former Vikings cornerback Mike Hughes on a corner route to snag the pass in stride and cruise across the goal line to give the Vikings (2-1) the lead for the first time.

Advertisement

“That’s something that’s expected of every single one of us. All of us are playmakers. All of us have that talent to win in this league,” said Justin Jefferson, who was constantly double-covered by rising Lions star Jeff Okudah and a safety and had just three catches for 14 yards.

Campbell said there was miscommunication in the secondary on the winning touchdown.

“We had our chances. We played some pretty good football for a while,” Campbell said. “I told the team, ‘When the downs come, we’ve got to handle it with composure. And when the ups come, we have to capitalize.’ We didn’t capitalize enough when we were on the ups.”

As Osborn and Jefferson flapped their arms to fire up the crowd while standing on the bench, the Vikings didn’t let Jared Goff and the Lions cross midfield on their last-ditch drive.

“That game should have been over long before they were able to get back in it. But we let them back in it, and that’s our fault,” said Goff, who was 25 for 41 for 277 yards.

Dalvin Cook rushed for 96 yards and a score before leaving with a shoulder injury for the Vikings, who fell behind 14-0 and 24-14 before the rally that gave them a winning record at the end of September for the first time since they were 3-0 in 2016.

Advertisement

“We’re a resilient team,” Osborn said. “We got it going, and when it counted we got it done.”

With Jefferson bottled up, Osborn (five catches for 73 yards) and Adam Thielen (six catches for 61 yards) caught touchdown passes from Cousins. With Cook sidelined, Alexander Mattison took over in the backfield and scored on a 6-yard run midway through the fourth quarter.

“With the group of guys we have, we’re never out of it,” Mattison said.

Jamaal Williams had 20 carries for 87 yards and two touchdowns for the Lions, who gave limited action to D’Andre Swift after he was listed as questionable with an ankle injury.

After going 3-13-1 in Campbell’s first season, the Lions (1-2) look like a much more dangerous opponent. They still are seeking their first road win since Dec. 6, 2020, in Chicago, though. Their NFL-record streak of starting a season with a touchdown in 11 straight quarters ended inconveniently in the fourth.

Greg Joseph missed two 56-yard field-goal attempts for the Vikings. Seibert had a 48-yarder bounce off the right upright to end the Lions’ first drive.

Advertisement

Lions wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown’s streak of eight straight games with at least eight receptions, tied for the longest in league history, was stopped. His run began last Dec. 5 in a win over the Vikings. St. Brown had six catches for 73 yards Sunday.

Related Articles

Leave a Comment