Players Search For Answers, Wins

The Vikings weren't able to find many satisfactory answers for dropping two straight games to losing teams and three straight games overall. Plus, get more than 25 game-day notes that attempt to explain the loss.

Just two weeks ago, when the Vikings were 4-3 with the 49ers, Packers, Dolphins and Cardinals on the schedule next – teams with a combined record of 7-22 entering the month –fans and media types were calling this month "A November to Remember."

Two weeks and two losses into this month, it has been a November to forget. With Sunday's 23-17 loss to Green Bay, the Vikings fell below .500 for the first time this season and, with division losses to the Bears and Packers, now find themselves in third place and looking dazed.

Those players who spoke to the media after the game commented on just how bad things have become, especially on offense – but also allowing big plays on defense and making gaffes on special teams.

"We shot ourselves more in the foot than they did," guard Steve Hutchinson. "When we got up 14-10, we had momentum going our way, but it swung back in a hurry."

Once again, the Vikings offense was mired in ineffectiveness, getting very little in the way of consistent production. When the offense would start making things happen, it would quickly evaporate.

"We kept wanting to make big plays, but they didn't come," offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie said. "We need the offense to make plays if we're going to win."

The loss leaves the Vikings shaking their collective heads and wondering how to right the ship that has seemingly gone so far off course.

"It's very disappointing," safety Darren Sharper said. "You want to hold your home-field advantage. It's always tough to lose, especially games like this."

GAMEDAY NOTES

  • If this was in fact Brett Favre's last game at the Metrodome, he went out in style. He completed 24 of 42 passes for 357 yards, two touchdowns and a passer rating of 100.0. Donald Driver was the recipient of the most damaging passes, catching six balls for 191 yards and a touchdown.

    "(Driver) is an All-Pro receiver and Favre is an All-Pro quarterback," Dwight Smith said. "They will make plays when they find a seam and they did it today."

  • The Vikings again improved on their top-rated run defense, allowing the Packers just 47 yards on 26 rushing attempts and limiting Ahman Green to just 55 yards on 22 carries.

  • The Vikings didn't establish the kind of running game they had hoped to prior to Sunday's game. The team rushed 23 times for 90 yards, with Chester Taylor leading the way with 20 carries for 75 yards.

  • Mewelde Moore led the Vikings in receptions with five catches for 57 yards and Bethel Johnson was the receiving-yardage leader with 75 yards.

  • Troy Williamson did not have a reception Sunday.

  • Both punters took advantage of the climate-controlled conditions. On seven punts, Chris Kluwe averaged 48 yards a punt, while Green Bay's Jon Ryan averaged 51.3 yards on seven kicks of his own.

  • Sunday was a career day for Packers rookie linebacker A.J. Hawk. He finished the day with 13 tackles, one-and-a-half sacks, two quarterback hurries and a forced fumble. Look for him to be an NFC Defensive Player of the Week award.

  • Pat Williams had a big day in the middle stuffing the run. Over the first eight games, Williams had 33 tackles. He had nine on Sunday, tying for the team lead with Dontarrious Thomas.

  • Cedric Griffin had some solid moments Sunday, finishing the game with seven tackles.

  • Through nine games, the Vikings officially have 15 touchdowns – two rushing, seven passing and six in various returns. That's an average of just one touchdown on offense per game.

  • Despite being near the end of his career, Favre was able to avoid being sacked all day, moving deftly in the pocket to avoid pressure and buy himself time.

  • In the third quarter, the Packers made one of the more imaginative plays of the season that turned into a huge gain. Favre completed a short pass over the middle to Greg Jennings and, as he was being tackled, he pitched a lateral to Driver, who took the ball another 30 yards before being horse-collared by Cedric Griffin, turning a play that started on the Green Bay 43 to one that ended on the Vikings 7-yard line. The Packers got a field goal out of the drive to take a 20-14 lead.

  • The Packers maintained their yardage edge in the first half, thanks in large part to the 82-yard touchdown pass in the final two minutes of the half from Favre to Driver. The Packers held a 226-203 advantage in total yardage. The Packers had 189 yards passing and 33 yards rushing in the first half, while the Vikings had 150 yards passing a 53 yards rushing.

  • Favre completed just 9 of 18 passes in the first half, but they went for 189 yards and gave him a passer rating of 124.5 for the half. Green had 14 carries for 41 yards, and Driver had four catches for 151 yards. For the Vikings, Johnson completed 10 of 14 passes for 165 yards and had a passer rating of 134.5. Chester Taylor ran 12 times for 38 yards and Tony Richardson led the team with three receptions in the first half, while Bethel Johnson's 75 yards on two receptions was the yardage high-water mark.

  • If Brad Johnson's pass to Chester Taylor hadn't been fumbled at the goal line and recovered in the end zone by Billy McMullen, Johnson would have had his first two-TD game of the season, tying him with Earl Morrall on the all-time passing touchdown list. The problem with that was, because of the fumble by Chester Taylor on the 1-yard line and recovery by Billy McMullen in the end zone, it didn't count as a passing touchdown.

  • The Packers dominated the first quarter both on the scoreboard and the stat sheet. Green Bay ran twice as many plays as the Vikings (22-11) and held the ball for 10:18 of the quarter. In the process, they out-rushed the Vikings 30 to 16 yards and out-passed the Vikings 80 to 14 for a total yardage edge of 110 to 30.

  • Individually, Favre finished the first quarter completing five of 11 passes for 80 yards, while Green rushed 10 times for 34 yards. Driver led all receivers with three catches for 69 yards. The Vikings were led by Brad Johnson, who completed just two of five passes for 20 yards. Chester Taylor rushed five times for 16 yards and Travis Taylor caught both of Johnson's passes for 20 yards.
  • Childress showed a lot of confidence in his team late in the first quarter trailing 10-0. Faced with a fourth-and-less-than-1 from his own 37, Childress opted to go for the first down rather than punting the ball away. If the play failed, Green Bay would have had the ball in Vikings territory with a chance to blow the game open. Instead, Chester Taylor picked up the needed distance and made the gamble work.

  • On the Packers' first scoring drive of the game, it was clear what the team was going to do on third down. Faced with three consecutive third down plays of seven yards of more, Favre converted all three with passes to Donald Driver – good for 27, 22 and 20 yards. When Favre faced his next third down play, Green Bay was inside the 2-yard line with three tight ends and no wide receivers on the field. Pat Williams stuffed the run attempt and forced the Packer to settle for a field goal to take a 3-0 lead.

  • Neither team came out of the gate firing on all cylinders. After taking the opening kickoff, the Packers had three straight incompletions and got off the field in just 29 seconds. The Vikings didn't fare much better – their first drive ended in just 57 seconds.

  • Fred Smoot's absence from practice this week while attending to funeral arrangements for his brother were affected in his status for Sunday's game. Having missed all of the practices this week, Smoot was deactivated for Sunday's game.

  • In a surprise move, Ray Edwards was also inactive for Sunday's game. For much of the week, Brad Childress had indicated that Edwards would start if Darrion Scott couldn't go. Fans and media types alike were forced to speculate as to why that decision was made. Childress refused to discuss it after the game when questioned, saying was between him and Edwards.

  • Other Vikings inactives included Ciatrick Fason, Napoleon Harris and Marcus Robinson. For Fason, it is the seventh straight game that he has been inactive.

  • Among the Packers' inactives were RB Verand Morency, FB Brandon Miree and rookie LB Abdul Hodge.

  • Sunday was the 90th regular-season meeting between the Vikings and Packers in their history. Coming into the game, the all-time slate between the teams was 44 wins apiece with one tie.

  • Prior to the game, the color guard performed the Toby Keith song "Red, White and Blue" instead of the national anthem.

  • As part of the pregame festivities, the Air Force conducted a fly-over during the National Anthem, which didn't have the same impact considering the game was being played in a domed stadium and nobody inside could actually see the planes.

  • The Vikings captains for Sunday's game were Chester Taylor, Kenechi Udeze and Ryan Longwell.

  • The paid attendance was 63,924 – the 91st straight sellout at the Metrodome.

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