Packers struggle in season opening loss

It was an ugly 2022 debut for the Green Bay Packers in Minnesota, losing to the upstart Vikings 23-7.

The Vikings started in on their first drive, marching down the field on a 10-play, 78-yard scoring drive capped off by a Kirk Cousins to Justin Jefferson touchdown pass.

The Packers, possessing the ball second in the game had a one-play answer when rookie wide receiver Christian Watson blew past Minnesota cornerback Patrick Peterson, Aaron Rodgers hitting him in full stride at the Vikings 30 yard-line with no one between Watson and the goal line. It was as perfect a pitch and catch you could possibly imagine.

Except Watson dropped the ball.

“We've got to make those plays,” Rodgers told reporters after the game. “But those (drops) are going to happen. It's the mental mistakes that we've really got to clean up, and there was too many across the board.”

One mistake that coach Matt LaFleur would like to have back are the lack of opportunities his running backs did not get. Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon combined for 15 carries for 94 yards. Dillon added five receptions while Jones had three.

“Anytime Aaron Jones comes out of the game with eight touches, that's not good enough,” LaFleur said. “And AJ Dillon, what did he have, 10 or so? That's not good enough.”

One mystery is why defensive coordinator Joe Barry did not use top cornerback Jaire Alexander to cover Vikings receiver Justin Jefferson more. Jefferson caught 9 balls for 184 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

The Packers (0-1) open the home portion of their schedule this coming Sunday night against the Chicago Bears (1-0) who won their season opener Sunday during a driving rainstorm at Soldier Field.

Kickoff for this coming Sunday night’s game is set for 7:20 ppm (CT).

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