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The Takeaway Green Bay Packers Hoodie , Vikings vs. Packers:determines the outcome of a football game, but one can often come to define it. Such a moment occurred during the final two minutes of regulation during Sunday’s NFC North tilt between the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers.On the Vikings’ final drive of regulation, pass rusher Clay Matthews hit Kirk Cousins just as the quarterback released the football. Moments later, the ball fell into the waiting arms for rookie corner Jaire Alexander for the game-sealing interception. Alexander performed his first Lambeau LeapHowever, while Alexander performed his first Lambeau Leap, the officials flagged Matthews for roughing the passer, a penalty which reversed the turnover and extended the Vikings’ drive. Eight plays later, Cousins threw his best pass of the afternoon to Adam Thielen, who corralled the ball for a touchdown. A successful extra point followed to tie the game at 29.According to the pool report, game official Tony Corrente said Matthews “hit the quarterback, he lifted him and drove him into the ground.” He further elaborated that his crew’s flag “had nothing to do with the rule of full body weight. It has nothing to do with helmet to helmet. [Matthews] picked the quarterback up and drove him into the ground.”Review of the play raises questions about Corrente’s entire explanation. Matthews did nothing to “lift” Cousins nor did the linebackers’ hit appear to apply any unnecessary force to “drive” him into the ground. Short of not hitting the quarterback at all, Matthews could have done nothing else to elude the flag and keep the Minnesota drive alive.Certainly, other factors helped determine the outcome of Sunday’s game; The Packers’ decision to run inside zone on third-and-2 in the red zone during their first drive of the fourth quarter; Lane Taylor’s holding penalty negating a Jimmy Graham touchdown; Mason Crosby’s missed field goal at the end of regulation; Rodgers fumble on the run-pass option in overtime. But those examples all fall under the category of player performance. The misapplied penalty fell outside of either team’s control and had at least as much impact on the final result.Ultimately, the NFL has muddied defenders’ understanding of the quarterback protections in a fashion quite similar to the old catch rule. Players don’t have a well-defined idea of what defines these illegal hits, and that lack of clarity has affected the outcome of games.Packers can still separate from Vikings over coming weeksThough the outcome of Sunday’s game leaves the Packers and Vikings with identical win-loss records, the two teams could easily diverge in the coming weeks.Minnesota faces a tough upcoming schedule that includes back-to-back road games against the Los Angeles Rams and defending-champion Philadelphia Eagles. During the same stretch, Green Bay enjoys a favorable slate that features the hapless Buffalo Bills and Detroit Lions. Myriad factors could recontextualize those contests. But as things stand presently Customized Green Bay Packers Jerseys , the Packers look like the better bet to lead the division when they hit their Week 7 bye.Building a lead in the division race over the next months is critical for the Packers. Week 12’s rematch with the Vikings takes place at the formidable U.S. Bank Stadium, giving an edge to the reigning NFC North champions. Green Bay needs to establish a cushion before then in case Minnesota wins the head-to-head tiebreaker.Aaron Jones set to return next weekThe Packers’ running game improved over Week 1’s showing against the Chicago Bears, but that doesn’t mean the backfield rotation hit all its marks.Jamaal Williams managed just 59 yards on 16 carries and couldn’t convert on a key third-and-2 during the fourth quarter. Ty Montgomery fared better statistically (31 yards on five carries), but his issues in pass protection and his ever-present risk of injury limit how much he can contribute in that role. As they did in the season opener, the Packers moved away from their ground attack early in the game, leaving Rodgers to attempt 20 more passes than the team’s final carry tally. That discrepancy can work in some situations, but the offense needs to find a better balance over the course of the season.Fortunately for Green Bay, second-year running back Aaron Jones returns from his two-game suspension just in time to give the unit a shot in the arm. Jones doesn’t have Williams’ gift for pass protection nor Montgomery’s skills as a pass catcher. However, Jones averaged nearly 2 yards more a carry than them in 2017 and, when healthy, provides the Packers with its most dangerous threat out of the backfield.Adding Jones won’t displace Williams and Montgomery entirely. Rather, the trio can work in concert to improve the ground game and keep each from taking on an overbearing workload. All three dealt with injuries last year that likely stemmed from overuse. Jones doesn’t need 300 carries to significantly impact Green Bay. His elusiveness and viability as a between-the-tackles runner add a dimension to the offense that can take pressure off the still-ailing Rodgers and the passing attack.Packers punter JK Scott shows significant improvement in third preseason game In a game that offered few bright moments, rookie punter JK Scott’s impressive performance was certainly a highlight in the Green Bay Packers’ third preseason game in Oakland on Friday night. The two-time All-American from Alabama was drafted in the fifth round by the Packers this year, a relatively high pick for a relatively boring position. But JK Scott is anything but boring. In fact, the Packers saw in Scott a player who reveled in dedication and consistency, two factors which have even grabbed the attention of Aaron Rodgers. “What’s interesting was Aaron Rodgers came up to me and was like, do your thing. He was telling me to just kick the ball how I know I can kick the ball and that everything will take care of itself www.authenticsgreenbaypackers.com , so that was pretty cool hearing from a guy like him,” Scott said in a quote to The Athletic. It seems on Friday night that Scott took Rodgers’ advice and kicked the ball exactly how he had practiced it thousands of times. Scott punted seven times against the Raiders for a 44.7-yard net average, an improvement from the first two preseason games in which he punted seven times total for a net average of 39.1 yards. His development in the NFL has been solid each week, which is no surprise given the standout career he had as a four-year starter at Alabama. With the Crimson Tide, Scott netted 243 punts for 11,074 yards and a 45.6-yard average and set several program records thanks to an approach where he focuses his attention on a shorter delivery and a strong hang time. Scott has also received encouragement and feedback from veteran kicker Mason Crosby who, although not required, has made a point of attending almost every meeting between Scott and special teams coordinator Ron Zook. Despite hitting a rough patch in week two’s preseason game against the Steelers, Scott noted that he was feeling better after week three, thanks to the support of his fellow teammates and his simplicity mantra.“I felt pretty confident,” Scott said after his strong performance in Oakland. “I’m keeping it simple. You’ve got to keep it simple. That’s the thing, when you get complicated, you start to get robotic and get out of rhythm.” All things considered, Scott has showed a strong improvement each week and his transition into the league has been smooth. So far it’s looking like he could follow his impressive college career with an impressive NFL career as long as he can stick to his simple and consistent punting method.

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