Packers Morning Buzz: Don't ask Vikings' Mike Zimmer about Kirk Cousins' 0-9 mark on 'MNF'
Welcome to your Morning Buzz, rounding up news and views regarding the Green Bay Packers from around the web and here at PackersNews.com.
We'll start with Vikings beat reporter Courtney Cronin noting that Kirk Cousins remains winless on Monday nights after the Packers' 23-10 victory but that Minnesota, having already clinched a playoff berth and missing injured star running back Dalvin Cook, didn't seem to go all-out to help Cousins and the offense.
Writes Cronin in her game summary:
QB breakdown: Kirk Cousins still doesn't have a win on Monday Night Football (0-9 career record). Green Bay's pass rush, led by Za'Darius Smith, stifled Cousins and his offensive line from the jump. Cousins was pressured on 47% of his dropbacks, which was his highest rate of the season, and sacked five times. Beyond that, Minnesota's playcalling did little to help Cousins in just about every situation. Cousins passed for 122 yards, 49 of which came on two passes to Stefon Diggs, including Minnesota's sole touchdown. What's even more baffling is the fact that Cousins leads the NFL in play-action touchdowns (13) and attempted just five such passes.
Biggest hole in the game plan: Where were the boots? It's possible that the Vikings were saving their big, explosive plays by way of play-action for the playoffs, should they see the Packers again, but the fact that Cousins attempted just one play-action pass in the first half and finished 2-of-5 for 14 yards and an interception on such throws was jarring. While teams don't necessarily need to establish the run to set up an effective play-action attack, the Vikings didn't even attempt to dial it up against the Packers. The reasoning for that could be the fact that without Cook, it's hard to sell the threat of the run. The other thing to keep in mind was how good the Packers were at sniffing out bootlegs during their Week 2 meeting with the Vikings. Minnesota quickly became one-dimensional, and did it to itself.
You can read Cronin's entire story here:
Vikings coach Mike Zimmer wasn't in a talkative mood afterward:
Yes, the Packers once again are kings of the North:
Aaron Rodgers is happy to finally have a strong running game, writes Pete Dougherty:
Winning for the first time at U.S. Bank Stadium definitely felt sweet for Rodgers:
Aaron Jones turned in an electrifying, two-touchdown performance:
The Packers have their eyes on more than just the NFC North prize, writes Jim Owczarski:
Za'Darius Smith was dominant after his Pro Bowl snub, writes Tom Silverstein:
Packers outside linebacker Preston Smith couldn't resist this jab at his former teammate:
In his Packers Insider, Owczarski looks at how Green Bay found a different way to win:
It was an emotional win for Za'Darius and Preston Smith:
Packers fans greeted the NFC North champs at the airport early Tuesday:
Packers defensive tackle Kenny Clark is excited about what the team accomplished:
Packers left tackle David Bakhtiari is making a list and checking it twice:
Jones explodes for the Packers' longest run from scrimmage of the season:
Jones also put the Packers ahead for the first time in Monday's game:
Green Bay continues to reap the benefits of opponents' injury losses:
And if you think those losses didn't hurt the Vikings' defense:
Here's your chance to rate the Packers' performance:
Devastated by injuries at running back, the Seattle Seahawks turned to a familiar source for reinforcements:
It's good news for the Packers, who need a Seahawks victory over the 49ers to get the NFC's top seed:
Former Packers coach Mike McCarthy interviewed for the Panthers' vacancy:
And finally: Packers rookies get into a competitive holiday spirit:
Contact Stu Courtney at (920) 431-8377 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @stucourt