All guts, no glory in Packers shutout loss to Vikings
GREEN BAY - On a bitter cold December home finale at Lambeau Field, an emotionally and physically spent Packers football team poured whatever they had left onto the gridiron.
The effort was commendable but the overall execution far from enough in Green Bay's 16-0 loss to the Vikings Saturday night.
"We had a lot of opportunities tonight, we didn't make the plays," head coach Mike McCarthy said. "It's disappointing, they're a good team. Minnesota is a very good team."
A common theme during the two month stretch without quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the offense (239 total yards) never really getting into a flow. The unit coming up empty on two red zone trips and turning the ball over twice to boot, en-route to their second shutout at home this year. The first time that's happened since 2006.
"They battled their butts off for me and that's all I can ask," quarterback Brett Hundley said. "Nothing is going to be perfect, tonight wasn't perfect in any means on offense. We will learn from it, still in it at the end, we just didn't make the critical plays that needed to be made."
Without linebackers Clay Matthews, Nick Perry and other defensive standouts, the team showed plenty of character giving up just a touchdown and three field goals.
Still, when winning is the ultimate goal, it was a small bright spot on an otherwise dim display.
"We can improve from this, and if we don't it's our fault," linebacker Blake Martinez said. "We're just not allowing ourselves to be greater than we were tonight."
Prior to the season, the Packers had hoped to play a few home playoff games before a highly anticipated trip to the Super Bowl in Minneapolis.
Instead, in a season of heartbreak and disappointment, the home crowd was treated to an ironical ending in Titletown. One coming in shutout fashion.
Green Bay will look to finish their season on a high note next Sunday when they travel to Detroit to take on the Lions in the 2017 finale.
"We just need to hold guys accountable, the ones that step on the field with us, let's go to work," safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix said. "The one's that don't, turn your pads in and wait until next year. We have a mindset around here, going to continue to get better. We just want to finish the season strong, have one game left in Detroit, and that's what we're going to look forward to."
"I'm a competitor, always want to finish," left tackle David Bakhtiari said. "Obviously we know next week is our last week, so start working on next year. Work on all the little things, that's something we can get a head start on. Starts in Detroit."