Packers unable to overcome another slow start in loss to Vikings

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Once again, the Green Bay Packers’ offense showed up late to the party.

The Packers failed to score a first-half touchdown for the fifth consecutive game en route to a 24-10 loss to the Vikings on Sunday at Lambeau Field, their fourth straight defeat

After going three-and-out on their first four possessions, the Packers’ only first-half score came on Anders Carlson’s 30-yard field goal on the final play of the first half to pull within 10-3, but even that required a do-over.

Carlson hit the right upright on his first attempt, but Minnesota’s Jay Ward lined up in the neutral zone. The second-chance field goal means the Packers have been outscored 73-9 in the first half over the past five games, instead of 73-6.

“We’ve got to find out a way to convert a third down early in the game so you can run your offense,” Packers coach Matt LaFleur said. “We’re running the two-minute offense for half the game. You don’t even get into what you work on all week and what you plan for. You can’t even get into your normal rhythm because you’re not moving the chains.

“That’s what’s disappointing,” LaFleur said. “You put all this time and effort into something, you come up with a plan, and you don’t even give yourself a chance to go execute it.”

Green Bay (2-5) managed 98 yards total offense before the break, with 73 coming on the final 14-play scoring drive. The Packers did not pick up their initial first down until just over four minutes left in the half.

The Packers also were penalized eight times for 69 yards before the intermission.

“You can go back and look at it, we didn’t make any plays those first couple of series,” Packers quarterback Jordan Love said. “We had opportunities. Had a couple of drops, a missed throw, the run game … we had third and one. It’s those little plays that we’re not making, we’re not capitalizing on.

“It’s obvious. It’s not like, what are we doing wrong? It’s obvious on the film,” Love said. “We’re just not executing.”

The Packers entered Sunday ranked last in first-half points per game with a 4.3-point average but tops in second-half scoring at 17.3 ppg. In each of the two previous losses, Green Bay came back to take the lead in the second half before losing, but the Packers didn’t accomplish that against the Vikings.

Minnesota extended its lead to 24-3 with a pair of third-quarter touchdowns, the second set up by an interception of Love, his fifth consecutive game with at least one pick.

Green Bay finally got on the TD scoreboard when Love hit Romeo Doubs on a 1-yard touchdown pass on fourth down with 2:39 left in the third quarter to pull within 24-10.

The Packers came away empty on a pair of red-zone opportunities in the fourth quarter.

After Greg Joseph’s 44-yard field-goal attempt was blocked, the Packers drove to get to second-and-5 at the Vikings’ 10, but Love threw three consecutive incompletions.

After Vikings starting quarterback Kirk Cousins left with an injury, backup Jaren Hall fumbled on a strip-sack, giving Green Bay a first down at the 15.

After a 1-yard run by A.J. Dillon, Love was sacked for a 7-yard loss, threw an incompletion, and then was stopped a yard short on a fourth-down scramble.

Love completed 24 of 41 passes for 229 yards with one touchdown, one interception and a passer rating of 72.1. Love has thrown four touchdowns with seven interceptions over the past four games.

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