It was inevitable. Injuries finally caught up to the Green Bay Packers in a 34-31 last second loss to the Minnesota Vikings.
The absence of pro-bowl cornerback Jaire Alexander was reflected in the stat line for the Vikings top-two wide receivers.
The absence of pass rushing beasts Rashan Gary, Whitney Mercilus and Za’Darius Smith forced Packers defensive coordinator Joe Berry to blitz more than usual. The net of it all was a 341-yard passing day for Jeckyl & Hyde quarterback Kirk Cousins.
Until all-pro left tackle David Bakhtiari returns, the Packers will operate without three-fifths of their preferred offensive line. The latest season-ending injury is to pro-bowler Elgton Jenkins.
Despite all the above, and playing without star running back Aaron Jones, and being penalized for nearly 100 yards, and missing a chip shot field goal, the Packers were still inches away from beating the playoff caliber Vikings on their home field.
All losses are frustrating – for one reason or another – but this feels different. Rather than pull my non-existent hair out over a narrow loss to a division rival, I’ll focus on how the Packers (8-3) are clicking along with one of the best records in the NFC, and three game advantage for first place.