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GREEN BAY, Wis. — Backup quarterback Matt Flynn threw for 218 yards to help the Packers storm back from a 16-point deficit for a 26-26 tie as the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay could only muster field goals in overtime today.
Mason Crosby hit from 20 yards at 10 minutes, 28 seconds of the extra period and Blair Walsh connected from 35 with 3:54 left.
Greg Jennings, playing his first game at Lambeau Field as a member of the Vikings (3-8-1), dropped a third-down pass with 2:11 left. The Packers (5-5-1) also stumbled on their next possession.
One last chance for the Vikings went nowhere with 1 second left, and the teams walked off with the first tie in the NFL since the Rams and 49ers ended 24-24 on Nov. 11, 2012.
At least the 77,000-plus frigid fans got to witness a bit of history — this was first game to end in a tie under the new overtime rule instituted last year that continues the extra period if both teams open it with field goals. A touchdown by either team would have ended the game.
Jacksonville and Houston both kicked field goals to open OT in a game on Nov. 18, 2012, then the Texans won it with a touchdown.
Adrian Peterson had 146 yards and a score on 32 carries. He and Toby Gerhart (91 yards on eight carries) dented the Packers’ worn defense in overtime, but could not get in the end zone.
Flynn, inserted in the second half for the ineffective Scott Tolzien, caught a break in overtime after a third-down sack was called off by a holding penalty on Vikings safety Robert Blanton.
Flynn followed with three long completions, including a 34-yarder to the leaping Jarrett Boykin to the 7. Two runs by Eddie Lacy (110 yards on 25 carries) got the Packers to the 2, but Flynn misfired on third down to set up Crosby’s kick.
That was it for the scoring. The fans bundled up in parkas and knit caps to brave temperatures in the upper teens had to settle for a draw.
The Packers remain winless since Aaron Rodgers went down with a left collarbone injury on Nov. 4 against the Bears.
Still, it could have been worse and Green Bay could have been tagged with a loss. Things looked bleak in Titletown early in the fourth quarter after Walsh’s 29-yard field gave Minnesota 23-7 lead.
Up to that point, Christian Ponder was the best quarterback on the field. He connected with Rhett Ellison for a 12-yard touchdown pass that helped give the Vikings build a 16 point lead.
After one empty series to get his bearings, Flynn stepped up.
Needing a break, the Packers got a big one after defensive end Everson Griffin was whistled for offside to give Flynn a free play on fourth down. Flynn delivered a 28-yard throw that James Jones caught to the Vikings 12. It set up Crosby’s 27-yard field goal with 50 seconds left to tie the game at 23.
Flynn finished 21 of 36 and had an 11-yard touchdown pass to Boykin to make it 23-20 with 3:33 left in regulation.
Lacy had rumbled in from 3 yards to get Green Bay within 10 with 11:42 left, but a 2-point conversion failed.
For a while, it was the Vikings’ defense in control. Even with Audie Cole (11 tackles, one sack) starting for leading tackler and middle linebacker Erin Henderson, who missed the game for a personal matter, the Vikings held firm.
In another role reversal, Ponder at times looked like Rodgers in dissecting the Packers in regulation and finishing 21 of 30 for 233 yards.
Maybe the quarterback carousel has finally come to a halt in Minnesota. Ponder was pulled from last week’s 41-20 loss to Seattle after two interceptions and a fumble. He had no turnovers Sunday.