Jaire Alexander, Packers’ defense rise to Vikings’ challenge

GREEN BAY – All this week, Jaia Alexander has been thinking about his matchup with Justin Jefferson.

Heading into Sunday’s rematch with Minnesota, the Packers built a defensive plan centered around an All-Pro cornerback overshadowing the Vikings’ All-Pro receiver. 1.

Alexander was a gnat all afternoon, chasing Jefferson wherever he lined up and limiting the NFL’s top receiver to one catch at 15 yards. The Packers’ defense handled the rest in perhaps their most dominant performance of the season, giving him a 41-17 victory over the Vikings.

“Whenever you get the best of the best, who doesn’t want to wake up to it?” said Alexander, who ended up with a bend in the pass. “The coaches had a great game plan going into this match. They knew what would put us in the best position to win, and it happened today. ”

According to NFL Next Gen Stats, Alexander lined up across from Jefferson 20 times. The budding playmaker held the first half without a catch. This was his second time Jefferson was shut out in his first two quarters.

first time? Made his professional debut against the Packers in the opening game of 2020.

Kirk Cousins ​​and Minnesota’s offense struggled as Jefferson was largely out of the mix. The Vikings quarterback completed only 18 of 30 passes for 205 yards for a touchdown and his season-high three interceptions.

For the second week in a row, the Green Bay defense finished with four takeaways. In addition to interceptions from safeties Darnell Savage, Adrian Amos and Rudy Ford, defensive tackle Kenny Clarke also scored a strip sack for Cousins ​​in the third quarter, closing the door on his Magic late game for Minnesota. rice field.

This is the first time Green Bay have won four or more takeaways in consecutive games since 2016 (Weeks 14-15). It’s also the last time Green Bay recorded his INT of 3 or more in a row. It was the third pick of the season for Ford, and Amos and Savage both recorded first picks.

Savage’s 75-yard INT-TD return in the first quarter gave the Packers everything to start. For Savage, who returned to the back end in Miami last week, it was satisfying to score his first NFL touchdown after overcoming his recent adversity.

“Everything happens for a reason. I feel like life challenges me,” Savage said. “You have to fight back and get back on your feet. I felt like I handled it the right way. And I’m being rewarded for it now. Just keep going, keep pushing, keep working.” ”

The Vikings scored both touchdowns late in the fourth quarter. It was a perfect 180 from the Vikings’ 23-7 win over Green Bay in the season opener, where Cousins ​​threw for 277 yards and two touchdowns. This time, the Packers not only got the pick, they got the points from the pick.

“It’s a matter of longevity. It’s a game of chess,” Alexander said. “It was amazing what they intercepted.”

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