GREEN BAY, WIS. – The Lambeau Field faithful booed Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense.
Not once. Multiple times. And loudly.
They booed loud enough to spill their beers and dislodge the foam cheese nestled on their heads.
They booed after a three-and-out to start the second half. And after another three-and-out on the next possession.
They booed errant throws and running plays that lost yardage and when Rodgers was forced to call a timeout before a critical third down as the play clock neared zero.
Jeers turned to cheers once Rodgers got hot, the Vikings defense grew tired and Cordarrelle Patterson did the most Cordarrelle Patterson thing ever by fumbling away a chance for the Vikings to give themselves some breathing room.
But the soundtrack that accompanied the end of the Packers' stranglehold on NFC North supremacy started with boos and ended with stunned silence.
A silence that came over the stadium as Rodgers fired a desperation heave toward the end zone, one last hope with no time left that was batted down, allowing the Vikings to celebrate a 20-13 victory, a division title, a home playoff game and the feeling of finally toppling their longtime nemesis.
The Packers are no longer king of the division. They can thank their offense for their undoing and ending their four-year run as champions.
"We have to prove to ourselves again that we can win the big games," Rodgers said.
That narrative seems strange considering Rodgers' career dominance over the Vikings. He has owned the Vikings historically, going 11-4 as a starter with 10 wins in the previous 11 meetings.
But a quarterback and offense that used to tear through the Vikings defense like a pit bull devouring a hunk of meat dug a deep hole in the biggest game of the season.
One sequence in the third quarter crystallized the stark difference in the Packers offense this season.
The Vikings led 13-3 and had control of things when Teddy Bridgewater suffered a brain cramp. Under heavy pressure, he threw a pass lefthanded — he's not lefthanded, mind you — into the middle of the field and was intercepted by Micah Hyde at the Vikings 43.
Rodgers used to punish teams for giving such a gift. Not now, though. Instead, he fumbled sideways while being hit by Everson Griffen and Captain Munnerlyn scooped the ball and went 55 yards for a touchdown.
That play belongs on a poster depicting the Packers' offense circa 2015.
"We know how to score points here," coach Mike McCarthy said. "We need to do a better job."
Their offense misfired more than it frightened during a second-half slump, a strange development given what we've seen from Rodgers and his offense over the years.
Their offensive line struggles to protect Rodgers. Their receiving corps is erratic and unable to create separation. And Rodgers' pinpoint accuracy disappears occasionally.
Rodgers' line nearly got him killed at Arizona last week. He was sacked eight times in a thumping that made their offense look even more vulnerable entering Sunday's winner-take-all.
The Packers tried a different approach early against the Vikings, eschewing Rodgers' passing in favor of a meat-and-potatoes flavor.
They had 10 rushes on a 15-play opening drive that ended with a field goal. They gave the ball to heavyweight Eddie Lacy seven times. The drive consumed 8 minutes, 43 seconds — the Packers' second-longest drive in time of the season.
When was the last time the Packers, with Rodgers at the controls, called 10 running plays on an opening drive?
Rodgers eventually caught fire in the second half with the Packers in catch-up mode. He finished with 291 passing yards, but he was sacked five times, threw an interception in the end zone late in the fourth quarter and finished with a pedestrian 80.8 passer rating.
"We had one decent quarter of football," Rodgers said. "Got to figure out the root of that and fix it quickly. We're 16 games in, so you kind of are who you are."
That reality left their fans booing loud and often.
Chip Scoggins firstname.lastname@example.org