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”Why does everyone want me to retire so bad?” he said. ”I don’t get it. I’m having fu

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Once Kirk Cousins and the Minnesota Vikings took the lead on Green Bay Connor McGovern Jersey , they played with a fierce refusal to let it go.They held onto the ball with the same determination.Cousins bounced back from his worst game of the season with 342 passing yards and three touchdowns without a fumble or an interception, and the Vikings overcame some early gaffes to outlast the depleted Packers for a 24-17 victory on Sunday night.Article continues below ...Completing 29 of his 38 attempts, Cousins found Dalvin Cook , Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen for scores. Diggs and Thielen had eight receptions apiece.“It just kind of shows his character, shows what kind of player he is, to be able to just not really care what people talk about him, not really care about what happened last week,” Thielen said of Cousins, adding: “The throws he was making, his full game was really impressive. That’s what you expect out of him.”Sheldon Richardson had two sacks to lead the defense’s game-long stifling of Aaron Rodgers, and the Vikings (6-4-1) pushed the Packers (4-6-1) further back in the NFC wild card race.The Vikings won a night game for the first time this season after losing to the top three teams in the NFC: to the Rams in Los Angeles, at home to the New Orleans Saints and at Chicago in a two-interception game by Cousins against the first-place Bears. The Vikings entered the weekend with the fourth-most turnovers in the NFL, and Cousins has been charged with 13 of the 16 giveaways. Coach Mike Zimmer was so impressed by the way Cousins played against the Packers that he gave him the game ball in the locker room afterward .“Last week left a bad taste in our mouths,” Cousins said, “and the chance to come back on Sunday night football against a division rival at home was a great opportunity, and I’m glad we made the most of it.”Rodgers threw a touchdown pass to Davante Adams and Aaron Jones scored on a short run for a 14-7 lead early in the second quarter, but the Packers fell to 0-6 on the road this season and 1-5-1 against the Vikings in their last seven meetings. Their final seven possessions produced only one field goal, with five punts and one turnover on downs.“We’ve all got to play better, myself included,” Rodgers said. “Started off the game nice. We had a couple good drives. We’re rolling there. We hit our unfortunate typical lull and didn’t get it going again.”With Randall Cobb out (hamstring) for a sixth game this season and rookies Equanimeous St. Brown (elbow) and Trevor Davis (hamstring) forced out in the second half, Rodgers didn’t have much to work with down the field. Left guard Lane Taylor (quadriceps) departed in the first half and left tackle David Bakhtiari (knee) was sidelined in the second half, leaving the protection shaky at best. Rodgers finished 17 for 28 for 198 yards, without a turnover.The Packers failed to move the chains on eight of 10 third downs. Jones was stuffed on fourth-and-inches by Harrison Smith, Danielle Hunter and Eric Kendricks midway through the third quarter, giving the Vikings the ball at the Green Bay 44. That set up a 37-yard field goal by Dan Bailey for Minnesota’s first lead of the game.“We’re definitely not in the position Khari Willis Jersey , record-wise, we thought we would be in coming into the year or even after this game. We thought we could get the victory. But unfortunately we ran out of gas,” Packers linebacker Clay Matthews said. “We’re beat up, no doubt about that. But give them credit: They put in a full four quarters.”SLOW STARTThe Vikings outgained the Packers 280-139 in total yardage in the first half, but they had to settle for a tie at the break. About to go for it on fourth-and-inches on the opening drive following a timeout to strategize, they were penalized for 12 men on the field and had to punt.Diggs collided with Thielen when Jaire Alexander crashed their pick play on the second possession, and after Diggs tried to circle back the other way with an ill-fated salvage attempt he lost 10 yards on that reception to lead to another punt.Bailey’s wide left 48-yard try wasted another highlight-reel catch by Thielen in between Alexander and Josh Jones that went for 33 yards. Later in the second quarter, after some mismanagement of the clock, the Vikings had to hustle to set up a 51-yard kick for Bailey. That one was good, but Rashod Hill was called for a false start. The 56-yarder sliced right, the fifth straight missed field goal against the Packers after rookie Daniel Carlson went 0 for 3 in Green Bay and was cut the next day.PACKED AND HAPPY HOUSEThe announced attendance of 66,872 was the largest for the Vikings in three years at U.S. Bank Stadium. A handful of Minnesota players were introduced in the first quarter with Paul Bunyan’s Axe, the trophy the Gophers repossessed from the rival Badgers in Wisconsin on Saturday to end a 14-game losing streak. Randy Moss kept the crowd fired up in a halftime ceremony to receive his Pro Football Hall of Fame ring.INJURY REPORTPackers: In addition to the carnage on offense, SS Kentrell Brice aggravated an ankle injury in the first quarter and was knocked out of action in the third quarter with a possible concussion. CB Kevin King and CB Bashaud Breeland were already inactive with injuries.Vikings: RT Brian O’Neill left in the third quarter for evaluation for a possible concussion. … CB Xavier Rhodes limped off with an apparent injury to his right hamstring in the fourth quarter.UP NEXTPackers: Host Arizona (2-9) next Sunday afternoon.Vikings: Play at New England (8-3) next Sunday afternoon.
Patriot Fatigue is a national affliction.
Outside of New England, we’ve all become a bit nauseated at the sight of these guys in the Super Bowl year after monotonous year, a numbing, inevitable exercise that’s transformed America’s greatest sporting event into nothing more a quaint backyard game hosted by Bill Belichick and Tom Brady.
Since there is no known cure, the hardcore football faithful might want to mimic those who tune in Sunday for nothing more than the commercials and Justin Timberlake’s halftime show – and tune out before the end of the game, thereby avoiding any chance of coming down with another Patriots’ celebration.
At this point, it would probably be more appropriate to award the NFL champion a bronzed hoodie rather than the Vince Lombardi Trophy.
But true fans, please – if only for a moment – appreciate what is happening here.
This is undoubtedly the greatest dynasty in NFL history, a team that long ago raced past Lombardi’s Packers and Pittsburgh’s Steel Curtain and Montana’s 49ers. No one has come close to maintaining such a level of excellence for the better part of two decades, so it seems downright reasonable to proclaim, without a hint of hesitation, that we’ll never see their likes again.
Don’t limit it to football Josh Allen Jersey , either.
The Patriots very well could be the greatest dynasty of them all, in any sport. Sure, we’ll get objections from the New York Yankees and the Boston Celtics and the Montreal Canadiens, but many of their titles came in a totally different era, before expansion and free-agency and salary caps and longer playoff grinds, all of which were supposed to ensure more parity.
Those rules apply to everyone else.
Not the Patriots.
”I think everyone in the league sort of envies their success to some extent, and rightfully so,” said Philadelphia Eagles coach Doug Pederson, whose team will try to take down the Patriots this time around. ”They’ve been there, done that many times, and that’s something that every other team would love to have.”
Those who focus solely on this Groundhog Day-like moment miss the bigger picture.
It all began way back in 2001, just days after the horror of 9/11, when Brady took over as quarterback for longtime starter Drew Bledsoe, who went down with an injury after signing a 10-year contract extension.
With their unheralded, sixth-round draft pick leading the way, the Patriots went on to capture the first of what has grown to five Super Bowl titles.
But, in a sense, those crowns are merely the toppers on an enormous cake.
More impressive in our eyes are the 17 straight winning seasons, only one with fewer than 10 victories. More impressive are the 15 AFC East championships, including the current run of nine in a row. More impressive are the 12 appearances – and eight triumphs – in the AFC championship game. More impressive is staying on top with an ever-changing cast of characters, accumulated through all manner of signings, trades and late-round draft picks.
Ever changing, that is, except for Belichick’s singularly focused coaching genius and the 40-year-old Brady’s age-defying excellence on the field.
For those looking for a respite, don’t count on it anytime soon. Even that scathing ESPN article Jawaan Taylor Jersey , which alleged a major rift between Belichick and Brady (and was quickly denied by all), sounded a bit like wishful thinking.
Asked if he’s thought about how long he wants to coach, Belichick gave a typical response.
”My focus is on Sunday,” the 65-year-old droned. ”That’s my window right now.”
Brady was downright defiant about his desire to keep playing.
”Why does everyone want me to retire so bad?” he said. ”I don’t get it. I’m having fun. The team’s doing good. I know I’m a little bit older than most of the other guys, but I’m really enjoying it.”
Of course, there are those that will say the Patriots cheated their way to the top, and there’s no denying they claimed a virtual monopoly on ”gates” with accusations of spying on opponents and deflating footballs.
And, sure, they’ve carried themselves with all the smugness of a team that knows it’s better than everyone else. For instance, their most recent championship rings came with 283 diamonds, a karated commemoration of New England’s historic comeback from a 28-3 deficit in last year’s Super Bowl.
Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank, whose team was on the wrong end of that comeback, was not amused by the not-so-subtle jab. In August, he confronted his New England counterpart, Robert Kraft.
”I said to Robert, `You didn’t have to do the 28-3 in the ring,”’ Blank said in a New York Times Magazine article chronicling the 2016 season. ”It kind of (ticked) me off.”
The Falcons won’t get a chance at revenge. Not this year, at least.
They were eliminated on the second weekend of the playoffs by the Eagles.
The Patriots, to no one’s surprise, are back again.
Yeah, it’s getting a little old.
But, before you flip the channel Sunday, take a moment to savor the greatness.

Paul Newberry is a sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at pnewberry(at)ap.org or at
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