GREEN BAY, Wis. — Midway through the first quarter Sunday at Lambeau Field, Green Bay Packers cornerback Jaire Alexander intercepted a pass intended for Minnesota Vikings receiver Justin Jefferson. It was an innocuous moment back then – until Alexander started celebrating.
Alexander hit the “Griddy,” Jefferson’s signature dance, while looking at him over his left shoulder. This decision symbolized a reversal of fortune for both players and their teams. The Packers held Jefferson to a career-low reception for 15 yards in their 41-17 win, after burning them for 11 receptions, 184 yards and 2 touchdowns in Week 1.
Speaking afterwards, Jefferson said he thought the celebration should have earned Alexander a taunting penalty. But he wasn’t surprised to see it after Alexander told reporters last week that Jefferson’s Week 1 performance was a “fluke”.
“He does stuff like that to try [to] get into my head and stuff like that,” Jefferson said. It is what it is. Even from his comments leading up to this game, those are just words. I’m just trying to give him that reminder, that confidence, to go out there and keep me. We will probably see this team in the playoffs. So I guess we’ll see then.”
Alexander, meanwhile, said he had a chat with the coaches after his comments to reporters last week.
“What did I tell them? Shoot, I just told them, I’m just being honest,” Alexander said. “That’s it.”
Alexander also told coaches he wanted to cover Jefferson more than he did in Week 1, when Packers defensive coordinator Joe Barry played a high volume of zone and out-of-coverage. On Sunday, Alexander lined up in front of Jefferson 20 times, with no other Packers defenseman lined up in front of Jefferson more than twice, according to NFL Next Gen Stats. Alexander was on Jefferson on 65% of his routes compared to 36% in Week 1.
After holding Jefferson without a catch in the first half and just one reception for 15 yards the entire game, Packers coach Matt LaFleur said, “I know Jaire twittered a bit, but he backed him up. .”
Alexander said he never spoke to Jefferson after the game.
“I don’t think he wanted to talk to me,” Alexander said.
Jefferson was frustrated but calm as he spoke to reporters in the Minnesota locker room. The Vikings are 12-4, but their losses average 22.3 points and their 16-game point differential is -19.
Jefferson said, “We need to fix” the fact that “when we lose, we lose badly,” but added there was not much he could do on his own.
“I finally realized I made my mark in this league,” he said, “and every game they won’t let me get 100 yards. They will do everything in their power not to let me come up with those kinds of numbers.
“And second, it’s hard to do this twice in the same team. Getting over 100 yards on the same team is definitely tough. It shows you that they are not doing their job if this happens. It’s really tough, getting a hold in the game, wanting to be a big part of the attack, wanting to make big plays for us, and not being able to do that is really tough for me.
Low production may also have stalled Jefferson’s run to the NFL record books. He’s 194 yards from breaking Calvin Johnson’s mark for receiving yards in a season heading into the Vikings’ Week 18 game at the Chicago Bears.
. Jaire Alexander supports the about so Pack supports Justin Jefferson taking