I got this one wrong. Part of me thought the defense would stand tall and make a statement after hearing about how lousy they are and how many passing yards they’ve given up. But a louder voice inside me warned that playing a division rival twice within a month, especially with them rested and in a “can’t lose” situation was a recipe for a close game.
Should have listened to the quiet voice. For the first time this season, Dom Capers dialed up a gameplan that worked flawlessly. Only a Randall Cobb muffed punt kept this one from being a shutout. The pass rush was fierce and unpredictable and Ponder had no chance from the start.
9-0. 15 straight. These are heady times. We continue to witness the greatest season ever for a quarterback. Rodgers’ near perfect night makes him 9-9 with a passer rating of at least 110. That’s the record for a season and he’s done it in every game this season. 23-30 for 250, yawn, four touchdowns and no picks. Scratch. Throw completions to ten different receivers. Snore.
Cobb set the tone, returning a punt for a TD the first time the team touched the ball; he also caught three passes for 36 yards. But the muffed punt is a concern. I’m worried how he’ll fare in foul weather–something he’s not familiar with.
We wanted to see the Pack corral Adrian Peterson, after allowing 7.3 yards per carry and 175 yards a few weeks ago. 14 carries, 51 yards: 3.6 yards per carry. Check. We wanted to see improved third down play by the defense. The Vikings were 5-14 on third downs. Check. We wanted to see a pass rush. Three sacks, six quarterback hits and countless pressures. Check.
This team remains hungry, motivated and up to every challenge. The Vikings? They need to re-tool their defense. It’s a shadow of its former self. Winfield, Williams and Henderson have had good to great runs, but the unit needs a serious infusion of youth. Drafting a defensive player before Saturday might be a good place to start.
As for the Pack, the Buccaneers are the next victims, I mean opponents. The Bucs have crashed and burned the last three weeks and Josh Freeman is one of a handful of younger QBs who have seemingly regressed this season (along with Sanchez, Rivers, Vick, Ryan). He’s beaten the Pack before, so the defense will be ready for him as the team shoots for sweet 16 on Sunday at Lambeau.