Packers XLV

Much to Ponder Before the Rematch at Lambeau

Posted December 31st, 2012 @ 02:12am

Christian Ponder needed to do two things if the Vikings were going to snap the Packers' five game winning streak against them and earn the NFC's final playoff berth. He had to protect the football and make a big play in the fourth quarter. Well, young Mr. Steele delivered and we have ourselves a rematch next Saturday night.

The Packers delivered a defensive clunker in a game that Minnesota needed more, but obviously meant a lot to the green and gold as well. Too many missed tackles, some missed assignments which turned into third down conversions and some boneheaded penalties at the worst possible time.

None was bigger than Tramon Williams' illegal hands to the face call that turned a field goal try into a first and goal and ultimately a Vikings TD that put them up seven late in the fourth quarter. Williams seemed off all day: taking bad angles, being chippy after plays. Just a real step backward for a guy who's played lights out all season.

The two MVP studs were ridiculous. After a first quarter where the Pack didn't earn one first down, Rodgers heated up big time, completing 70% of his passes for 365 yards, with four TDs and no picks. Adrian Peterson may have narrowly missed the rushing record, but he earned the MVP with his 199 yard performance: none were bigger than the 26 he ripped off to set up Blair Walsh's game winning chip shot.

But it was Ponder who delivered when the Vikes needed it most. The third down conversion to Michael Jenkins on the left sidelines kept the Purple in the game--a big time pass at a crucial moment. He won over a lot of Lavender fans with that toss. His passer rating at Lambeau was 42. Sunday, in the biggest game of his career, he delivered a rating of 120. Marriage is obviously treating him well.

So what do we take away from the Pack's performance? Offense was fine, special teams was good (Jeremy Ross was a revelation on returns and Mason Crosby actually made a 51 yard field goal) but the defense was a big letdown. I did not expect the Pack to give up 444 yards of offense, even if they were facing a desperate team with a running back chasing history.

Peterson gained 409 yards in two games and you know what the Vikes' recipe will be next Saturday night. If he gets 34 carries again next week we might be looking at a replay of the '04 playoffs. I would expect Ponder to have a much tougher time on the road in what are sure to be frigid conditions. I just checked the forecast--looks like it will be about 20 degrees at kickoff.

It sounds like Antoine Winfield will be challenged to play with the quick six day turnaround. The Packers saw Jerel Worthy and Jarrett Boykin carted off, so they're out. We'll see if Randall Cobb is good to go. It was awesome to see Greg Jennings play like the #85 of seasons past. He, Jones, Nelson and Finley all did their jobs. Surprised to not see Alex Green get any snaps. I would think he would be in the mix along with DuJuan Harris, who gave the running game life after Ryan Grant showed a Sinykin-like burst on his early carries.

Vikings fans will spend much of this week gleefully reminding us of Moss's moon over Lambeau the last time these rivals met in the playoffs. But after this instant classic at the Dome, where the more desperate team did just enough to win, Aaron Rodgers and company have six days to sit, stew and prepare for the rematch. They'll play the next time with as much on the line as the Vikes. For that reason, you can expect a much different outcome on Saturday night.

 

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Comments (13):

All the Pack needed to do was give #12 the ball back one more time and the outcome would have been different. But....this was not the defenses day....Tramon Williams while strong all year was not ready to play....the penetration of the defensive line was actually decent but the angles and tackling of the LB's and DB's was horrible. Getting Woodson back should help the tackling and AJ Hawk is in his last season as a Packer. But....after Rodgers warmed up scoring on 7 of his last 8 drives with Barclay's missed block causing the games only turnover the defense could not rise up. I don't know about the rest of you regulars but dont you just cringe when Capers goes to a 3 man rush on 3rd and 11 in the last drive. This is not Brees or Brady at QB and not Marshall, Johnson, or any big receiver to scare you....so bring pressure on a young QB. The Vikes can bring Petersen, Walter Payton, and Barry Sanders with Joe Montana at QB in their primes...the Pack is going to San Fran. GO PACK GO !!

on December 30th, 2012 at 09:27pm

The Vikes have now beat the Pack 7 of the last 8 quarters. Pack is done....good bye...Vikes are already looking forward to Atlanta and a little revenge.....bbbbwwwwwhaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

on December 30th, 2012 at 10:23pm

I don't want MM to tell us they are "ready to play" and then witness that defensive effort. The corner play was atrocious and Tramon's play was particularly brutal. LOTS of examples of loss of POISE including MM throwing the challenge flag when we all know the "Jim Schwartz Rule". I HATE the three-man rush. Time to STEP UP at Lambeau on Saturday and have the defense show and man up!

on December 30th, 2012 at 11:03pm

After Peterson runs for nearly 200 yards, I don't think he should feel so smug any more.

on December 30th, 2012 at 11:16pm

The 3 -4 defense is not generating enough pass rush in itself - ie.. 2 min warning 3rd and 11. Hope Capers dials up some blitzes or he may be looking for employment or retirement. Couldn't help notice that the two players that may not be with the Pack next year had 8 catches apiece - hard to replace and probably best to keep at least Finley and duck tape his mouth shut.

on December 31st, 2012 at 01:46pm

"Fail Mary" comes home to roost at last. The difference now between 12-4 , second seed and wild card playoff bye is now that blown officiating job on the last play at Seattle 14 weeks ago. It was recalled on that trap incompletion by JariusWright that was incorrectly called a completion and helped the Vikes jump to a 20-7 second quarter lead. But on the merits of yesterday's game the slow start by the offense put the Pack in an early hole and boosted the home team's confidence. Going three and out on the first two possession while the Queenies were getting 13 point in the first 20 minutes set a tone the Packers cannot allow next Saturday. Perhaps the motivation of keeping Adrian Peterson from the season rushing record helped create some lapses for some of Ponder's uncharacteristic longer downfield pass completions. After playing all their games for the past month indoors the Queens will have to come outside to play at Lambeau next weekend; on real grass and in real cold. A setting in which they are 0-4 this season.

on December 31st, 2012 at 04:52am

I've told you guys this over and over again. Your front office has chosen to extend ingrate TE's (Finley) and one-season wonder CB's (Tramon) instead of re-signing the guys who protect your most valuable asset (AR). I honestly felt bad for the guy as the Vikings line sacked him 5 times and hit him a bunch more. Your ONE decent Olineman Sitton isn't even playing well this year. How do you let Spitz, Colledge, and Wells all go? It's biting you in the a$$ now and is going to get Rodgers seriously injured. The refs tried to give this one to you too. Schwartz rule doesn't apply to you cheaters I guess. Your defense is absolutely atrocious. THC--the rumors of your defense's decline have NOT been grossly exaggerated!

on December 31st, 2012 at 08:45am

After seeing multiple Packers work really hard to NOT try to confront AP, I'm 100% sure he goes for 250+ next week. After spending all day running away from the vicious hits of AP, I imagine they'd rather get hit in the face with a football than try to tackle him again 6 days later.

on December 31st, 2012 at 10:10am

First of all, Happy New Year, everyone! As I figured would be the case, THT and his faithful followers are feeling a little smug today, which is all fine and good. So as promised from last week, here's my evaluation of the purple - the Vikings did execute a good game plan yesterday, and managed to put together a mistake-free game and pull off the win. Congrats. They managed to throw together a serviceable passing game to suppliment AP - those who doubted them before can now come to the realization that the Vikings actually have something to build on, and can conceiveably move on from here. Another downfield threat, another young QB to back up CP, and some O-line depth, and they should be set for several seasons. Special teams will need another dynamic return guy since it appears Harvin will be gone, but the kicking game is set. Defensively is where the real issues lie - the line is getting old, the linebackers are serviceable at best, and the secondary is on the brink of disaster. They can maybe eek out one more season (maybe just one more game!) with this collection, but Spielman will need to shore up that bunch in the draft. Now...moving on to Saturday night, this is a completely different scenario out in the elements in a hostile enviornment. We'll discuss this in more detail later this week (the operative word here is "discuss", rather than finger-point and trash-talk, a concept our purple following friends seem to have difficulty grasping). This thing ain't over yet.

on December 31st, 2012 at 11:12am

If Aaron Rodgers could only duck Everson Griffen and Jared Allen as quickly and as effortlessly as he ducks cancer patients your team might have a chance Sini. Saturday is going to be a much better day for your son than you I think.

on December 31st, 2012 at 12:53pm

Here is some interesting comments from Cliff Christi former Green Bay Gazette sports writer and Eric Barnczyk a former coach/player on Tramon Williams poor play versus the Viking run game this year: But if not for Tramon Williams, Peterson might not have been up to the task. As great as he is, Peterson wouldn’t have gained anywhere near 409 yards in two games against the Packers this season if not for Williams’ poor play against the run. In the first game, Peterson exploded for an 82-yard touchdown when the Vikings lined up with two tight ends and no wide receiver to Williams’ side of the field to put him in a run-force position. This time, the Vikings repeatedly used formations and motion to take advantage of Williams’ timid play. Often, playoff goats are third or fourth corners who get picked apart in coverage or some other unfit player at a crucial position who simply can’t handle his matchup. But occasionally good players — someone like Williams — will lose games because of one glaring shortcoming. So....this will be interesting to watch in Saturday's game.....watch those viking formations.....GO PACK GO !!

on January 1st, 2013 at 08:56pm

I have to wonder what the NFL is thinking: scheduling a playoff game at Lambeau in January for the evening. Couldn't Cincy & Houston have played their game indoors in the South late and the Packers' playoff been in the afternoon during the day's temperature high?

on January 2nd, 2013 at 05:15am

Siny are you out of town on business or will there be a Packer Preview before the game or a review after we pants the purple. Cane, Seriously, Colledge? He was the worst lineman in GB and is barely hanging on in Arizona. Better talk big now, which I see you're doing.

on January 2nd, 2013 at 10:07am

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