Packers XLV

Packers Remain Perfect, Though Vikings Put Up a Fight

Posted October 24th, 2011 @ 12:10am

All week long, my gut told me this would be a seven point game, but with the Vikings ultimately lacking three of their top five players in the secondary, I thought the Pack would blow them out late...it almost happened.

After scoring 20 unanswered points in the third quarter to take a 33-17 lead, the Packers watched the Vikings, using the legs of Adrian Peterson and the arm of rookie Christian Ponder creep closer. I didn't expect the Purple to have the ball late with a chance to win, but the Pack closed them out when Leslie Frazier gambled by punting the ball away, hoping to get it back. James Starks did the job and the Vikings couldn't stop him, even when they knew the run was coming to run out the clock.

The Pack exits the Dome 33-27 winners and heads into the bye a perfect 7-0. That is win #700 all time for the team and is their record 13th straight, dating back to last season.

All kinds of game balls to hand out. On offense, Rodgers was his usual brilliant self. At one point he was 20-23, with the incompletions being a spike and drops by Cobb and Starks. Just another ho hum 300 yard day with three TDs and only six incomplete passes. He is now the first QB in NFL history to have seven straight games with a passer rating of at least 110.

On defense, Charles Woodson picked off the rookie twice to help propel the Pack to their big lead in the third quarter. Once again Mason Crosby delivered, hammering home a Packer record 58 yarder, with lots of room to spare.

But their were some alarming warts. Cobb erased some defensive momentum after a stellar three and out effort near the Vikings own goal line, by muffing a kick and giving Ponder the ball back near midfield--they went on to score a TD.

Third down was a disaster on both sides of the ball. The offense sputtered on third downs all day, converting just 2-8, while the defense allowed Ponder to convert 9 of 16. The Packers' run defense was gouged for 218 yards, Peterson averaged more than seven yards per carry in a 175 yard day. On the flip side, Starks finished with 75 yards and averaged almost six yards per carry.

The Packers can rest up, heal up and get ready for their final nine games. Shields and Zombo should be back after the bye and the time off will be good for fellow defenders Tramon Williams, Clay Matthews and Woodson, all of whom have been nursing nagging bumps and bruises. The Chargers are up next--they handed a game to the Jets and will play next Monday night on the road, giving them a short week to prepare for the champs, while the Pack has 14 days to gear up.

With the Lions suddenly looking like the 2009 version, having lost two straight at home now and featuring no running game and a skittish Matthew Stafford, the Packers have a two game lead on the rest of the NFC (this side of SF). Bye, bye NFL. See you in two weeks (but naturally, the head cheese blogs will continue in the interim).

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Comments (32):

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on April 1st, 2012 at 08:58pm

I can't argue that not having ceshon a QB by now may not be the best way to go, but they've both looked decent at running the offense, so I'll feel ok with whomever is out there against the Giants week 1. If the offensive line can stay healthy (looking much improved over last year, but no depth) and if our defensive backfield can be decent (LaRon Landry hurt all of pre season) I think the Skins could surprise some folks. The team is improved over last year (debating McNabb at QB notwithstanding, he's a good QB, but he wasn't good last year), and last year we managed to win 6. I do think that the NFC East will be a much tougher division than it has been in a few years.fIf Torain comes back healthy (broken hand) and Hightower continues to impress, the running game could help open up the offense. Steven mentioned Stallworth as a receiving threat, talk is, he may be cut as the Skins have some good young receivers in camp, and if they want to keep kick/punt return specialist Brandon Banks, they'll most likely have to cut Stallworth. That leaves Moss, Armstrong, Terrance Austin (has looked very good in preseason) Jabber Gaffney and rookies Hankerson (dropping balls, but young enough to stick with) and Niles Paul. Also Nebraska rookie Roy Helu out of the backfield could see quite a few carries. And while Pro Bowl TE Chris Cooley has been out all pre season, Fred Davis has slimmed down, and has looked very good thus far.

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on June 27th, 2012 at 01:25pm

I agree. Better to be 10 picks early than one pick too late. And it wasn't only Washington, but Miami as well. Ponder was one of the few pro-ready QBs in the draft, with teams like Washington and Miami looking for fiihsned products. Ponder would not have made it to the Vikes' pick at in the 2nd, and possibly could've been taken by a team in the early 1st who traded up. At the Vikes 2nd pick, most of the top QBs would've been gone. Enough stop-gaps, find a guy and build around him

on May 18th, 2012 at 04:49pm

Yeah purplepp1eater is right, Washington would DEFINITELY have taken him if he was there, I know plpeoe talk about Luck next year but apart from him the rest of the QB's coming out next year don't have any better stats than Ponder anyway and aren't nearly as smart. They now have McNabb so he won't have to be rushed in to start and they have Adrian Peterson to hand off to as well. He's really smart, accurate and athletic .at least they had the balls to take a chance on him

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on November 17th, 2011 at 07:37am

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on November 24th, 2011 at 03:47pm

You really did nail this one. You got it as right as anyone. Confidence is still high. Never got very worried. At least the viking might be up for some trash talk now.

on October 23rd, 2011 at 07:24pm

Always a tight game w/ the queens. Give the O line cred. They did a great job in a tough environment. It was good to see some pressure on the QB this week. What can Capers do to get the DE more involved in this 4-3?

on October 23rd, 2011 at 08:22pm

We need to work on our 3rd down conversions and our pass defense. Other then that... Aaron was brilliant!

on October 23rd, 2011 at 09:43pm

well said Davey, well said!!!

on October 23rd, 2011 at 09:47pm

nice calls davey, it was close at half but u lost me on your prediction with 41-21 i knew ponder would make some plays not like mcnabb in 2nd half. but i may have been closer, as i pat my back again. i said this would be there super bowl and it was. i said 2 td's and 2 picks for ponder and make some plays with his feet. hows that guys. didn't need to be that close though. great game to win. get some rest and we really need shields in there w/o collins. hopefully neal can make an impact also. go world champs

on October 23rd, 2011 at 10:39pm

Dave, you predicted this game pretty well. Very fortunate to get out out of there with a win. Pretty impressive effort by the Vikes considering how undermanned and outgunned they were, going into the game. Dom Capers might need to go back to the drawing board because it seems opposing offenses have spent all offseason scheming ways to beat his system. That said, 7 and 0 is pretty nice. Let's hope Greg Jennings' hand is going to be okay.

on October 23rd, 2011 at 11:38pm

The Packers are missing not just 1, but 2 KEY players on their defense. Cullen Jenkins and Nick Collins. They are playing well enough to get by, especially in the red zone. But I can't help but think Clay would have more sacks, and Tramon would have more interceptions if the 2 missing guys were there. (Altho' Matthews is playing as well if not better than ever, and Williams has a sore shoulder.) Mite hear Raji's name a little more often as well. Sigh.. still... (Just bought my Nick Collins Jersey this year! D'OH!)

on October 24th, 2011 at 04:19pm

Good to be 7-0. Starks is an enigma to me, sometimes looks so uncertain and then milks the clock at the end with great running. Cobb frustrated me. This is a game he will want to forget. Rodgers looked great. Could have forced a few while on the run but didn't and made sure we got 3 points. --Defense needs a break. This bye week is great timing. Need to get Shields back and hope that things start to come together for Davon House. I expect the cast will be off Burnett's hand by the time we play SanDiego. He's not the same with it on. --The pass rush was a little better but we really need Neal to be a force by December. Hopefully his return will give us a little more push. Raji doesn't seem to be getting much push at this point. GoPack!

on October 24th, 2011 at 05:35am

Yes, it was closer than most of us would've liked; yes, the gave up too many 3rd down conversions. However...they're 7-0, along with making it 13 in a row. Life is good. But I'll give Ponder credit for doing a good job, and it may be an indication of how the Packer/Viking rivalry will look over the next few seasons. He's the real deal, folks.

on October 24th, 2011 at 11:47am

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