Nothing To Ponder, The Packers Are Still Undefeated

Posted: October 24, 2011 by Kodi in NFL, Pack It Up, Purple Pride

The coveted Border Battle

Green Bay Came Into Minneapolis Undefeated and Left Undefeated

The game was much closer than some fans expected but was it really that close?

The border battle had a little more spice this year than it has in years past, the Packers came into the game defending SB Champs and undefeated on the season. While the Minnesota Vikings made a QB switch to their 12th overall pick, rookie Christian Ponder, because they were 1-5 with Donovan McNabb under center and it was time for a change.

The Packers have always had trouble coming to the HHH Metrodome and leaving Minnesota with a victory. Although the Packers are the best team in the NFL right now this was a rivalry game that the fans and players knew had a lot on the line. HC McCarthy said that the Dome “is a tough place to play” but said “that is what we expect when we come here, regardless of what has happened leading up to this game, this is always a tough game and we feel good”.

For Vikings fans they wouldn’t care if they finished the season 2-14 as long as those 2 wins came against Green Bay and for the Packers they didn’t want to go into their bye with a sour taste in their mouths. The Packers last faced a rookie QB making his first start in 2009, it was Tampa Bay Bucs QB Josh Freeman, and they were caught off guard and left the sunshine state with a 38-28 loss in week 9. They did not want to let the lowly 1-5 Vikings and Christian Ponder achieve the same thing. The other QB before Freeman to make his starting debut against the Packers was Vikings QB Tarvaris Jackson who lost in Lambeau Field in 2006.

There was the obvious storylines that needed to be covered coming into the game but a huge twist came when Vikings CB Chris Cook was arrested early Saturday morning after getting into an altercation at his Eden Prairie, MN apartment and being arrested. He was charged with domestic assault by use of strangulation and was held in jail without bond until Monday. He missed Sunday’s game and that left the Vikings without their two most reliable CBs against a Packers offense that has been exploiting healthy defenses. Aaron Rodgers must have been licking his chops coming into this game knowing that they were going to spread the offense and let the QB find the open receivers like he’s done all year.

Another is the unbelievable action by Vikings DE Brian Robison who kicked Packers OL T.J. Lang right in the dick while he was flailing around on the Metrodome turf. Robison was flagged bu allowed to stay in the game, he apologized on twitter after the game but the spineless bastard couldn’t let his play do the talking for him and stuck his cleats in Lang’s crotch. Expect Robison to get a hefty fine and he may be liable for a few game suspension, we all know what a tight ass Commissioner Roger Goodell is but this isn’t something to just throw to the wayside.

It was the 100th regular season meeting between the Vikings and Packers. The Packers were able to take both games against Minnesota last season after being swept by Minnesota in 2009. The head to head record was in favor of the Green Bay Packers leading the series 51-47-1 and after their victory on Sunday afternoon the Packers have 9 wins in their last 12 appearances against the Purple. This victory didn’t come as easily as some thought but at the end of the day the Packers left the Metrodome with a 33-27 victory.

The first play from QB Christian Ponder as a starter will be one that the young man will likely never forget. It was a play action roll-out to he left when he flipped a ball deep down the left sideline, CB Tramon Williams was embarrassed by WR Michael Jenkins double move and S Charlie Peprah wasn’t over the top. Jenkins pulled in the catch and darted for the end-zone before being tackled inside the one yard line after an official review. HC Frazier and the Vikings didn’t want to take away a TD from Ponder and let the kid throw it in to TE Visanthe Shiancoe, after giving RB Adrian Peterson a shot, and Minnesota had jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead.

Aaron Rodgers and the Packers were not worried and answered immediately. Rodgers was 6-6 to 6 different receivers in the first drive and topped it off with a TD pass to FB John Kuhn. The next drive for each team was uneventful but during the Packers second drive of the game Aaron Rodgers was sacked by DE Jared Allen on third down taking the Packers out of Minnesota territory and forced them to punt. It was Allen’s 9th consecutive game with a sack, a Vikes record, and the NFL leader ensured that he has 10+ sacks in a season for the 5th straight year and in 6 of his 8 career seasons.

The Vikings got the ball back and it seemed that they had gone three and out forcing P Chris Kluwe to kick the ball to the Packers rookie return-man Randall Cobb. Cobb was at midfield when he muffed the punt and gave the ball back to the Vikings at the 50 yard line. 6 plays later RB Adrian Peterson was stood up by 3 Packers defenders but still able to break the plain of the end-zone and score a 1 yard rushing TD and gave Minnesota a 14-7 lead.

Peterson has had great success against the Packers rushing for over 100 yards 5 times in 9 total appearances against Green Bay and has now scored at least 1 rushing TD in 6 of their last 7 meetings. AP would finish the game with 24 rushes and accumulating 175 yards and a TD on the ground against a Packers rush defense that is top 10 in the NFL. Peterson has played the Packers 9 times and rushed the ball 188 times for 982 yards and 6 TDs averaging nearly 110 yards per game but he has only beaten the Packers 3 times. Success for Peterson does not mean success for the Vikings, at least in their games against the Green Bay Packers.

The Packers tried to answer back and were forced to kick a 39 yard field goal after WR and return-man Randall Cobb dropped a sure 1st down on 3rd down deep in Vikings territory. It was the rookie’s second mistake in as many drives and it was the only mistakes being made on the field. The Packers were playing well but looked like they were just walking through the motions rather than gutting and grinding it out. The Vikings lost an opportunity to steal a game from a team who clearly thought they were better than the other.

Of course everything correct was said before and after the game but the play on the field left a lot to be desired. The Packers were down at halftime 17-13. Green Bay had won the coin toss at the beginning of the game and deferred knowing that they may need the ball to start the second half. I don’t know if they expected to be losing but they were and the Packers knew they had to get their shit together. On the second play of the first drive in the second half Aaron Rodgers scrambled around the pocket dodging incoming Vikings defenders long enough to find a wide open, like nobody anywhere near him open, Greg Jennings who literally walked the final 30 yards of his 79 yard TD.

Greg Jennings had quite a day in Minnesota catching 7 balls for 147 yards and a TD but that shouldn’t have come as a surprise. In 11 games against the Vikings WR Greg Jennings has 50 receptions for 766 yards and 7 TDs, maybe they should follow the Packers footsteps during the Moss years and draft some DBs to help slow this guy down.

The Rodgers to Jennings connection gave the Packers a 20-17 lead and Green Bay would never look back. The Vikings tried to respond but were forced to punt after a three and out and Randall Cobb got his opportunity to make up for some first half mistakes. Cobb took Kluwe’s punt from the Green Bay 26 all the way to the Vikings 32. It was a 42 yard punt return, the longest of the young man’s career.

Cobb’s punt return led to a 2 yard TD pass from Rodgers to TE Jermichael Finley and the Packers lead was extended to 10 points. Rodgers finished the game 24-30 with 335 yards and 3 TDs and posted a QB rating of 146.5 and continued his streak of 110+ QBR to 7. Aaron Rodgers has played in 8 games against the Vikings and has had some great success. He is 154-223 with a 69.1 completion percentage while throwing for 1939 yards, 15 TDs and 3 INTs and has 26 rushing attempts for 146 yards and another TD.

The Vikings kept spiraling out of control and Christian Ponder’s first INT came when soon to be HoF CB Charles Woodson jumped in front of a ball intended for the young QBs favorite target, TE Visanthe Shiancoe. The Packers charged down to the Vikings 4 yard line but were forced to kick a field goal after a run by both Kuhn and RB Ryan Grant and then Aaron Rodgers was sacked on 3rd down by Marcus Sherels. Crosby’s 24 yarder made it 30-17 and it looked like the Packers were going to lock this game up and Minnesota was going to lose it’s 5th game after holding a halftime lead.

It didn’t take long for the Packers to get the ball back because Christian Ponder just kept throwing the ball towards CB Charles Woodson who picked off his 2nd pass of the day when he stole the ball away from WR Michael Jenkins and returned it 25 yards to the Vikings 35 yard line. Woodson just kept trying to jump in front of Ponder’s passes and said after the game that “I really feel like I should have had four [INTs] today, but I wasn’t able to come up with them. I had a couple, which is good, but I feel like every time I’m around the ball and get a fingertip on it I should catch it”.

The Packers drive consisted of two runs by RB James Starks and yet another 3rd down sack by Aaron Rodgers. That brought Packers K Mason Crosby to come out and kick a franchise record 58 yard field goal, which could have been good from 61. The FG gave the Packers a commanding 33-17 lead and they had scored 20 unanswered points after halftime forcing the Vikings to throw 2 INTs and allowing them just 2 first downs in the 3rd quarter.

The 4th quarter is where the lack of effort on Green Bay’s behalf became apparent as they had just 1 first down coming into their final drive. Green Bay thought they had locked up the game and allowed the Vikings to score a 46 yard field goal and a 24 yard passing TD to WR Michael Jenkins. All of a sudden it was 33-27 the Vikings had the ball late in the 4th quarter and had an opportunity to win the game.

The biggest decision for Minnesota came on 4th and 10 from the Vikings 36 with just over 2:30 left. Vikings HC Leslie Frazier thought that his defense might stop the Packers and his team could get the ball back. RB James Starks had just 20 yards in the game entering the final drive but the young man had runs of 15, 4, 20, 4 and 13 gaining 3 first downs and locking up a victory for the Green Bay Packers.  Starks finished the game with 13 rush attempts for 75 yards but nothing was bigger than the ball security that he gave the Packers with just over 2 minutes left in the organizations closest game of the year.

The Vikings gave the Packers a run for their money but ultimately Green Bay walked away with a victory and were very excited entering their bye week undefeated. It was the Packers 700th win as an organization and their 13th in a row going back to the end of last season and their playoff run. They have never won 13 games in a row and there is a glowing buzz surrounding this team and their weapons. Realistically the Packers have yet to play a complete game both offensively and defensively and that means there are greater things to come from the defending Super Bowl Champs. After their bye week they will face the San Diego Chargers, which could be their greatest challenge since opening the 2011 season against New Orleans.

 

 

 

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