Friday, October 3, 2014

Vikings-Packers Ouch!

I wasn't sure that the Thursday Night Game that featured the Minnesota Vikings versus the Green Bay Packers was going to be a good game.  Yes, the Vikings were coming into last night's game even with the Packers at 2-2.  And yes, both teams were coming off wins.  It sounded like most of the analysts expected a dead even game.  But the Vikings would be without their new quarterback, Teddy Bridgewater, who hurt his ankle the previous week, and Adrian Peterson who remains out indefinitely due to legal issues.  Bridgewater had passed for 317 yards against the Falcons and left last Sunday's game with an ankle injury after a Vikings touchdown and a 2-point conversion put them ahead, 35-28.  Backup Christian Ponder came on in relief and the Vikings won, 41-28.

Jerick McKinnon and Matt Asiata

 Additional confidence in the Vikings' abilities were sparked by the performance of running backs Jerick McKinnon and Matt Asiata who collectively gained over 200  yards against the Falcons. Never-the-less, even when Peterson is not gaining big yards, he is punishing defenders on every play.  He has to be one of those players that defenses never like to play against.

Packers Dominate

Regardless of the pregame talk and last week's Vikings success, it didn't take long for the Packers to take over.  Bridgewater was replaced by Christian Ponder who struggled.

The Packers went to work from the first whistle.  Eddie Lacy was the go-to guy on the first series and after he got the Packers down field on three runs, Aaron Rodgers tosses a scoring pass to Randall Cobb.  It was a four-play scoring drive.  A few minutes later, Rodgers led another four-play scoring drive and he hit Jordy Nelson on a 66 yard scoring pass that honestly looked like they were playing catch without a defense present.  It's scarey the way the Packers can do that at times.  

In the second quarter, ex Bear Julius Peppers caught a wounded duck from Ponders and high-tailed it across the width of the field to avoid tackles and sprinted into the end zone.  It was definitely one for the Peppers highlight book.  

Another interception of Ponders led to a quick drive and a Rodgers-to-rookie Davante Adams score.   At this point in the game, the Packers were flexing their offensive muscles with Lacy looking better with each carry, Cobb seeing more action, and Adams making his own statement.  One of the hopes that NFC North rivals may have held is that Aaron Rodgers extensive use of Jordy Nelson might be a weakness in the Packers game, but with Cobb contributing and new receiver, Davante Adams starting to get more opportunities, it was all bad news.  

Of course, the Packers defense was taking no-prisoners.  Although sports commentators and analysts have been pointing out the Packers' weakness in stopping the run, it hasn't been enough to give them any serious problems the last two games.  A good day by Matt Forte of the Bears did not save the Bears the week before. 

It was pretty much lights out at half, when the Packers led 35-0.  The Packers made it 42-0 in the third quarter when Eddie Lacy fueled another drive.  In the fourth quarter, the Vikings did manage a score when Ponder had a good 7-play drive and ran the ball in himself.  Matt Flynn came on in relief of Aaron Rodgers and tossed an interception that the Vikings parlayed into a field goal.  The Packers won, 42-10.  

What's Next for the Packers and Vikings

The Packers have a nice long rest before they suit up to play the Dolphins on October 12.  The Vikings also have a some respite before they meet the Detroit Lions on the 12th, who have the lead in the NFC North with a 3-1 record at this time.  The Lions play a good Buffalo Bills team this Sunday, week before the Vikings match. 

The Packers-Vikings Thursday Night Game was not very entertaining for most fans, but it was certainly appreciated in Green Bay.