It was an impressive showing from the Packers in their final game in the Metrodome on Sunday night. Aaron Rodgers killed it in Minnesota once again. I’ve got a couple of ridiculous stats regarding his play on the road against the Vikings in a little bit, but first let’s get down to the analysis from this Week 8 shootout.
Cordarrelle Patterson took the opening kickoff of the game back to the house for a 109 yard touchdown, tied for the longest play in NFL history. As promising of a start as this was, it was the last time the Vikes would taste the lead. Directly following this electric start, Aaron Rodgers took his team down the field in 14 plays and 90 yards in 7:24 for the game-tying score. This came on a tight throw into Jordy Nelson, who was covered front and back by Josh Robinson. You may have had a better chance of sticking your finger through the hole of a Cheerio than to try and fit a pass in the window that Rodgers stuffed it in on this touchdown play. Anyways, the scoring was not done there. In fact, the scoring never stopped for the Packers; they scored on every single drive of this game (besides their final series where they kneeled the ball to run out the clock). Following the touchdown, Green Bay was able to score a field goal (on a 70 yard drive), another touchdown on a 76 yard quick slant to Jordy Nelson, a 93 yard punt return for a touchdown by Micah Hyde (returning the favor served up by Patterson early on in the game), two additional touchdown drives (with James Starks and Eddie Lacy runs), and finally two field goals to end the night. Green Bay did not punt in this game, nor did they turn the ball over. In fact the only bad thing you could say about their performance is the amount of penalties they committed, six for 120 yards. You can overlook this stat, though, when your team converts 13 out of its 18 third down attempts. Also, on two of those failures the Packers went for it on fourth down and got it, so you could say that they were 15 of 18 in those situations in terms of keeping drives going.
As bad of a performance that this was for the Vikings, it is not all worthy of a thumbs down, at least not on offense. They managed to throw up 31 big ones in their limited time possessing the football. They are only the second team in the league this season to put up 30 or more points while possessing the ball for less than 20 minutes. If the defense would have been able to stop the Pack just a couple of times, this could have been a much closer ball game. Adrian Peterson was effective in his limited use, including rushing for a touchdown that came on the back-end of a ballsy play-call from Bill Musgrave at the end of the first half. With only 10 seconds remaining in the second quarter, he called up a draw play to Peterson who was able to rumble his way into the end zone to bring the game to 24-17. Christian Ponder was hurried a bit in this game so he was not super sharp. He also missed a couple of wide open receivers and was a little quick to tuck the ball and run. I was not a big fan of him escaping out to the right of the pocket in favor of stepping up while keeping his eyes down the field. These are mistakes that young quarterbacks tend to make and Minnesota fans would hope that Ponder is past this stage in this, his third year in the league. Anyways, the night could have been worse for Ponder but as it was, he did not look great.
It’s like Aaron Rodgers circles the Green Bay @ Minnesota game on his calendar every single year. Playing in the Metrodome is like a ninth home game for the former MVP of the league. In his last four games in this venue, he has thrown 13 touchdowns, no interceptions, 1286 yards (321.5 yards/game), and probably most impressive of all he has only thrown 32 incompletions in these four games (8/game). That is crazy! It is well documented how #12 owns the Vikings in his career, but putting these numbers in front your eyes may help you realize just how spectacular he is when he sees the purple uniforms lined up across from him.
The Packers dominated the Vikings in this game. The final score may suggest that Minnesota put up a fight, but really the final seven of those 31 points came in garbage time. This win will help the Packers in terms of getting momentum behind them going into their big Monday night game against the Bears next week (a team that has had an extra week to prepare for this clash). The Vikings will be challenged down in Dallas next week against a Cowboy team that is putting up a massive amount of points at home. Surprise, surprise: Minnesota has the worst scoring defense in the league… they may have their work cut out for them if Alan William’s unit does not turn things around in a hurry.