Sunday, November 21, 2010

Packers' Grades in 31-3 Victory over the Vikes

You can’t underestimate the danger of playing a team that is desperate, and for one quarter it really looked as if the Vikings would make a game of it.  But Coach Mike McCarthy and defensive coordinator Dom Capers kept the pressure on Minnesota until they imploded.  Most importantly, the Packers only had one penalty and did not turn the ball over in the game.  A Charles Woodson-forced fumble stopped one early Viking drive, while Tramon Williams’ interception of Brett Favre’s pass deep in Green Bay territory just before the end of the first half virtually sucked the life out of the Vikings.  The Packers kept a boot to their throat the rest of the game and didn’t allow any momentum to swing the Vikings’ way.

McCarthy announced before the game that they were going to try and control the game on the ground.  As we’ve grown to expect, when Aaron Rodgers came alive in the second quarter, the running game was virtually ignored until the end of the game, when Matt Flynn came in at quarterback and the Packers tried to run out the clock.  Brandon Jackson averaged only two yards per carry on the day, but had some success running in the middle of the line instead of running outside.  Dimitri Nance picked up 37 rushing yards in garbage time.

Adrian Peterson did have a couple of nifty runs, including a backbreaking 25-yard jaunt that led to the Vikings’ only score in the first quarter.  But, 61 of his 72 yards were spread out on four carries, leaving him with 11 yards on 10 carries the rest of the day.  Peterson was kept bottled up and was not allowed to dictate the offense, which put the ball in the hands of Brett Favre…which is exactly what the Packers wanted. 

If anyone embodied the first-quarter rustiness of the Packers, it was Aaron Rodgers, who was off on his throws and took two sacks while taking too long looking downfield.  But, he quickly settled down into a rhythm of short, West Coast Offense-style passes that slowly chipped away at the pass rush and demoralized the Vikings’ defense. In the end, he passed for 301 yards and a regular-season-first four touchdowns.  Greg Jennings has a career day with 152 receiving yards and three touchdowns, showing elite concentration on many difficult receptions.

While the Packers managed only one “awarded” sack on the day, Cullen Jenkins and Clay Matthews kept Brett Favre jumpy all day by rushing his throws, and knocking him down repeatedly.  After Tramon Williams’ interception, it was easy to see that both quarterback and receivers were frustrated and completely out of sync with each other.  The secondary played the receivers very tight all day, even when the game was out of reach, yet did not garner a single interference call all game.

The special teams didn’t do much today to win the game, but more importantly, they didn’t do anything to lose it, either.  For the most part, both the Vikings and the Packers contained the other team’s returners, leaving long fields for the offenses.  Mason Crosby booted his only field goal attempt through, and punter Tim Masthay had another decent game, pinning the Vikes inside their 20 twice and only allowing one return.  Williams did return a dangerous punt from his own three-yard line while surrounded by defenders, giving the Packers breathing room.


Bruce said...

The argument for developing your talent from within the organization won today. I hear nothing but crickets from the Ted Thompson haters tonight.

The Packers have plenty of salary cap room to sign established veterans that perform well and young players performing well going into their best years.

And by the way, it was beautiful to watch the Packers destroy the "queens" today.

IPB said...

Here at the IPB/Lambeau Midwest hangout ... everyone seemed to be on pins and needles until the Packers exploded in that 3rd quarter - it reminded me of the 90's how Holmgren would always win the toos and purposely elect to take the ball at the half instead of right away. Knowing how Holmgren would make adjustments at halftime, it only made for spock-logic. And, this game did have some touches of that.

Throughout the game, tho', we're still seeing McCarthy keep with his conservative Marty-ball approach and had he shown more grit, early on, the score could most likely have been much much higher - like that Badgers game when they scored 83 (almost).

Seeing Favre having a marital spat with Bevell on the sidelines made my whole day. you can see the Gunslinger just losin' it, in stages, throughout the game. Obvioulsy he had other plans on ruining our season... which never materialized. Watching Tramon being very-AL HARRIS-like with a monster grab right before the half, was a tell-tale sign of how the rest of the game would go.

The only part of the game that worried me, was how the D was sherdding it on the outside during the first series, and then suddenly Capers seemed to get away from that -- the whole club was making some tell-tale finger-pointing comments.

Word I'm hearing is they are about to offer Charlie Peprah an extension. And, I totally agree with his daggling carrots in from of the TT-haters. Not hearing a word, these days. Obviously, winning cures all ills.

The NEXT game is the test of the second half of the season. Hopefully, the Eagles (and Michael Vick) can get over on da bears. At the same time, we NEED to go down to Atlanta, stop Michael Turner and come home with a win. That would tell the tale heading into the Holidays.

Remember - we got jobbed by the Refs against da bears earlier. We need to win that final game at Lambeau and win it big - no screwin around with Marty-ball and getting all scared so they smell it and go after the jugular.... that's OUR job.

Go Pack!