Welcome to Metrodome, and today’s Packers-Vikings blog. As before, the most recent comments will be posted at the top. Happy reading, and feel free to post your comments below.
WILL THAT DO IT?
I’m heading downstairs for postgame coverage. Thanks for reading along.
REDISCOVERING THE RUN GAME
Just when I thought the game would be on Aaron Rodgers’ shoulders, the Packers start feeding James Starks, and the combination of Starks, good blocking, and poor tackling has the Packers moving the football on the ground, and salting this thing away.
THEY’RE NOT SAYING “KUHN”
Minnesota fans aren’t too happy with Leslie Frazier’s decision to punt the ball away with a little more than 2:30 remaining.
Beyond being a great interview, here’s why I like Ryan Pickett: he’s the guy that toils way in the trenches, seemingly not doing a whole lot, but when a play needs to be made at a crucial time, he absolutely stuffs Peterson in the hole.
SO HE’S NOT PERFECT
Rodgers misses an open Jennings on 3rd down. Packers have to punt. Vikings have life.
DID WE MENTION IT’S NOT OVER YET
Ponder had rediscovered the guys in purple jerseys. After getting dominated in the 3rd, Minnesota’s scored all the points in this 4th quarter. Packers need a drive to respond after the Vikings drove 93-yards for a TD.
NOT OVER YET
Adrian Peterson has not packed it in, so to speak, his 54-yard jaunt to end the 3rd quarter will likely keep the Minnesota fans in their seats just a bit longer. Peterson now has 163 yards on 17 carries, an average of 9.6 yards/carry. He is good.
HATE THE DOME? LOVE THE DOME!
After Rodgers makes his 1st mistake of the game (taking a sack), Mason Crosby nails a career-long 58-yard field goal. The 2 Woodson INT’s have produced 6 points, but the mountain keeps getting higher for the Vikings to climb.
VET 2, ROOKIE 0
Remember when some Packers loyalists complained about the acqusition of Charles Woodson because he was a “troublemaker?” The only trouble he’s caused in his time in Green Bay is trouble for opposing offenses. Then again, some loyalists would have stuck with the previous QB…
THAT WAS INTERESTING
The Packers ran twice in the red zone, for little success, and then on 3rd down, lined up in a 5-wide formation. Even so, Green Bay tacked on 3 more points, and burned 4:44 off the clock.
A MATTER OF TIME
Ponder, who’s played awfully well in this game, commits a rookie mistake, by locking in on TE Visanthe Shiancoe, even while Charles Woodson was undercutting the route. A Green Bay TD off the turnover could go a long way to ending this thing, although I don’t know it’s time for any “dagger” comments. I leave that up to Wayne Larrivee.
SLICING AND DICING
Aaron Rodgers is well on his way to putting up even more absurd numbers in a dome: with 10:29 left in the 3rd, Rodgers is 20 -23 passing, for 305 yards, and 3 TD’s. What was the name of that guy who he replaced?
Percy Harvin of the Vikings will not play in the second half. Harvin’s been bothered by a rib injury even prior to Minnesota’s game with Chicago.
Randall Cobb’s 2nd punt return worked out much better than his 1st, although GB could have been whistled for a block in the back.
THAT DIDN’T TAKE LONG
The Packers score on their 2nd play of the half, as a complete bust in the Viking secondary leads to an easy toss from Rodgers to Jennings for a 79-yard TD. Just like that, the Vikings fans have piped down considerably. But I’m keeping the ear plugs in for now.
SOME STATS STICK OUT
Namely, the Cobb fumble, which is the only turnover of the game, and is basically the difference in the 1st half.
PERSISTENCE PAYS OFF
A Matthews speed rush enabled the GB LB to get around Loadholt, and trip up Ponder. 1st sack for the Pack, and it helps keep the Vikes out of the end zone. A decent tradeoff, since Green Bay has some time on the clock remaining in the 2nd quarter, plus the Packers get the ball to start the 3rd.
Mason Crosby’s FG was only the 2nd-best kick on that last play….Brian Robison’s Das Boot to the groin of T.J. Lang might get replayed a few 100 times on highlight shows.
PRESSURE VS. NO PRESSURE
If there’s a difference in this game so far, it’s that the Vikings can pressure the QB with their front four. The Packers need to blitz, and as long as Clay Matthews is getting double-teamed, and as long as Ponder rolls away from Matthews’ side, the rookie QB will have time to make throws. Look to see if Dom Capers flips Matthews to the other side to avoid having to match up with RT Phil Loadholt.
Green Bay’s positives through one quarter: Aaron Rodgers is locked in, receivers are catching balls, O-line has done well in run-blocking, defense is doing a better job putting pressure on Ponder. Negatives: the aforementioned Newhouse blocking issues, and Cobb’s misplay of a punt. The result is that we have a game through one quarter. Regarding the perspective from the other side, I can see why Minnesota made the QB change.
REMEMBER THAT 108-YARD KICK RETURN?
I agree that Randall Cobb has skills in the return game, but am I the only one who thinks he’s become a bit of a liability in terms of his decision-making?
NEWHOUSE NEEDS HELP
Packers LT Marshall Newhouse, who had blocked well early on, whiffed on a block that enabled Jared Allen to stuff James Starks in the backfield, then Allen beat Newhouse en route to a sack of Rodgers. It’ll be worth watching whether Green Bay lets Newhouse work through these issues on his own, or whether they bring blocking help via a TE or RB.
GB running back Alex Green suffered a knee injury on the Packers kick return, and he is out for the remainder of the game.
The Packers marched 91 yards against the Vikings defense, and made it look fairly easy. The veteran QB in this matchup, Aaron Rodgers, was 6-6 on the 91-yard, 9-play drive, which took 5:24 off the clock. From my perspective in the baseball pressbox, Green Bay had open receivers on every single pass play. Rodgers was on the money with each throw, although he did take a shot on the TD pass to Kuhn.
JUST TO CLARIFY
It’s not technically Ponder’s debut, since he got some garbage time last week at Soldier Field. Still, it shows what a mobile QB with some arm strength can bring to the table .
CAN’T HAVE A BETTER DEBUT THAN THAT
Christian Ponder rolls left, and finds a wide-open Michael Jenkins down the sideline. Tramon Williams got sucked in by the play action, and was then turned around by a Jenkins double-move. The result: a 72-yard pass to the GB 1. Two players later, Ponder tosses a TD pass to Visanthe Shiancoe, as Morgan Burnett was unable to keep his feet in coverage.
LET’S SEE WHAT THE ROOKIE QB BRINGS TO THE TABLE
The Packers win the toss, but defer to the 2nd half, meaning the Vikings will take the ball. Christian Ponder vs. Dom Capers, Charles Woodson, Clay Matthews, et. al.
John Bell of the musical group of that name sings the anthem. As long as the dome stays inflated, there should not be widespread panic inside today.
AUDITORY ASSAULT UNDERWAY
Former Vikings DE Chris Doleman blows a horn, which had not been pitch-tuned to the usual incessant Viking horn sound that gets blasted through the PA system 40-50 times per game. The PA system is cranked up to uncomfortable levels, which means my ear plugs have gone in.
DOME & SHIP INFLATED
The Metrodome is still a major league dump, but it looks better than the last time I was here…when the dome was deflated and melting snow was dripping onto the field. It’s quite a bit brighter in here, thanks to the new roof panels. Decibel level isn’t too bad, but that may change, as the Skol Line (known to some as a drum line) has now taken the field. Fans are still filing into the place. And, the Vikings ship has been inflated–so the Minnesota players can run through a faux tunnel as they take the field.
Posted under Hometown Sports
This post was written by bbradovich on October 23, 2011