by Mark Metzler
After watching Aaron Rodgers play on Sunday, I’m happy to say the Green Bay Packers don’t need a new quarterback. Rodgers was, most times, razor sharp, throwing for more than 360 yards and four touchdowns as the Packers beat the Minnesota Vikings, 43-34. The game wasn’t as close as the score indicated, though the Packers failed to put the Vikings away for good when there was an opportunity.
There were several times fairly early in the game that the Packers looked like they would finish the Vikings off, but they let them out of their grasp. You know, the Packers can never make it easy. Still, it was a convincing win that could have been a dominating win against a very good team.
Early on, the defense and Jaire Alexander came up big for the Packers. After the Vikings stuffed the Packers at the goal line near the start of the game, Alexander’s safety was probably the biggest play of the game. It took what could have been a deflating moment and turned it positive.
Rodgers was spot on in most of the first half, throwing two nice passes for touchdowns. The first, to Davante Adams, was thrown where only Adams could catch it. The second, to Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and set up by a key Alexander interception, was dropped out of the sky right into Scantling’s hands.
I hadn’t been believing the hype around Valdes-Scantling because of how disappointing he was last year, but he looked good holding on to the ball on the touchdown from Rodgers. It’s a ball he would have most certainly dropped last year. Of course, he made up for it with a key drop on the Packers’ first drive of the second half. That drive could have put the game away right there. Then on the next drive he dropped another long pass that could have put the game away. Frustrating. Then, later, he made a nice catch on a near touchdown. Who knows?
I was disappointed that the Vikings were able to score the field goal at the end of the half. It was disturbing to see nose tackle Kenny Clark leave the game then. So, I was apprehensive to see what would happen at the beginning of the second half. Right on cue, Dalvin Cook started running up the middle, but, just as quickly, the Vikings went away from it, and the Packers held.
In the first half the Packers clearly outplayed the Vikings, but they couldn’t get in the end zone to start. It really should have been more lopsided than the 22-10 halftime score. Other than not getting into the end zone early, the Packers’ offense looked sharp in the half and sharp throughout the game.
It was a good deal more creative than the Vikings’ offense. Case in point was when the Vikings decided to go for a fourth and three with a long pass, which fell incomplete. It was an important moment.
Until late in the first half, Cousins had thrown only two passes. Then, with just 25 seconds left, Cousins threw the big interception to Alexander that quickly led to the Valdes-Scantling touchdown
The bad things about the game were injuries to Clark and to Lane Taylor, who had come from being hurt all last year, and was playing an exceptional game. Clark is going to be fine. Taylor’s injury looked serious.
The offensive line played really well and showed decent depth with players filling in for injuries. Billy Turner was already out and Lucas Patrick was hurt in the first half. The line showed good versatility, blocking well for the run and in pass protection. Patrick should be back next week, too.
Next week, it’s the Lions at Lambeau Field. If the Packers sharpen things up a bit by staying focused all the time, it should be a win.