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Packer Partisan (09/10/2008)
By Dave DeLano

Rodgers Leads Pack To Victory in His First Start

It wasn’t very pretty, but Aaron Rodgers’ debut as the Packers’ starting quarterback had a happy ending for Cheeseheads as the Pack came away from their Monday Night Football battle against the Vikings with a 24 -19 victory. With all the pressure on Rodgers, he stepped up big-time and delivered 178 yards passing and 35 yards running with touchdowns both passing and running.

Rodgers didn’t get a lot of help from the patched-up Packer offensive line. The O-line committed way too many penalties early in this contest. With all the penalties I thought Rodgers might panic and make some serious mistakes. He didn’t. Rodgers also proved he has some skills running the ball as he made three first downs in the first half flashing some foot quickness. The Packers have added a slew of roll-out plays this year to their repertoire, no doubt to take advantage of Rodgers’ speed.

The Pack took a 10 – 3 lead into halftime thanks mostly due to a comatose Viking offense. Adrian Peterson is a special running back talent, but the Viking offense is very predictable and they have a quarterback that, uh hum… let’s just say he needs more practice throwing the football. The Packer defense took full advantage of the situation, loading up the box on most occasions thereby pretty much keeping Peterson under control. A. J. Hawk had a particularly nice game tackling with abandon.

Viking Coach Brad Childress seems to be offensively challenged. Childress’ coaching record vs. Mike McCarthy is now 0 wins and 5 losses. Speaking of zeros, the much ballyhooed Viking free agency signing this past off-season was defensive end Jared Allen. Allen signed a contract worth a bazillion $ in guaranteed money, and finished his first game as a Viking with zero tackles, zero assisted tackles, and zero sacks.

Will Blackmon returned a punt 76 yards for a touchdown to make the difference in the third quarter. Blackmon is a special talent and I suspect he will have a bunch more of fine punt returns for the Pack as the season unfolds.

Ryan Grant had a 57-yard run in the fourth quarter to set up Rodgers’ 1-yard rushing touchdown. Hopefully the injuries to Scott Wells and Josh Sitton will heal quickly and their return to starting positions in the offensive line will lead to fewer penalties and more productivity for Grant and company in the weeks to come. Grant’s backup, Brandon Jackson, was inexplicably unproductive Monday night. Maybe Kregg Lumkin will get a chance to perform next week against the Lions.

So off go the 1 – 0 Packers to Detroit next week to face the Lions. The Packers should win that game against a foe that in recent years has been run over like road kill. The Lions’ management has been a joke for many a year with their numerous busted high draft picks. Having stated that, the Lions are the kind of team that can sneak up and surprise if the Packers lose focus. The Pack should be 2 -0 at this time next week, but nothing is for sure in the NFL.



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