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Vikings too Much on Monday Night (10/07/2009)
By Dave DeLano

Football The highly-hyped Monday Night Football meeting between the Packers and the B. Favre-led Minnesota Vikings finally came to a boil with the Vikings prevailing by a score of 30 – 23. The 2009 Packers have shown big play abilities, but inconsistency with their offensive line play is becoming a nasty, glaring deficiency. Such was quite obvious to a national television audience Monday night, and it was painful for Cheeseheads who had hoped for a different outcome against Mr. Benedict.

The first half saw the Packers stumbling once again but with a sprinkling of big plays, things were kept close. Jermichael Finley had his breakout game scoring on a 62-yard pass from Aaron Rodgers and ended the day with 6 catches for 128 yards. Rookie Clay Mathews also had a first-half touchdown after he stripped the ball from Viking running back Adrian Peterson and ran it in for a 45-yard touchdown run.

But the Vikings came into this game ready to play in the Humpty Dump. To his credit, Lord Benedict had a very good game as the Vikings executed their game plan well and they well deserved to win this contest. The Packers concentrated their efforts on stopping Peterson, which they did, but that allowed the Vikings’ receivers to work their West Coast offense passing game effectively, which proved too much for the Packers to overcome. By halftime the Vikings had a 21-14 lead.

The inevitable comparison between B. Favre and Aaron Rodgers had to surface from this game. Favre threw for 24-31, 271 yards with three touchdowns and 0 interceptions, while Rodgers’ numbers were 26-37, 384 yards with 2 touchdowns and 1 interception. But the Packers’ lack of applying quarterback pressure in this game allowed Favre to play as comfortably as if he was hawking his relaxed-fit Wrangler Jeans, while Rodgers was running for his life throughout. Rodgers ended up the night with eight sacks while Benedict was unfortunately afforded zero which begs the question… where was the Packers’ pass rush?

The loss leaves the Pack with a 2 – 2 record as they head into the bye week. Daryn Colledge, probably the Packers’ best offensive linemen, suffered a knee injury in the Viking game adding injury to insult. When the Pack returns to the gridiron against the Detroit Lions in two weeks they will have had some time to heal, but I don’t know that two weeks healing can solve a woeful personnel problem. Having given up a whopping 20 sacks so far this year (by far the most in the NFL), I can’t imagine that there is a worse offensive line in the league right now.

A quarter of the season has transpired and the Packers are now 2 games behind the Vikings in the North Division. There is still much time to salvage a respectable season, but I don’t know how Packer management resolves their horrible miscalculation with their offensive line personnel. Maybe a trade or a call to a couple free agents like Mark Tauscher might be in order?  


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