In a fabulously entertaining game that went right down to the wire, the Green Bay Packers came up with a classic win over the Minnesota Vikings by a score of 28 – 24 in front of a raucous Lambeau crowd. Likely to be Benedict Favre’s last game in Titletown, Cheeseheads were rewarded with sweet payback for the wounds inflicted by two losses to the Vikings last year.
Aaron Rodgers and Company came out firing, picking on a Viking rookie cornerback and rolling up 200 yards of offense in the first quarter. Rodgers threw a laser touchdown to Andrew Quarless in the second quarter but the Vikings charged right back with their potent combination of Adrian Peterson and Percy Harvin. The score favored the Vikings 17 - 14 at halftime.
The third quarter turned out to be pivotal in this game when the hit Brad Jones inflicted on Benedict caused a bad throw which turned into an interception by A.J Hawk. Favre suffered an injury to his ankle on that play and the interception led to a touchdown pass to Greg Jennings which put the Packers up 21 – 17. A horrible throw by Favre on the ensuing series was intercepted and run back for a touchdown by Desmond Bishop, which turned out to be the difference in the game. The Vikings came back with a touchdown though, setting the stage for a dramatic finish.
The battle went back and forth but in the end no points were scored in the fourth quarter and the Packer defense held off a last minute insurgence. Kudos to Hawk, who is playing at a career-high level, and the newcomers playing on the Packer defensive line, Jarius Wynn and C. J. Wilson. Both Wynn and Wilson were unexpected participants as the starting defensive ends were scratched at the onset of the game due to (what else) injuries. Wilson really came through at the end of the game.
Nick Collins also came up with a brilliant interception late in the game. Three interceptions on the road turned out to be old Benedict’s Waterloo. For diehard Cheeseheads, there seemed to be a poetic justice in the way this game played out. Many believe Favre should have retired as a Packer after the 2007 season.
The win is not only a huge psychological and character win for the Packers, but it propels them to a 4 – 3 record and a tie with the struggling Chicago Bears for the lead in the North Central division.
The Packers have a very tough opponent next week traveling to the Big Apple to face the New York Jets who are coming off their bye week. The Jets have a very complete football team with a solid defense, offense, and special teams. Many pundits have predicted them to be Super Bowl participants this year and they are off to a nice 5 – 1 start. The Packers will have to be at the top of their game to pull off a victory. Cheeseheads hope that confidence from putting a fork in Benedict Favre will carry over to next week.