It was their worst performance this season but at the end of the day, the Green Bay Packers prevailed over the Minnesota Vikings by a score of 33 – 27. The 100th meeting between these teams turned out to be closer than the 9 and a half point spread the oddsmakers bestowed on the Packers, but playing in the noisy Humpty Dump is never an easy thing for the Green and Gold. The Vikings actually put a Halloween scare into Cheeseheads, but it all worked out.
Things got off to an inauspicious start as the Packers committed a pass coverage error which led to a long pass reception and an early Viking touchdown. Aaron Rodgers and Company responded with an impressive drive and the score was soon tied at 7 - 7. A costly fumble by rookie Randall Cobb led to a 14 – 7 Viking advantage and another miscue by Cobb on a dropped pass in the red zone had Cheeseheads wondering if this could be the upset of all upsets.
Down 17 – 13 starting the second half, Aaron Rodgers lit up the scoreboard with two touchdown passes in the third quarter. Mason Crosby also hit a couple field goals, one of which set an all-time Packer record of 58 yards, and the Packers soon had 20 unanswered points. Rodgers is having an incredible season. On this day he picked apart the Viking secondary for over 300 yards and three touchdown passes. His gift to throw accurate passes either from the pocket or on the run, and the talented Packer receiving corps are the main reasons why the Packers remain undefeated this year.
The Packer defense played a sloppy game, allowing Adrian Peterson way too many yards rushing. Viking rookie quarterback Christian Ponder played pretty well but threw two costly interceptions to Charles Woodson. Woodson has been doing his thing with reading and jumping routes for so many years that for this to happen to a rookie quarterback starting his first NFL game was expected.
To the Vikings credit, they came back in the fourth quarter and made things interesting. However, in the final three minutes the Packers took control of the game when the right side of their offensive line just blew open holes for running back James Starks to scoot through. Viking defensive end Brian Robison was pathetic in the clutch against Starks’ last minute runs as the Packers salted away this game. Robison is a dirty player. Watching him get trampled at crunch time was sweet payback. He earlier maliciously kicked Packer guard TJ Lang in the groin and should have been ejected from the game.
Next week is bye week and there are a number of Packer players who need to get healed up. One guy that I am hopeful can get back on the field in two weeks when the Packers travel to San Diego to play the Chargers is Mike Neal. Neal has enormous potential and his presence on the field is needed to seal up the deficiencies in the Packer defense.
The Packers have won 13 games in a row. That should put everything into perspective. A bye week to heal the wounds is perfect.