The Green Bay Packers manhandled the Minnesota Vikings on Military Appreciation Night in Green Bay Monday night, and by a score of 45 – 7 the Packers remain undefeated in their quest to repeat as Super Bowl champions.
Randall Cobb started the fun with an 80-yard touchdown punt return and the rout was on. By halftime the Packers had taken a 17 – 0 lead and Aaron Rodgers and Company had just gotten started doing their thing.
Unlike other games this year, the Packer defense came into this game with an “edge” and played their best game of the season. Charles Woodson was particularly active, harassing and tackling with a vengeance that has been his style throughout his long career. The Packer defense has underperformed thus far this season, but that was not to recur this time against the hapless Vikings on Monday Night Football. Clay Matthews III’s quarterback sack total has been down this year compared to last. But on this night, CM III and his compatriots held Adrian Peterson in check and flustered the Vikings’ rookie quarterback. The Vikings self-imploded with dumb penalties, poor decisions and bad plays. They never presented a serious challenge to the good guys.
The Packer pass protection gave up too many sacks. But, Mike McCarthy and the coaching staff made adjustments and the problem was remedied. For almost the entire game, the Vikings decided to play their “Tampa 2” defense and played safeties WAY back from the line of scrimmage. Rodgers can pick apart the Tampa 2 scheme if he gets protection and that is exactly what he did. On the day Rodgers threw for four touchdowns and continued his incredible play this year. Rodgers and Company are absolutely on fire.
The inept effort by the Vikings drew a stark contrast on where these two franchises are right now. I thought the telling play of the game came in the third quarter on Rodgers’ third touchdown pass to Jordy Nelson. Nelson caught the ball on the 10-yard line and then delivered an overpowering stiff arm to the pathetic Viking cornerback, pushing him over like a Pop Warner second-stringer. It was a thing of beauty for the Nation of Cheese.
There is no doubt that this game was the Packers’ most complete game of the 2011 season. Blowouts are always sweet but when they come against the Vikings, they are special. Woodson, Rodgers and Matthews came through big time and hopefully that will continue next Sunday when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers invade Lambeau.
The Buccaneers aren’t a very good team this year and they were totally dominated last week by the Houston Texans. The Packers have a short week to prepare for the Bucs, but they should be the prohibitive favorite to extend their winning record to 10 – 0. But, these are the kind of trap games that give Cheeseheads gray hair (remember last year’s loss to the lowly Miami Dolphins at Lambeau). However, if the Pack can keep the intensity that they displayed against the soon to be Los Angeles-bound Vikings, there should be another blowout next week.