Packers tied for NFC North lead after 23-14 win over Vikings
Photo: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Next game: Sunday, December 9th vs. Detroit
Packers Gameday at 5:00 p.m. on Newsradio 620 WTMJ, TODAY'S TMJ4 in Milwaukee and NBC26 in Green Bay
Packers Twitterverse update:
Donald Driver. "Tough Win! Back on top! Packer Fans I love u! "
Morgan Burnett on Newsradio 620 WTMJ's "Packers OT":
"Anytime you can erase points off the board for another team and steal a possession for your offense, that's real big."
He did that twice in this victory.
The Green Bay Packers are tied for the division lead after the Seahawks produced a 23-17 win in overtime over Chicago.
Or is it? While getting his clock cleaned, Sidney Rice may have either been behind the goal line, and he may have actually fumbled the ball.
Nope. TD. Knotted NFC North.
McCarthy to McCarren:
About bouncing back from Giants loss to win despite injuries to Lang, Nelson:
"Lost two key starters on offense...hopefully those two guys can bounce back. Our guys just kept playing. I thought our guys did a really good job of staying the course."
2:56 p.m. Vikings' 2nd Drive :43
And the Packers are going to be tied with the Bears, with a tiebreaker lead on Chicago, after - yes - a Russell Wilson to Golden Tate touchdown pass.
That's it. Packers are tied for division lead...well, maybe not yet. Gould just went 45 yards to tie it with Seattle. Wow.
2:50 p.m. Packers' 2nd Drive 2:00
Tick. Tock. Running time. Time out. Repeat. Repeat again. Punt. No major danger, barring any insane defensive failures.
2:41 p.m. Vikings' 1st Drive 4:00
Tramon Williams had incredible coverage downfield on a bomb. What? Not one catch by a WR for Minnesota?
3rd-7 at MINN 20: Rudolph downfield. Saving Ponder's life as Brad Jones was about to destroy him.
No-huddle time and House breaks up Jenkins.
It's dink and dump time for the Vikings as they hit Peterson for a first down.
Simpson. First catch for a wideout today for a Viking. Now in field goal range, which means any sort of score will probably lead to an onside kick.
3rd-3 at MIN 24: Underthrown pass to Burton, with House covering. Do you kick with 2:01, if you're Minnesota? You have to.
They do. And it's wide right. DAGGER!
2:22 p.m. Packers' 1st Drive 15:00
Green Bay 23, Minnesota 14
Crosby 31 yd FG
Starks gets great holes up the middle. BIG holes. First down. This offensive line group does know how to block the run.
Kuhn. You don't deserve more vowels on the hold with the next play.
3rd-8 at GB 28: Juggle...and catch...Jennings! But is it a first down? Judgment call. But it WAS a catch.
Turn your body to the south end zone, point, and extend your arm....FIRST DAAAAAAAAAHN! (What ref used to do that back in the 90's?)
3rd-3 at GB 44: Rodgers pressured...and rolls himself to another conversaion. The guy has been on the run most of today, but just enough for a first down.
3rd-5 at MIN 48: Finley! Two broken tackles and an impersonation of Ed "Tool Box" West gets him a first down. Maybe more Ron Kramer "runaway beer truck" style.
And you can give up a couple yards after Jared Allen finally gets to Rodgers. Great move by Allen to beat Newhouse...finally.
3rd-13 at MIN 44: Rodgers downfield and Cobb, the playmaker, makes another HUGE play! Rodgers on the run, in between two defenders! 33 yards. MVP's make that play. Rodgers. AND Cobb.
Cobb pointed up twice to let Rodgers know he was open.
1st-goal at MIN 10: Starks right...naaaaaaaathin.
2nd-goal at MIN 9: ARod rolling...flaggage...and Allen tossed him out of bounds late, but holding is the call. Barclay. Allen started the tackle inbounds, so there won't be a flag there.
3rd-goal at MIN 11, already 10 minutes on this drive: make it 3rd-goal at 16. Flaggage.
Rodgers running to Kuhn. That's not "Kuhn" you hear. That's "boo."
HUGE field goal if he gets it.
2:13 p.m. Vikings' 4th Drive 2:12
Ponder deep for Peterson trying to run deep out of the backfield, and Peterson had Jones beat, but the throw was wayyyyyyyyyyyy too short.
3rd-4 at MIN 25: Ponder with quick speed escaping the rush and another first down. Wayne: "Not impressive as a passer," but he can beat you with his feet.
Uh oh. Peterson. Again. Broken tackle. 23 yard run. Raji thinks he was held. Probably was, but it's not going to get called.
Deep bomb by Ponder, and Tramon Williams gets flagged for a high hit on a defenseless receiver. Sadly, it was legit. Helmet to helmet.
PICK! Burnett! The 2nd time this quarter! Saving the Packers' hydes again. Player of the game so far.
2:08 p.m. Packers' 3rd Drive 4:05
Green Bay 20, Minnesota 14
Starks 22 yd TD run
Crabtree's blocking on the right edge freed Green up for 11 power yards to start the drive.
Rodgers-Jennings for 11 yards and a great first down. More scrambling from Rodgers helping to get a receiver open.
Starks! Right end! 22 yards! Looked like the old sweep!
2:04 p.m. Vikings' 3rd Drive 5:51
Peterson outside. Dangerous words, but Hawk and Jones did the job with Hayward to limit him to three yards.
3rd-1 at MIN 15: Peterson STOPPED! Mike Daniels at left D-end. He owned the tight end.
2:02 p.m. Packers' 2nd Drive 6:55
Green. Six yards. Credit Barclay with a darn good block as Green made the turn. Got away with a hold, too.
Flea flicker...Cobb. Rodgers. Picked. Double coverage. Only receiver downfield, so it was either that or get sacked. The equivalent of a punt.
1:56 p.m. Vikings' 2nd Drive 7:47
Hayward with "textbook work," as described by Larrivee, stopping a throw outside on 1st down.
Wow! Peterson stopped by Burnett, thanks to Raji stuffing Phil Loadholt, described by Larry McCarren as "3,000,000" lbs.
3rd-10 at MIN 20: Ponder...deep...off the mark to Simpson. Another key three-and-out.
1:43 p.m. Packers' 1st Drive 13:51
Minnesota 14, Green Bay 13
Crosby 47 yd FG
A 60 yard job of scrambling by Rodgers nets one yard. Larry McCarren: "Nothing cooking downfield." Packers not getting anything deep.
3rd-9 at GB 21: Finley! Big play to the 43. Rodgers' first big play in the passing game today since the first touchdown.
3rd-3 at GB 49: Rodgers to Kuhn. First down territory. That deserves a Kuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuhn. All that for six yards, but this offense needs any momentum they can get.
Flaggage. Holding. Dietrich-Smith. Hope, TV watchers, that you can't read lips, especially if you have kids in the house.
HUGE CATCH! Jennings. 35 yard line. First down. Way to get the injured one back in the flow.
3rd-7 at MINN 29, and with Crosby's mental state, they've gotta punch it in.
Rodgers to the end zone...and too much on the throw as he went for Boykin. Pins and needles as Crosby comes in...or will they?
4th-7 at MINN 29: And after a timeout, the Packers decide to go with Crosby.
1:39 p.m. Vikings' 1st Drive 15:00 left in quarter
Crosby kick goes out of end zone. 40 yard line. Tryouts, anyone?
Peterson. Another tackle-breaking long run. Larry: "This is ugly." To the 10 yard line. 50 yards.
Ponder on 2nd down - PHEW! HUGE pick by Burnett. That changes momentum. Big time momentum change.
1:17 p.m. Packers' 4th Drive 1:56
Cobb catches at the 15, runs about 25 yards, and lost about five yards. Add an illegal block in the back, and it will be about a 95-yard drive to the end zone.
Short throw to Crabtree starts the attempt at a miracle march, but the Packers aren't trying to hurry up the offense.
3rd-4.5 at GB 9: Rodgers scrambles and finds Finley for a first down. Now, do they get into two-minute mode, 50 yards from a realistic field goal attempt? Yes. They stop the clock.
ARod, short to Jones, and the yardage doesn't merit the call of a time out. 32 seconds left in the first half.
Finally, a somewhat big play: 15 yards over the middle to Cobb. Still, they've used up their time outs.
:24 left: Rodgers to Kuhn. Smart. Out of bounds at the 50. Easy throw, and got enough yards for Hail Mary territory.
:18 left: Rodgers to Finley over the middle...tick...tock...tick...tock...and they get the football downed at the 40 yard line. I think a Vikings lineman was also offsides.
Field goal range for Crosby...but never a gimme. It wasn't. Missed right.
1:13 p.m. Vikings' 4th Drive 2:58
3rd-5 at MIN 34: Ponder misses Simpson. Phew. The Packers will need more of these three-and-outs because I have a feeling the Vikings' front four might own this injury-decimated Packers O-line.
1:06 p.m. Packers' 3rd Drive 5:08
Champions respond to haymakers with even bigger ones. Packers should here.
3rd-4 at MIN 26: Pressure comes, flaggage, and Rodgers...ugh...fumbles. Jared Allen takes it. Horrible.
Thankfully, two fouls. Personal foul, roughing the passer saves the Packers, so replay the down. Phew.
3rd-4 at MIN 26, v.2: make that 3rd-9 at MIN 21 thanks to a false start on Finley.
Now, T.J. Lang out. One healthy lineman on bench: Van Roten.
Rodgers houdini's and again pulls off a miracle, with a great throw to Kuhn. But the refs say no first down after the ball touched the imaginary yellow line. Packers ask for a measurement. And it's a link short.
WAIT! That might be challenge-able. Really bad spot. But McCarthy doesn't challenge. Ugh.
1:03 p.m. Vikings' 3rd Drive 6:36
Minnesota 14, Green Bay 10
Peterson 82 yd TD run
Ponder is quick. He scrambled for nine yards because he saw a hole while running for his life and sprinting.
Gang tackle! Peterson...no gain. Those words are rarely found in the English language together. Credit Hawk.
3rd-1 at MIN 18: Peterson. Right end. Uh oh. 82 yards? Ugh. Two broken tackles.
12:55 p.m. Packers' 2nd Drive 9:08
Early flaggage on 2nd-12 and Rodgers had his third free play of the day. An incompletion...and two fouls on the D. Offsides declined. Pass interference accepted.
3rd-2 at MIN 47: Rodgers houdini'd out of a sack, but took a chance downfield and didn't get the first down. Rodgers might have run for the first down.
12:50 p.m. Vikings' 2nd Drive 10:45
54 yards from the lead, the Vikings...wait a minute...it's a 10 yard penalty from the point where their returner caught the ball. 21 yard line. Much better.
3rd-4 at MIN 25: Ponder has forever and finds Aromashidu, but House knocked the ball away from the guy with the last name that sounds like a green tea flavor.
12:44 p.m. Packers' 1st Drive 12:18
Jennings makes his first catch after his injury. Simple quick out for nine yards.
Kuhn. Fail on 3rd-1. Jared Allen gets credit for stopping the drive, beating Finley.
12:38 p.m. Vikings' 1st Drive (continued from 1st quarter)
Green Bay 10, Minnesota 7
Ponder-Rudolph 7 yd TD pass
Ponder can scramble when he has to. 6.5 yards and a 3rd and super short.
"Who would you give it to?" - McCarren.
Packers know it. They swarm Peterson. Not enough. First down.
Huge hole for Peterson. Those four words can be a stake in the heart of a defense. Nine yards. Seven yards from paydirt.
Ponder. Rudolph. Wide open. A better throw and it's a touchdown. But it was a first down.
1st-goal at GB 2: Ponder drops the ball before the handoff, but falls on it to keep possession. Could be a four-point mistake.
Play action. Rudolph. Money.
12:29 p.m. Vikings' 2nd Drive 4:07
Injury update: Jordy Nelson out with a hamstring issue. Return questionable.
3rd-2 at MIN 38: Peterson. Like there was a question? Eight yards on the gain.
And Peterson's running allows for play action passes that can become easy first downs, like Rudolph's seven-yarder.
Rudolph is money. One handed catch with A.J. Hawk all over him. Just quality plays.
Fantastic open field tackle by Williams saves the Packers from much worse than a three yard run by Peterson.
12:18 p.m. Packers' 2nd Drive 10:03
Green Bay 10, Minnesota 0
Crosby 30 yd FG
Saturday. Sitton. Lang. Helping Starks push the pile for a first down. There's the running game they need.
Screen. NIne yards with Starks. More importantly, it's cutting down the pass rush and helping to give Rodgers time. Scheme can help there, not just personnel and performance.
3rd-1 at MIN 42: Crabtree. Easy play action. Three yards became 15.
Shovel! Cobb. But it doesn't do much. Ballard ate it. Two yard loss.
3rd-12 at MIN 29: Flaggage, which makes the Vikings' sack not so problematic.
3rd-7 at MIN 24: Nelson gets first down yardage insde the 14 yard line. Easy square out. Perfect throw outside. Uncoverable when thrown well.
JONES AGAIN! Play action and Jones was wide open. He then extended the ball to the pylon...uh, well, never mind. Holding. Sitton. Push back the Lambeau Leap for another play.
3rd-8 at MIN 12: Rodgers. Nope. Griffen hit him just after the throw, but pressured the throw into an incompletion.
Field goal. Crosby, Now, not a gimme....BONG! (The sound of a football off an upright.) But it went through.)
12:11 p.m. Vikings' 1st Drive 11:26
Adrian Peterson, meet B.J. Raji. Stood up, stuffed for two yards. (Don't expect that too often today.)
3rd-5 at MIN 25: Three and out. Burnett reached past Rudolph and stuck a mitt out enough to force the incompletion.
12:02 p.m. Packers' 1st Drive 15:00 left in 1st quarter
Green Bay 7, Minnesota 0
Rodgers-Jones 32 yd TD pass
The first throw from Rodgers on his birthday is a shortie to Finley. Four yard gain. Finley's frustrated that it's just four yards, slapping his hands in disgust.
3rd-3 at GB 32: Free play. Nelson...deep....nope. Overshot him, but it's a first down anyway. Can't hurt to take a shot.
Rodgers has to run after being hcased following a play action fake. Rodgers got seven yards and safety...but downfield, nothin' open. After the play, Rodgers and Greenway give each other a love-tap head butt of respect.
Sweep. Nine yards. Green. No Fuzzy and Jerry pulling that time, but enough of a seal to get him good yardage.
Cobb tackled violently for a first down...looked like a face mask, and it was. NO call.
Rodgers is throwing lots of short tosses to diffuse the rush. Except the bomb to Nelson on the free play, he's been throwing all short.
Here's some bombage! JONES! Fantastic catch! Leaped over Jefferson, behind him, but no visible malfeasance.
Minnesota wins the toss, and will defer.
Mike McCarthy with Wayne Larrivee:
On facing Minnesota in a December game at home:
"This is a great day for football. It's awesome to be here at Lambeau Field, division game, Minnesota Vikings, that's what it's all about."
On how the loss to the GIants is motivating his team:
"Anytime you have an opportunity to take a shot like we did, it's an opportunity to learn and grow." (Then, paraphrasing a letter in the Bible from Paul to the Corinthians:) " 'A time of weakness is an opportunity to gain strength.' "
Yes, he quoted the New Testament...or at least paraphrased it.
On Greg Jennings' role today:
"We're gonna start Greg in some situational things."
On a happier note, Happy Birthday, Aaron Rodgers!
It sounds trite and cliche-ic to say that the ultimate gift today would be a Packers win...but I think he'd agree.
Thoughts and prayers go two NFL franchises this morning: the Chiefs and, now, the Cleveland Browns, and both surround similar issues.
We all know about Jovan Belcher's murder-suicide, which is horrible enough. But now, Jay Glazer of FOX Sports reports that a Browns employee took his own life by hanging at the team facility's equipment shed on Saturday.
Please, from someone who has had loved ones suffer from depression, respect your own life and respect others' lives, and if you are troubled, seek out help, seek out the love you need to move past these issues.
The big inactive for today: no Donald Driver at wide receiver. Then again, it's not like he's a major player with the emergence of other wide receivers.
The Packers are set to wake up this morning on a day facing unseasonably warm December weather to start an enticingly unbalanced December schedule: five games, four against divisional opponents.
That first divisional opponent comes today in the Minnesota Vikings.
The Packers will play without linebacker Clay Matthews, but seemingly with Greg Jennings back in the lineup at wide receiver to help a moribund Packers offense that put up just 10 points against the Giants in their worst loss in five years.
Even with just looking at the standings, McCarthy is absolutely right.
If the Packers win today, they solidify their lead in the NFC wildcard chase and continue to own their destiny in the battle for the division title.
Lose, and the Packers may be on the outside looking in to the wildcard chase, as they'll be a tiebreaker behind both the Vikings and Seattle Seahawks.
(Yes, I know, the Seahawks have no business being in that position, but we won't go there - unless you really want to click on this to go there.)
Then, of course, comes the remainder of the December gauntlet:
- Sun. Dec. 9 vs. Detroit
- Sun. Dec. 16 at Chicago
- Sun. Dec. 23 vs. Tennessee (the only non-NFC North game)
- Sun. Dec. 30 at Minnesota
Win them all, and you win the NFC North.
Lose one or two, and get the playoff life support machines running.
Commenceth the gauntlet. Stay tuned.