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Packers win 4th straight with 44-31 defeat of Minnesota

Aaron Rodgers. Photo: Image by Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Packers win 4th straight with 44-31 defeat of Minnesota

By Jay Sorgi. CREATED Oct 27, 2013 - UPDATED: Oct 27, 2013

Here is tonight's Aaron Rodgers photobomb.

Postgame

11:13 p.m.
Some postgame locker room notes:

From the Green Bay Press-Gazette's Wes Hodkiewicz - a startling revelation about James Starks.

And in the "did someone REALLY ask that question" category:

10:38 p.m.
Mike McCarthy exclusively to Larry McCarren.  Here were his comments.

10:31 p.m.
Aaron Rodgers on his postgame convo with Greg Jennings?  He told Michelle Tafoya of NBC "I'm gonna keep that between Greg and I.  Everything's cool."

Oh, and a message sent inadvertently from NBC to Greg Jennings' sister:

10:27 p.m.
What happened during the postgame discussion between Rodgers and Jennings?

Check this out:

4th Quarter

10:23 p.m.  Packers' 4th Drive  1:23
Victory formation time.  For the last time in the Metrodome.

10:16 p.m.  Vikings' 3rd Drive  2:49
Green Bay 44, Minnesota 31
Ponder 19 yard run

Garbage time completions....but 3rd-4, Carlson was overshot.

4th-4 in a miracle last attempt, and Patterson was heled deep over the middle.  Tramon Williams flagged for a useless penalty.  It's garbage time, Tramon.

And they ring the horn for that?  Uh, a little too late, Ragnar.

Ponder runs it in for a 19-yard garbage time TD.  Bad for the statline.  Oh well.

For entertainment: Wayne Larrivee's socks tonight.

10:07 p.m.  Packers' 3rd Drive  4:42
Green Bay 44, Minnesota 24

Crosby 45 yd FG
I love how Johnny Jolly and Mike Daniels are on the Packers hands team.  Larry McCarren says it's about "knocking the snot out of some dudes."

Pooch kick...Vikings get it, but not 10 yards.

"Go Pack Go!" eminates from the Metrodome in its Packers swan song with 4:41 left.  Beautiful.

GREAT catch by Boykin.  "A low tracer on the deep slant from Rodgers."  It had to be a great catch for a completion, but it never would have been intercepted.  Beautiful.

3rd-10 at MIN 28: Lacy does squat.  Not exactly a big worry here.

10:00 p.m.  Vikings' 2nd Drive  6:09
Green Bay 41, Minnesota 24
Gerhart 13 yd TD run

Patterson can break tackles.  Lots of tackles.  LOTS of tackles.  47 yard return.

Simpson with a fast catch, and the Vikings are in two-minute mode, down three scores and three two-point conversions.

Gerhart for 13 yards, after a bunch of Packers fell down like dominoes.

9:50 p.m.  Packers' 2nd Drive  12:45
Green Bay 41, Minnesota 17
Crosby 21 yd FG

3rd-.5 at MIN 45.5: BOYKIN!  Perfect throw from Rodgers, between defenders, and Boykin leaped for the pigskin.  Beautiful.  Textbook.

3rd-1 at MIN 10: Lacy outside again.  Packers are getting their yardage outside.  Tight end blocking down on the defensive end, as Larry McCarren describes, and a pulling guard helping.

1st-goal at MIN 4: Slant to Nelson...nope.  Jefferson's tackle delays the inevitable.

2nd-goal at MIN 1: Henderson stuffed Lacy, with what sounded like a helmet-to-helmet smash on Lacy, but he seems OK.

3rd-goal at MIN 1: Inverted wishbone...bootleg?  Didn't work.  Vikes knew it.

9:43 p.m.  Vikings' 1st Drive  14:14
Lattimore! The defense can now pin its ears back and go after Ponder.

3rd-7 at MIN 21: Ponder throws to Alexandria, Minn. and the boo-birds come from the purple-clad fans.  "It's really too bad, isn't it?" - Larry McCarren

9:39 p.m.  Packers' 1st Drive  continued from 3rd quarter
Green Bay 38, Minnesota 17
Starks 25 yd TD run

DAGGER!  James Starks from 25 yards away.  WOW!  Domination.

3rd Quarter

9:30 p.m.  Packers' 2nd Drive  4:48
Barclay.  Holding  10 yards penalty, but if he didn't hold, it's 3rd-20 instead of 2nd-20.  Just a bad job overall there.

3rd-15 at GB 20: Rodgers scrambled forever....and he underthrew to Boykin on the ground.  GREAT extra effort with no tackler there, and a fantastic job.

WOW!  Starks with an up-the-middle explosion for 11 yards.  Wow.

Repeat the previous play.  Starks getting openings up the middle and some beautiful patience and block-reading.

9:23 p.m.  Vikings' 1st Drive  5:50
Johnny Jolly OWNING Peterson on first down, with Pickett's help.  Linemen destroying double teams, destroying Peterson's running lanes.

3rd-10 at MIN 20: SACK TIME!  Mike Daniels' 2nd sack of the night.  One of the anger management twins doin' the job again.

We profusely apologize. We had the wrong Rodgers photobomb tonight.

9:05 p.m.  Packers' 1st Drive  15:00
Green Bay 31, Minnesota 17
Lacy 1 yd TD run

After that Peterson touchdown, a response to the end zone is incumbent, or we'll REALLY have a ball game.

Packers are having a bit of success running outside with off-tackle plays.  Nine yards.  It worked for Starks, earlier.

Droppsies.  White.  Can't do that in this game, Myles.  Nelson was blocking, too, so it was big time yardage available.

3rd-1 at GB 29: Nelson.  Money.  8-10 on 3rd down.  Slant pattern.  Unguardable.

Lacy with 11 yards up the middle.  Nice.  Sitton owning his guy.

Lacy with a second stutter step on his second straight run and he succinctly stuttered for nine yards.  (OK, enough alliteration.)

3rd-1 at MIN 40: Make that 2nd-16 at GB 45 thanks to Bakhtiari with a face mask.  CANNOT do that.  Must keep your head.

3rd-11 at midfield: Myles White with a nice scoot on a wide receiver screen...but not enough.  Decision time.

4th-3 at MIN 42: PERFECT.  Nelson.  It is stealing.

Respect.

3rd-2 at MIN 26: Rodgers does the job himself, and safely evades contact after 14 yards.  A point to the Minnesota defender.  Swagger.

Lacy pitching outside more, and the Bama Bowling Ball is breaking purple tackle after purple tackle.  Lather it up.  Lather it up.

3rd-2 at MIN 4: Rodgers shows some bowlingball-esque power (with help).  No TD, but a first down.

1st-goal at MIN .5: Lacy up the middle...yep! 

2nd Quarter

8:51 p.m.  Packers' 4th Drive  :00
Franklin nearly went back and forth at the goal line on the kickoff return.  Oops.

8:43 p.m.  Vikings' 3rd Drive  1:30
Green Bay 24, Minnesota 17
Peterson 8 yd TD run

Davon House holds Patterson at the 23 yard line.  If he doesn't he's running to North Dakota.

SACK TIME!  Daniels, the anger management twin getting there!

3rd-3 at MIN 30: Ponder to Peterson.  Simple dump off for a first down.  :38...time out.  Vikings HAVE to get a score here because the Packers get the ball to start the second half.

Great catch by Patterson at the 50.  Leaping near the sidelines in between three defenders.

Jennings' first catch of the night...nine yard gain at the 40.

3rd-1 at GB 40: Jennings misses the bomb from Ponder, but the ref throws the flag super, super, super late.  Way overthrown, barely a touch to Jennings' back from Tramon Williams, but it keeps the drive alive.

"As ticky tacky as you can get." - Larry McCarren

:15 left, Peterson out of bounds after seven yards on the outside.

:10 left, Peterson up the middle...and an extra effort makes it a ball game again.

8:40 p.m.  Packers' 3rd Drive  1:45
Green Bay 24, Minnesota 10
Hyde 93 yd punt return TD

HYDE!  93 yards with beautiful blocking!

"Who says Micah Hyde isn't fast?" - Larry McCarren

8:34 p.m.  Vikings' 2nd Drive  3:38
Rudolph is finding seams in zones to get open for mid-level receptions.  14 yards.

Pickett owns Peterson up the middle.  No gain. 

3rd-8 at MIN 36: 1-3 on 3rd down, make that 1-4 after Ponder was forced to scramble and didn't get enough.

8:29 p.m.  Packers' 2nd Drive  5:09
Green Bay 17, Minnesota 10
Rodgers-Nelson 76 yd TD pass

More Vikings domination in the front line against Lacy.  Henderson destroyed Evan Dietrich-Smith.

Packers smart to use Lacy in the passing game, to get him in space for six yards.  Extra power after a tackle attempt equals four more yards.

3rd-6 at GB 24: Nelson!  SEE YA!  Slant pattern, broken tackle, see ya!

Packers outgaining Vikings 219-78. 8:16 time of possession lead. That's how you overcome KO return.

8:12 p.m.  Vikings' 1st Drive  10:29
Green Bay 10, Minnesota 10
Walsh 36 yd FG

As said by 620WTMJ's Doug Russell:

Well, that could happen, but some work to do.

Peterson off to the races for 15 yards, thanks to a hold by Loadholt. 

By the way, Jennings has been simply running wild, wide open in the secondary, but Ponder not seeing him.

3rd-6 at MIN 47: Ponder misses Rudolph with some fantastic coverage...but Loadholt pushed down by Datone Jones' late malfeasance.  Keep your head, rookie.

Ponder and Jennings not on the same page.  Jennings stepped up to run a pattern and Ponder simply threw behind him.  Oops.

3rd-10 at GB 38: Rudolph with a Pro Bowl-level catch over Jennings.  Credit Ponder for staying in the pocket with a heck of a rush coming, even with a back-pedaling wounded duck of a throw.  Great plays against good defense.

Peterson with a spin move, about three broken tackles, for three yards. 

3rd-5 at GB 16: Near pick!  Tramon broke beautifully in front of Simpson and could have gone to the house with one more step on the ball.

7:59 p.m.  Packers' 1st Drive  continued from 1st quarter
Green Bay 10, Minnesota 7
Crosby 30 yd FG

3rd-3 at MIN 49: It will be 7-7 on 3rd down, thanks to Kevin Williams' jumping beans.

Starks this time with a heck of an off-tackle sprint for seven yards.  Better effectiveness than Lacy so far.

3rd-1 at MIN 35: The "big dog" formation."  Inverted wishbone and Lacy gets his clock cleaned behind the line.  End the streak.

4th-1.5 at MIN 35.5: Passing time...play action.  It worked.  Kuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuhn.  Minnesota thought about the run.

LACY!  There's some productivity.  The Bama Bowling Ball bursts, thanks to huge blocking up the middle.

28-5 play advantage.  Wow.

3rd-9 at MIN 10: A scramble from Rodgers...and it's not enough to avoid Greenway and Griffin.  Coverage sack.  The effect of no Cobb/Jones?

Random observation of the night:

1st Quarter

7:54 p.m.  Packers' 2nd Drive  3:53
Lacy with one yard on six carries entering this drive.  Make that eight yards on seven carries.  Sitton/Dietrich-Smith with a good combo block, per Larry McCarren's keen eyes for offensive line.

3rd-3 at GB 25: Nelson.  Simple hook pattern.  Seven yards.  Stealing, even against Vikings' best cover corner.

3rd-3 at GB 39: Quarless reaches on a short pattern for a first down. 

Toss play to the left to Lacy.  Quarless owned Jared Allen...something you rarely see.  Five yards.

7:46 p.m.  Vikings' 2nd Drive  7:23
This time, Patterson is shoved back from the 12 yard line.  Stoneburner won't let him go a million yards.

Peterson finished his six-yard run with two yards coming in a collision with Morgan Burnett.  No. 42 paid for that tackle.

A.J. Hawk!  Way to read the Vikings' O-line, get a free run up to Peterson and dump him for no gain.

But you need to credit the Packers' D-line for owning the Minnesota blockers.

3rd-10 at MIN 24: Patterson on a wide receiver screen, one broken tackle, but not two.  Nine yards when they needed 10.

"We haven't tackled real sharp." - Larry McCarren

7:33 p.m.  Packers' 1st Drive  14:41
Green Bay 7, Minnesota 7
Rodgers-Nelson 11 yd TD pass

Franklin tried to run it back from nine yards back...and he got about 90 yards too short compared to Patterson.  Ugh.

Lacy on two runs...three yards.  The Vikings do know how to stop the run when they want to.

3rd-7 at GB 13: Boykin the savior, with a diving catch along the sidelines.  Momentum switch is key.

Wow.  Vikings REALLY bringing it in run defense.  Loss of five.  Barclay destroyed on 1st down.

Flaggage on 2nd down, with Rhodes interfereing with Boykin.  Never mind that Rodgers threw it 10 yards short.

Boykin again!  This time in the seam of the Minnesota middle zone.  Basically the Packers doing what teams have done to them all season.

3rd-1 at MIN 37: Lacy.  Barely.  Vikings are really focusing on the run.  Play action opportunities?

Myles White's first catch...diving catch on a quick out for five yards.  Vikings running a deeper zone to the left side.

3rd-5 at MIN 31: Rodgers with a houdini act in the backfield and he rolled for 12 yards in the end.  Yes, a Vikings tackler hit him low, but he had to in order to tackle him.  Not dirty.

Yes, Bakhtiari got away with a block in the back, pancaking Jared Allen on a pass play.  The refs will hear about that.

3rd-2 at MIN 11: Rodgers...end zone...NELSON!  Perfect coverage, but a more perfect throw. Touche, Vikings.

And with Christian Ponder coming up (barring another kickoff return):

7:30 p.m.  Vikings' 1st Drive  15:00 left in 1st quarter
Minnesota 7, Green Bay 0
Patterson 109 yard kickoff return

Patterson with the kickoff return...uh oh....109 yards.  That is not how you start things.

Said an injured Packer:

Oh, is he right.

Pregame updates

7:25 p.m.
Packers with Johnny Jolly as co-captain win the toss, will defer smartly to second half.

Greg Jennings, of course, is a captain for the Vikings.

Those Vikings are clad in the purple "leotard look," as Wayne Larrivee would call it.

What he did call it: "An ugly, ugly look."

7:22 p.m.
The Vikings horn is sounding, and the Minnesota crowd is letting the Packers hear it.

7:04 p.m.
In case you missed it, part of Aaron Rodgers' conversation with Bob Costas on "Football Night in America."

On Greg Jennings with the Vikings and the summer-long commentary he made toward Rodgers:
"I don't think about those kind of things.  They don't bother me."

On the discount "daaaaaaaaable-check" commercials with the Chicago Bears "Superfans":
"We had a blast doing that.  It was fun working with those two guys.  I really enjoyed it.  I still got some slobber...but it was fun."

On whetehr the cheesehead-wearing "Rodgers!  Discount Double Check!" guy in the commercials and whether he really follows Rodgers:
"No.  He has been to Lambeau, and he was a big hit when he was there."

6:56 p.m.
More from Mike McCarthy exclusively on the Vikings.

On how both teams' superstars, particularly Aaron Rodgers and Adrian Peterson, bring it big time in this rivalry:
"You can throw Jared Allen in there, too.  That's what these games are about.  Big-time players make big plays in big games.  I'm confident our big-time players will make more plays than their guys."

On Greg Jennings' adjustment to the Vikings:
"Trying to get comfortable.  When you've played with three different quarterbacks, it's different.  It's important for guys to get game timing.  Greg looks like he always has, but he's played with three different quarterbacks."

On Christian Ponder:
"Athletic.  They'll definitely enhance their QB movement package.  You look at the games he's played against us in the past, about 20 boots and 'keeps.' "

On the Vikings' special teams' strength:
"Special teams will be huge in this game.  Their returners have been extremely productive.  Ball placement and our coverage unit...a big challenge for them today."

6:49 p.m.
Mike McCarthy to Wayne Larrivee exclusively on 620WTMJ.

When asked about whether he'll miss tonight's site, the Metrodome:
"I'm focused on winning here tonight."

On handling the noise in the Metrodome:
"It comes down to communication...when you get in these types of situation, you have to be able to ovecome it...communication is vital.  The emphasis...putting the time in."

On how important the rivalry really is to the players:
"The players and coaches really feel the rivalry, but particularly the players, they're the ones competing.  To get involved in the outward emotion of it is non-beneficial. We're fully aware of how they feel about us, how we feel about them...we've got to play emotionally disciplined."

On Jermichael Finley and how he's feeling after his reported spinal injury:
"He's getting better.  It's great to have him at work the last two days.  Testing still going on.  I don't really have a timetable.  Hopefully next week we'll all get in a room and see what we're going to do."

On James Starks' role tonight:
"I'd like to get James involved.  Eddie Lacy will have another start."

6:18 p.m.
The Packers have announced the Vikings' inactives:
- RB Matt Asiata
- G Jeff Baca
- DT Chase Baker
- FB Rhett Ellison
- QB Josh Freeman
- CB Shaun Prater
- WR Rodney Smith

6:10 p.m.
After Brett Favre was approached by the St. Louis Rams about coming back (turning it down), our Mark Tauscher was asked on 620WTMJ's Green Bay Packers Radio Network about whether his old teammate could start in the NFL:

"Yes...I don't think Favre can play for a full season, but if you have to call a guy in for one game...why not?  I don't think he's ever going to do it."

Our Jeff Falconio disagreed.  "Are you in game condition?  Can you take the hits?  I just don't see how."

6:09 p.m.
"Being able to be on the side of him...it's a blessing for me because it's a guy I can look up to." - Eddie Lacy on NBC's "Football Night in America."

5:59 p.m.
The Packers say there'll be no Nick Perry or James Jones for tonight's game.  Full inactives:
- TE Jermichael Finley
- WR James Jones
- LB Clay Matthews
- CB James Nixon
- LB Nick Perry
- LB Brad Jones
- TE Ryan Taylor

This means CB Casey Hayward and RB James Starks ARE active.

5:53 p.m.
Packers president Mark Murphy on the Metrodome:

"Probably the loudest place.  I actually played here.  I'm not going to miss it.  It's a dump.  It was a dump in 1984.  They should replace it.  Probably, they are."

On the possibility that Packers fans will compete well in the noise battle with the Vikings:

"It would be great...that really means a lot to our team.  What I want to see at the end of our game is all the Packers fans in the lower section coming down around the field, chanting 'Go Pack Go.' "

5:48 p.m.
We've got the story of a Los Angeles actress, a devout Packers fan, who was big-time overwhelmed by the experience of her first game at Lambeau Field.

Watch.

5:31 p.m.
We're finding out more of what Aaron Rodgers and Greg Jennings both said to Bob Costas for tonight's Football Night in America on TODAY'S TMJ4 and NBC26.

Some quotes released by NBC:

“I would like to be perfect, but more than anything I don’t want to turn the ball over. I want to end each drive with a kick.” – Aaron Rodgers

“When it came to Aaron, I was jabbing at him. With me calling him No. 12, and not calling him Aaron Rodgers, it went too far.” – Greg Jennings

5:02 p.m.
This is an amazing story...from behind a prison cell to being a team captain for the Green Bay Packers.

4:18 p.m.
Do you think Mason Crosby is looking back to all those wonderful Metrodome memories as he stands on the Viking horn at midfield?

12:56 p.m.
It appears as if the doubtful status of wide receiver James Jones with his injury is very doubtful.

Per FOX's Jay Glazer:

Pregame Story

Today, the Packers get the grudge match that's been building since No. 85 left town.

They get the last opportunity to ever play in the stadium that's been called everything from the H.H.H. Metrodome, to Mall of America Field, to the Humpty Dump.

Most importantly, they get their chance to win a fourth straight game and bring even more bragging rights to a longtime NFC North rivalry.

The Green Bay Packers come into this matchup tonight with the Minnesota Vikings after a week of more than just average concerns.  

They've had the livelihood and the well being of a teammate on their mind.

That's on top of all the injury issues that persist, but which may be seeming to abate themselves with the possible return of Nick Perry (questionable, foot) and Brad Jones (questionable, hamstring), along with probable returns by James Starks (knee) and defensive backs Casey Hayward and Jarrett Bush (both hamstring).

But no matter what, it seems that Mike McCarthy has successfully kept the ship righted and on course through this incredible series of early-season twists and turns.

So Green Bay goes for its 4th straight win, attempting to cement their first place standing in the NFC North against the "purple people."

But remember, we don't loathe all things purple...especially if they remind us of greater causes.

Keep your loyalty, just like this kid from Wisconsin has to extremes.

And when it's over, be nice to those people in Vikings purple.