Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) pumps his fist as
he walks off the field after the Packers defeated Minnesota
Vikings 44-31in an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013,
Aaron Rodgers smiled as he answered the question.
Yes, he said,
Green Bay's running game has exceeded his expectations.
With the Packers
powerfully moving the ball on the ground, the absence of three
primary receivers hasn't affected Rodgers one bit.
injuries around him, Rodgers picked apart what's left of
Minnesota's depleted defense by throwing two first-half touchdown
passes to Jordy Nelson and guiding the Packers to a 44-31 victory
on Sunday night.
going to let this team beat us. I wanted to make sure that I put
our team in a position to be successful here. A lot was on my
shoulders," said Rodgers, who completed 24 of 29 passes for
285 yards to help the Packers (5-2) stay in first place in the NFC
North despite injuries to Randall Cobb, James Jones and Jermichael
The Packers were
still missing Clay Matthews and two other starting linebackers on
the other side of the ball, too, but the Vikings (1-6) were
stagnant until some meaningless movement at the end made the final
score look a little better.
play well enough for this offense to stay on the field," said
Ponder, who didn't have any turnovers but finished a pedestrian 14
for 21 for 145 yards, plus a late touchdown run as the third
different starting quarterback for this team in three weeks.
gained a quiet 60 yards on 13 carries, and the Vikings held the
ball for a mere 19 minutes and 6 seconds: less than one-third of
the game. The Packers ran 30 more plays than they did: 73 to 43.
course, had a lot to do with that by finding Nelson, Jarrett
Boykin and Myles White open when he could. But Eddie Lacy, James
Starks and the offensive line overtook the game in the second
half. Lacy and Starks each had a touchdown run, and the Packers
matched their season high with 182 yards rushing. Their three
highest single-game totals this year are all more than any of them
in each of the previous three seasons.
teammates here," Lacy said, adding: "We're happy for one
another and help each other play."
Bay Packers running back James Starks (44) runs against
Minnesota Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes (29) and
defensive end Brian Robison (96) for a touchdown in the
second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013,
Here are five
things we learned from the last game between these division rivals
in this 31-year-old domed stadium:
After seven seasons with the Packers, Greg Jennings joined the
other side with a big contract with the Vikings with $17.8 million
guaranteed, but getting the ball thrown his way this year has
hardly been a sure bet as the quarterback carousel has spun
just one pass in the game for 9 yards, though he drew a pass
interference penalty on Tramon Williams late in the second quarter
to set up a touchdown run by Peterson that pulled the Vikings to
24-17. Jennings, who apologized this week for some mild criticism
he spoke this summer toward Rodgers and the Packers, embraced his
former teammate on the field after the game.
stick around the locker room long enough to take questions from
reporters. Said Rodgers: "We had some good memories
Vikings outside linebacker Marvin Mitchell (55) hold his
head near the end of an NFL football game against the Green
Bay Packers, Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, in Minneapolis. The
Packers won 44-31.
DEFENSE: This once-proud Vikings defense that led the NFL with the
fewest yards rushing allowed for three straight seasons from
2006-08 and tied for the league lead in sacks in 2011 no longer
has any strengths to rely on.
Jared Allen went without sack or even a tackle, across from
Packers rookie David Bakhtiari. Backup safeties Mistral Raymond
and Andrew Sendejo were exposed, filling in for injured starters
Jamarca Sanford and Harrison Smith.
frustrating," said cornerback Josh Robinson, who was in
decent position against Nelson in the end zone but still beaten
for the first-quarter score. "This defense isn't very tough
mentally. We'll be upset about the game, but all you can do is try
to work, improve, correct the mistakes and get better."
NOT THIS TIME:
Peterson had 409 yards rushing over two regular-season games
against the Packers in 2012. Over the last three weeks, he has
only 150 yards.
Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) hands off the
ball in the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday,
Oct. 27, 2013, in Minneapolis.
"It was slim
pickings," Peterson said, adding: "We didn't help the
defense out at all."
After Cordarrelle Patterson caught the opening kickoff with his
heels barely at the back edge of the end zone, he sprinted through
the middle of the Packers coverage. Only Micah Hyde had a chance
to tackle him, and his diving attempt whiffed as the first-round
draft pick from Tennessee raced away for a touchdown on an
NFL-record 109-yard return.
Hyde made amends
in the next quarter, though. The rookie cornerback from Iowa
returned a punt 93 yards for a score to stretch Green Bay's lead
Rodgers has dominated the Vikings like no other quarterback
against one team in the NFL's modern era. In his last eight games
against them, the Packers have won seven. He has completed roughly
three-quarters of his passes, with 22 touchdown and only three