Last week I wrote the following:
Sunday night will be quite a different animal when Allen faces off against Chad Clifton. Clifton has more than held his own against Allen throughout his career, especially in games played on grass. The last time the two went head-to-head in the Metrodome in 2008, Allen gave Clifton all sorts of trouble. The deafening noise and the Packers continually finding themselves in 2nd and 3rd and long gave Allen all the advantage he needed to make life miserable for the Packers' left tackle. While Clifton definitely struggled the first few weeks of this season, he has certainly righted the ship the past three weeks. Add in the fact that Allen has put up a whopping one sack so far this season and I think Clifton will more than hold up his end of the bargain on Sunday night.
Where the concern lies is down on the other end of the line at right tackle. Mark Tauscher was very limited in practice yesterday, going through only the lightest of drills. This would seem to suggest that the Packers first round pick Bryan Bulaga would be in line to get his third start in a row. While the rookie out of Iowa has more than held his own at a position he had never played until three weeks ago, going up against Vikings defensive end Ray Edwards will be, by far, the toughest challenge he's faced up to this point.
Well, Bulaga met that challenge head on and basically kicked its ass.
In fact, the entire offensive line did an outstanding job in pass protection and even got some push in the run game. The biggest shock to me was the amount of damage Brandon Jackson was able to do off the left side of the line. A few times Daryn Colledge got off his double team block and got to a linebacker on the next level, enabling Jackson to pick up some great gains. Clifton would simply let Allen fly up the field and pretty much take himself out of the play. They ran that three or four times with great success.
But as stated above, the big worry heading into Sunday night was Bulaga and he more than held up - he completely stuffed Edwards from the first snap to the final gun. And the most encouraging thing is that the rookie really seems to be improving from week to week.
All in all this was, by far, the best the offensive line has looked in 2010.
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