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Quick Takes: Vikings 37, Packers 34

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Quick Takes: Vikings 37, Packers 34

The Green Bay Packers (11-5) squandered an opportunity to secure a first-round bye in the NFC playoffs, allowing the Minnesota Vikings (10-6) to clinch a postseason spot in a 37-34 loss Sunday at the Metrodome. The Packers will now host the Vikings in the NFC Wild Card round at Lambeau Field Saturday night.

It was over when….

Christian Ponder found Michael Jenkins for a 25-yard gain on 3rd-and-11 with 1:54 left in the fourth quarter. Adrian Peterson then cranked off runs of seven, four and 26 yards, draining the Packers' remaining timeouts and setting up Blair Walsh's 29-yard kick as time expired.

Game Balls

  • WR Greg Jennings: The free-agent-to-be made himself back Sunday some of the money he lost earlier this season. Without Randall Cobb (ankle) available, Jennings caught eight passes for 120 yards and two scores. He lead the team in targets with 12 and made important play after important play, especially in the second half. With a big playoff game or two, Jennings can all but price himself out of Green Bay. Maybe he already has.
  • QB Aaron Rodgers: After a slow, plodding start, Rodgers mostly lit the Vikings on fire. He finished Sunday with a line of 365 yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions. The turning point for the passing offense was the departure of Vikings cornerback Antoine Winfield, who left late in the first half with a hand injury. Rodgers proceeded to toss three second-half touchdowns. The Packers can feel confident in the passing game if Winfield can't go Saturday.
  • RB DuJuan Harris: While Ryan Grant got the start, Harris was the running back who deserved to be on the field Sunday. The 5-8 dynamo made the most of his 16 touches, gaining 87 total yards and providing a decisive, punishing option in the running game. There's no doubt that he's earned himself a role in next week's playoff game.
  • TE Jermichael Finley: The Jermichael Finley that everyone expected to see for the last two seasons has showed up over the past month. Finley's numbers (eight catches, 72 yards) Sunday would have been better had a delay of game penalty in the first quarter negated a nice pitch-and-catch down the seam. A big reason for Finley's improved production has been the introduction of the quasi-tight-end screen, in which Finley runs a simple out and the receivers on his side of the formation block down field. Time will tell if that look will continue to work in the postseason.

Key Stats

Minnesota's 37 points represent the second most the Packers have surrendered this season, while Green Bay's 34 were the third most scored by the Packers this season...Christian Ponder finished Sunday with a line of 234 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions. His passer rating was 120.2 and QBR 94.6 (out of 100)...Peterson finished nine yards short of Eric Dickerson's single-season rushing record. He rushed for 199, cracking 2,000 for just the seventh time in NFL history...In two games against the Packers, Peterson rushed for 409 total yards...Jarius Wright's 65-yard catch is the longest reception the Packers have allowed since Week 4 against New Orleans (Morgan, 80 yards)...Minnesota's Everson Griffen recorded three sacks...A.J. Hawk and Brad Jones combined for just nine tackles. Each missed at least one tackle, but the official count will likely be higher...Green Bay's three leading tacklers were all in the secondary (Morgan Burnett, Tramon Williams and Sam Shields)...Rodgers lost his fourth fumble of the season. From 2010-11, Rodgers lost just one...The 444 total yards were the most the Packers have allowed since Week 5 against the Colts.

Other Notes

--One bright spot has to be Mason Crosby, who connected on two field goals. His makes included a 51-yarder and a game-tying kick in the fourth quarter. He has now made four straight kicks entering the playoffs.

--The Packers can't expect to play that poorly out of the gates—falling behind 13-0—and win a playoff game, whether it's at home or on the road. Minnesota had a better game plan and wanted it more early.

--Keep a close eye on the availability of Winfield (hand) this week. When he went out, the Packers relentlessly attacked his replacements. Marcus Sherells and Josh Robinson are matchups Green Bay can and will exploit if Winfield can't play Saturday.

--James Jones' touchdown in the second half was an officiating mess, and Mike McCarthy lucked out in a big way that the replay was already buzzed in when one official saw his emotional tossing of the red flag. But in the end, the correct call was made, and that's all anyone can really ask for.

--The missed tackling at the second level has to be cleaned up by Saturday. No ifs, ands or buts about it. Today was a nightmare. A cold night game won't make tackling Peterson any easier at Lambeau Field.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (35) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Evan's picture

DuJuan Harris looks like a legit back. What a find.

hayward4president's picture

Oh yeah almost forgot....jermikes

WisconsInExile's picture

Many people point out that when Rodgers extends a play, he will take a sack in order to avoid a turnover. However, what I don't eat anyone acknowledge is that he *does* face a very real risk of fumbling. The passer rating doesn't show it, so I think Rodgers often gets a pass on it.

Evan's picture

He has had an uncanny ability to avoid fumbles thus far in his career, but the risk is going to be there.

WisconsInExile's picture

He's had 36 total over the last five seasons. 19 were from his first two seasons. He usually recovers them, but this year not so much (only recovered 1 this year). The last three seasons he averages roughly 1 every 4 games. But the one that ended the 2009 playoff game was rough.

Jamie's picture

I believe Rodgers compares favorably to the other starting QBs in the league...especially over his last three seasons. It's part of playing the position...not necessarily a result of the way he plays.

FITZCORE 1252'S EVO's picture

Not as rough as the EFFING NO CALL FACEMASK! Sorry for yelling.

DebDowner's picture

we've already lost in the playoffs thanks to a Arod fumble (09).

t's picture

That Arod fumble in the playoffs was due to a terrible O-Line and a blatant no call facemask.
When you get sacked over 50 times in a season 4 fumbles is a damn good number.

WisconsInExile's picture

I was interested to see his higher number of lost fumbles this year, which are still good compared to other QBs. His numbers over all are comparable to Payton Manning, a less mobile QB, but are better than Ben Roethlesberger's. Rodgers was really bad his first two years, but then settled down 2010-2012. That said, I think the deeper you go into the playoffs, the quicker pass rushers will get to the QB, especially with this o-line. It felt like yesterday's fumble came because 12 thought he had one more second than he did. If he adjusts his internal clock accordingly in the playofsf, then the fumble risk when extending plays is being managed well. If not, then the odds of it happening again go up. That said, he wins more plays than he looses when he extends them, so I wouldn't change it. But when figuring the expected value, you do have to include fumbles in that cons category.

buckyor's picture

Another game like today's and the team can call it a season. Significant lack of effort on defense (37 points? To Christian Ponder? Seriously?), lackluster offense. This team is capable of beating anyone, but is also capable of losing to anyone as well.

Packerken's picture

Lackluster offense? 34 points should be enough to beat any team. This loss is on the D, specifically on the LBs and CBs for not tackling.

FITZCORE 1252'S EVO's picture

Agreed, though I would also throw Capers in there. The buck stops with him for the D, he must be held accountable.

Edward's picture

Agreed. They looked unprepared to deal with AP. There needs to be a different strategy--maybe go with a beefy 4-3 on 1st and 2nd down, maybe keep the OLBs outside and send middle blitzers?

IowaPackFan's picture

That could work for awhile, until Ponder figures out our OLB can't cover and Rudolph burns us over the middle.

Brian Lee's picture

On Saturday, Capers should take Casey Hayward and put him on the TE Rudolph ALL GAME. Just like they used Woodson to take a TE out of the game.

Brian Lee's picture

The biggest problem the defense had with AP was not being able to get outside containment. Many times AP was acutally stuffed pretty well between the tackles. Only to bounce it outside and go aruound a flat-footed defender. The mistake was the outside defender trying to make the play. When you are the outside defender on AP your job is to not let him get around you and to turn him back into help/pursuit.

If GB is to control AP next Saturday evening, the are going to have to clean up this "outside containment" issue.

Finally, if you are not a DL, you must hit AP at least 12 inches below the waist or lower and tackle "through" him by a couple of yards. There is nothing I hate more than watching LBs and DBs bouncing off of AP's shoulders.

hayward4president's picture

Ponder didn't win this game....AP did.

MarkinMadison's picture

Ponder made the throws he needed to make, and narrowly avoided two turn-overs. At the end of the day, turn-overs are usually the game decider. Rodgers had one, Ponder had none. Barclay got his lunch eaten today. The good news is that I don't think that he will play any worse on Saturday, and hopefully the experience will make him better. Likewise, the Linebackers and DBs will not play any worse. Put Woodson in at safety and they may be better come Saturday. Chin up folks, I like the Pack in Lambeau.

FITZCORE 1252'S EVO's picture

I've already started game-planning for San Fran. Saturday is a "mere formality".

Mojo's picture

Agreed. I think the Pack win easily. Then the question is does playing in SF instead of Lambeau hurt the Pack. Probably.

FITZCORE 1252'S EVO's picture

I guess it really doesn't matter, because we don't have a damn choice. I know the thinking about this team playing in the cold = bad, but San Fran, this time of year... 40 degrees in a drizzling rain sure doesn't sound great for this offense either. Gotta make lemonade out of lemons I suppose. Here's hoping the niners get rusty on their bye!

Brian Lee's picture

Acutally, if we can get by MN on Sat, I feel real good about beating SF in SF and Atl in Atl. Both teams have looked vulnerable lately. I think the better playing conditions for the offense on the road trumps home filed advantage. It worked that way in 2010, and I think it will work again this year. I think it would be much harder for us to beat SF in GB. SF in a power running team similar to the Giants.

hayward4president's picture

I hope MM doesn't shy away from Harris next week. Sometimes he gets so pass happy its ridiculous. Our O looked pretty awesome today in the second half. Cobb comes back and will just make us that much better. Our D better not mess around at home!

Edward's picture

wasn't Alex Green supposed to be available today, coming off the concussion 2 weeks ago?

FITZCORE 1252'S EVO's picture

He was suited up, I think he was cleared. Harris just looked good, maybe they just wanted to ride the hot hand?

Edward's picture

what the heck was going on with our defenders skating all over the field tonight? Are the Packers wearing the most appropriate shoes for that surface?

Jamie's picture

No...for shits and giggles they went with the 8" heel cleats...

GBPDAN's picture

The Packers young guys (and vets with short memories) got a tast of playoff football today. The more physical team usually wins. You cant cone out soft and just think your the better team and thats all you need to do is show up.the pack got punched in the mouth and then bitch slapped. The D looked like girl scouts today. The better team won today. The more physical team won. Now the Pack has to get pissed off and bitch slap these purple pussys back next week. The pack will probably lose the following week at rested SF. The pack blew it today by not securing the bye. Now the niners have the bye and justin smith can rest up for the packers.

D B H's picture

This team misses Nick Collins in a big way.

KevinWI's picture

Wrong. Packers surrendered 38 to the Giants this season.
It was over when: Adrian Peterson stepped on the field. Giving up 409 yards to one man on the ground in two games? Can't stop him.

Arodg's Mustache's picture

..and yet again AR leads a comback only to have the D let the team down. This team needs to get stronger and tougher on d because this team will score with anybody.

hayward4president's picture

Lose to a 9er team who doeent even know who they want to start at qb?....Doubt it. Not going to look past the vikes game cause that's stupid, but if we did beat them the 9ers don't scare me with that qb. Smith at qb with a more run based offense that scares me. Besides.....the 9ers owe us one. But they need to bring back TO so he can run a post route and get blasted in the endzone and drop it this time around.

Brian Lee's picture

I think we have a better chance of beating the 49ers is SF than in GB. We need the better weather for our passing offense. You know AR will be pumped for the game in SF. During the regualar season and decent weather GB, definitely has a home field advantage. GB is not a power football team. In the playoffs with bad weather I would much rather go on the road to get better playing conditions for the passing offense. It worked out pretty well on the road in 2010.

Steven's picture

Start harris, i knew this kid had game

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