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Vikings Film Review: Third-And-Manageable

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Vikings Film Review: Third-And-Manageable

Taking a look inside the Xs & Os, personnel and schemes after watching video of the Packers 28-24 win vs. the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday...


  • A key component to the Packers' success on Sunday was getting in third-and-manageable situations. The Packers offense faced 11 third down situations with the average first down distance being third-and-4.8 yards to go. Not surprisingly, they converted 6 out of 11 third downs, a 55% success rate. They also faced only one single time where they were third-and-10 or longer. Compare that to 6 times they faced third-and-10 or longer the previous week against the Dolphins.
  • The success of the running game and very few penalties, only 2 for 20 had a lot to do with being in third-and-manageable situations.
  • It's interesting to note the use of rookie tight end Andrew Quarless in goal-line situations ahead of Donald Lee. One of Lee's bigger strengths coming into the season was that he was a known quantity as a blocker, unlike a Tom Crabtree. Crabtree has obviously eclipsed Lee as a blocker and Quarless may have as well.
  • Josh Sitton blocked three different defenders on the draw play to Brandon Jackson on second-and-16 in the first quarter. Absolutely amazing.
  • Jordy Nelson had a beautiful crack-back block on a Vikings linebacker on a first-and-10 run by Brandon Jackson in which he gained 5 yards. Nelson turned the play from a possible tackle for a loss into a positive gain.
  • I counted five passes in which quarterback Aaron Rodgers and his wide receivers were not on the same page. One of them saw either the back shoulder throw or the go route, and vice versa. I'm having a hard time understand where McCarthy isn't seeing a problem.
  • On both of the tight end screen plays to Donald Lee, running back Brandon Jackson was also an available receiver on the other side of the field as a check-down option. It's nice to have that available.
  • The third quarter playcall on third-and-2 was a head scratcher. The Packers utilized two running backs and tight end Tom Crabtree all as pass blockers on a play necessitating two yards. In essence, the Packers had eight blockers and only two receivers running routes. Not a very good use of personnel.
  • It was rather funny to see running back Dimitri Nance used a decoy several times on offense. It was as if the coaches told him, "Okay, you can play on offense this week, but you can't touch the ball." I realize he was the intended receiver on the screen pass intercepted by Jared Allen, but other than that he was motioned out of the backfield or not given the ball on two John Kuhn dives.


  • There's something not being said about Brandon Chillar. He was used on third-and-medium to third-and-long situations early in the in nickel situations. Then in the second half, he wasn't used in that role any longer. Maybe he's just being limited by a snap count due to his shoulder injury, but there a couple times where Chillar did not perform very well either either getting beat in coverage or failing to funnel run plays back to his help in the middle of the field.
  • There was only one play in which the Packers sent six or more pass rushers, a play in which Favre made the Packers pay for their gamble. It was on Visanthe Schiancoe's "touchdown," in which both inside linebackers, A.J. Hawk and Desmond Bishop, blitzed leaving the middle of the field wide open. Luckily for the Packers, the play was ruled incomplete.
  • Favre showed his veteran savvy another time by making the Packers play for a Charles Woodson blitz and then threw to Percy Harvin left uncovered on the left side of the field. Woodson blitzed six times on the evening.
  • B.J. Raji is doing a fantastic job sniffing out screens. On one first quarter screen, it was thanks to Raji the Packers were able to tackle Adrian Peterson after only a gain of four yards. Raji also correctly diagnosed the screen play on the Vikings' final possession that Peterson took for 26 yards down to the Packers' 15-yard line. It was just bad luck that Peterson was able to reverse the field for such a long gain.
  • After struggling to handle bunch and stack formations last season, it's worth noting that A.J. Hawk's interception came on a play which the Vikings used four receivers lined up in a diamond formation to one side of field and handled it perfectly.
  • The run defense may have been gouged for 131 yards by Peterson last night, although it was a bend but don't break type-of-evening. Peterson had a long run of 17 yards, but the Packers weren't subject to giving up several long runs. The same went for Toby Gerhart.
  • It's worth noting that safety Charlie Peprah had a very solid evening. Sam Shields too.

Special Teams

  • Similar to his role on defense, Brandon Chillar was removed from his role on special teams. He had a nice block on the Packers' first kickoff return of the game that helped spring Pat Lee, but was later replaced by Dimitri Nance.
  • If the Vikings were prepared, they would have known that as soon as Matt Flynn stepped onto the field as the place kick holder that something was fishy on the fake field goal attempt. Flynn has not been the holder a single time all year up to that point.
  • After getting burned by Harvin on a couple kick returns, the Packers decided to squib the ball away from him, which had mixed results. The first time the ball got down to the 21-yard line. The next time it hit a player and the Vikings recovered at their own 42, which kind of defeats the purpose.
  • The kickoff unit is going for speed over size with seven defensive back/wide receiver types including Jarrett Bush, Brett Swain, Pat Lee, Brandon Underwood, Anthony Smith, Sam Shields and Tramon Williams.
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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (18) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

PackersRS's picture

Disagree on Peprah. On the Harvin TD, he took a TERRIBLE angle. He did sniff a Harvin screen very nicely, and beat the blocker to stop him. But he took bad angles more than once on runs.

Brian Carriveau's picture

You're right, PackersRS. He gambled on the Harvin TD and lost. He's the last line of defense. It's one of those things where you can gamble, but you better not lose. Aside from that, he was pretty solid.

My dog is Lambeau's picture

What about Jarret Bush making the tackle on the opening kickoff at the 15? Cant stand Bush, but I thought that set the tone for the whole night!

PackersRS's picture

Bush hasn't had a bad game so far. He actually had good games.

And Woodson is struggling.

Bizarro Packers.

FITZCORE1252's picture

"Bush hasn’t had a bad game so far. He actually had good games."

You're right, but I know how you feel about Bush. It must be hard for you to admit that, way to go.

On a side note, although lil d is bad that was still a scary matchup. Just got a little less scary with Kitna running the show.


PackersRS's picture

Yeah, we're getting some breaks.
About Bush, nothing against him personally, it's just that for 3 years I've seen him fail miserably and bring down the team with him.

But he looks MUCH more improved. He has never had this span of good games before.

Believe, I would like nothing more than to be cheering for Bush, because that would mean that an incompetent CB had become a reliable one. We would gain a good player out of nothing.

Andrew In Atlanta's picture

I tweeted a few weeks ago that many have been arguing Bishop OR Hawk and maybe the argument should have been Bishop AND Hawk. Maybe it just works with those two together. Anyway, I'm thrilled for Bishop. I'm a huge fan as many on this site know and I hope he continues to do well

RobT's picture

When they showed the replay of Sitton's triple block, I did a little dance. Such a great player.

FITZCORE1252's picture


abiderman's picture

I find that other teams offensive coordinators are not even bothering to attack Sam Shields when he is in the game. It is really mind boggling. Either I'm not noticing them throw to Shields receiver or he is playing extremely well, especially for an undrafted player who just recently started playing corner.

lebowski's picture

Could it be possible, with Shields and Williams, that we can scratch cornerback off our list of needs in the next draft? Woodson and Harris only have so much left.

FITZCORE1252's picture

No way, those two's age is exactly why we need to add quality depth at the position. Tramon and Sam are a good young starting point though.

PackersRS's picture

CB hasn't been a big problem this year IMHO.

Certainly not the reason we've been losing games, unlike last year.

Jose's picture

I think it at least falls below OLB and T. and maybe DE depending on what happens with Jolly and Jenkins.

Shootz's picture

Great read, look forward to these write-ups all week, Brian. Totally agree on that block from Nelson, I didn't even realise it was him at first because he swooped in there so quickly. Great play.

PackersThad's picture

I just watched the game and even though the Packers won, they really had no business doing so. They got outplayed the entire second half on Offense and Defense. On offense, it was once again apparent that the running game is not terrible and it should've been used more often. And on defense, Capers should not have sent Woodson on blitzes where Favre was able to discover the blitz. Favre would use the hesitation count, suck Woodson down and then just throw it to the area Woodson vacated. Capers should have at least used Woodson on a fake CB blitz and then pushed him back into coverage.

CJ Wilson was pretty good so I hope the CJ and Jarius combined can make up for the loss of Neal for the season.

packeraaron's picture

I think you're really overstating things here Thad. They had every bit of "business" winning this game. You're telling me they got "outplayed" in the half where they got the only sack of the game and picked Favre off three times? On the Woodson blitzes, that's on Woodson, not Capers. Its a good call - Favre just got Wood to commit early. The other guys get paid too.

PackersThad's picture

We'll chat about this tonight.

What about the offense that put up 28 points mid-way through the third quarter and never scored again. Or the defense still getting gashed down the middle no matter if they bring 3 blitzers or 6.

I am in no way saying that I am not happy they won, but watching the game for the first time on DVR instead of live really takes the emotion out of it and I wondered aloud how we even won the game.

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