The Green Bay Packers finally found a way to slow down Adrian Peterson and because of it the Packers beat the Minnesota Vikings 24-10 and will advance to the divisional round of the playoffs.
The key storyline heading into this game was the fact that Vikings starting quarterback, Christian Ponder, was declared ineligible about two hours before kickoff, which meant backup Joe Webb was pushed into the starting role.
Minnesota started the game off how everybody predicted they would. Nine out of their first ten plays were rushing plays, and led to a drive that ended in a field goal. The Packers followed that drive with a three and out and the Vikings continued moving the ball using a combination rushing attack from Peterson and Webb.
As the first quarter progressed the Vikings stopped moving the ball effectively while the Packers began driving the ball. The Packers finished the first quarter by having DuJuan Harris punch the ball into the endzone with an 11-yard rush. It was the only points the Packers would need all game.
The Packers added a field goal and a rushing touchdown from John Kuhn to take a 17-3 lead into the half. The Packers defense had held Peterson to only 48 rushing yards in the first half and Joe Webb was three for 12 passing for 22 yards in the first half. Green Bay had out gained the Vikings 239 yards to 97.
Green Bay dominated the second half, adding another John Kuhn touchdown in the third and minus a play with some bad blown coverage late in the fourth, the Vikings couldn’t move the ball at all.
While Webb did what he could, the Vikings had to keep giving the ball to Peterson and hope he could break a big run. When he couldn’t, it fell on Webb to make a play, which was difficult as the Packers defense was in his face all game and had the Vikings receivers tightly covered. The Packers defense did a phenomenal job on Peterson as they met him at the line of scrimmage and were able to prevent him from bouncing outside for big gains.
The loss of Ponder really hurt the Vikings and it showed. Webb struggled completing even the most basic passes and because Peterson wasn’t getting it done, later in the game the Vikings relied more and more on Webb.
Charles Woodson’s return was noticeable immediately in the game as he had six tackles, one for loss, and was a factor in many other plays.
Green Bay’s offense looked great as Rodgers led the way, passing for 274 yards and one touchdown. Rodgers also completed passes to 10 different receivers, which ties a NFL playoff record. DuJuan Harris only had 47 yards rushing on 17 attempts but he had a touchdown and added in 53 yards receiving on only five catches.
The star of the Packers offense today was John Kuhn. He had a rushing touchdown and a receiving touchdown, a play in which he was nearly spun around in mid air from a hit. Kuhn hasn’t done much all season but he made a couple of key plays this game, which helped the Packers to their victory.
But the star of the game was the Packers defense. They held Peterson to under 100 yards and they adapted well to the change of quarterbacks and were able to contain Webb and force him into passing situations. The defense also forced three turnovers and sacked Webb three times.
Green Bay will now head to San Francisco where they will play the 49ers Saturday night. The Packers are only two games away from the Superbowl and this win was a step in the right direction to achieve that goal.