1

January

Vikings 37, Packers 34: Game Balls and Lame Calls

Adrian Peterson

Vikings RB Adrian Peterson swallowed up the Packers defense on Sunday. If he does it again on Saturday night, the Packers season will probably be over.

The Mayans may have been wrong on the world as a whole, but the Green Bay Packers finally lost an NFC North game.

After winning twelve straight games against the NFC North, the Packers lost 37-34 to the Minnesota Vikings in an instant classic to wrap up the 2012 regular season.  Thanks to the victory by the San Francisco 49ers over the Arizona Cardinals, the Packers now have to take the long road to the Super Bowl.

The defense couldn’t stop the Vikings and Christian Ponder had a better than expected game. Oh and that Vikings running back had a good game as well. At least he didn’t get the record, though (Eric Dickerson, you are welcome).

The Packers open the playoffs this Saturday once again facing the Minnesota Vikings, this time at Lambeau Field.

Game Balls

NT BJ Raji

While the defense as a whole couldn’t shut down the Vikings, but Raji perhaps had his best game of 2012.

Raji had only four tackles but he disrupted the offensive line all game and gave the defense opportunities to shut Adrian Peterson down.  Unfortunately for the Packers, no one really was able to do it.

He’s play rejuvenated football since returning to his natural nose tackle position after spending last season at defensive end and has helped an anemic Packers pass rush return to life. Raji will need to play just as well next week if the Packers want to advance in the playoffs.

QB Aaron Rodgers

Twenty eight-for-40 for 365 yards and four touchdown passes. Just another day at the office for the NFL MVP.

Rodgers’ arm and accuracy kept the Packers in the game during a shootout in which the defense couldn’t stop anything the Vikings threw at them. It was another slow start for Rodgers and company, but the passing game roared to life in the second half.  Rodgers apparently has reestablished chemistry with Jordy Nelson and Greg Jennings, and if Randall Cobb is back this week, the Packers offense will be a force to be reckoned with in the playoffs.

If the offensive line could get its act together, Rodgers is all set for another stellar postseason performance. The only question remaining is whether the offensive line will keep him upright.

WR Greg Jennings

When Cobb is away, Jennings will play.

It was tempting not to put Jennings here thanks to a dropped touchdown pass that could have altered the end result of the game, he still had his best game in a long time.  Jennings finished the day with eight catches for 120 yards and two touchdowns.

The chemistry that made Jennings and Rodgers the most lethal QB/WR tandem in the league has been reestablished and once Cobb returns, the passing game will be the most dangerous it’s been all season.

Rodgers will continue to look Jennings’ way, especially in the playoffs.

K Mason Crosby

This game didn’t come down to a Crosby field goal try, but if it had there actually were some signs that he would make it.

Crosby converted both his field goals Sunday, from 51 and 40 yards respectively, and neither one needed the uprights to make it in. Even though it was in a controlled environment, both attempts came at crucial points in the game.  The first was right before halftime, and the second was to tie the game at 27-27.

Thankfully, Crosby didn’t flinch. His confidence may not be fully back yet, but he can rest knowing that he didn’t cost the team the game. In fact, one could argue he kept them in it.

Lame Calls

Defensive Coordinator Dom Capers

The game was tied 34-34 and the Packers had the Vikings in a 3rd-and-11 situation.

What does Capers dial up? Why, a three-man rush of course! Not only that but a prevent defense to boot!

Unfortunately, this has become far too common for the Packers under Capers’ watch and it’s gotten to the point of ridiculousness.  The soft zone that Capers tends to call on 3rd-and-long plays needs to be tossed out.  It hurt the Packers repeatedly in 2011 and this year has allowed opposing teams to stay in games they had no business being in.

The players also deserve blame for not making plays when they had to. Capers is responsible for implementing the game plan, and that call on third down was atrocious.

CB Tramon Williams

Williams has played much better football this year compared to his injury-riddled 2011 campaign, but Sunday was not his finest performance.

Not only did he (and the rest of the defense) struggle to bring down Peterson and stop the big play by Christian Ponder, but he committed an illegal hands to the face penalty that turned a potential field goal into a touchdown for the Vikings.

Williams’ tackling woes are reoccurring at the worst possible time.  Casey Hayward has played lights out as a rookie, but he won’t be able to carry the secondary through the playoffs.

The Packers need Williams to shake this game off and fast.

Head Coach Mike McCarthy

McCarthy is known for his emotional consistency and never letting the heat of the moment get to him during a game.

Well, that veneer cracked a bit against the Vikings when McCarthy angrily threw a challenge flag onto the field for a play that was already being reviewed. That is a 15-yard penalty in the NFL rule book.

Thankfully for McCarthy, the flag was on the field before the replay official was buzzed. A similar situation happened with Detroit Lions coach Jim Schwartz on Thanksgiving, but his flag was thrown after the replay official had already been alerted of the replay.

McCarthy can’t afford any of those kind of snafus in the playoffs. There is far too much on the line.

The offensive line

Rodgers was sacked 51 times in 16 games this season. That bests the career high of 50 he suffered in 2009.

Given Rodgers’ unique ability to extend plays, a majority of these fall at the feet of the offensive line. Yes, Rodgers at times has a tendency to hang onto the football for too long. There also have been injuries along the line, with Bryan Bulaga out for the year and other lineman having been banged up at some point in the season.

Still, they need to protect the quarterback.

The Packers didn’t do that against the Vikings, as Minnesota sacked Rodgers five times and forced him into a critical fumble. That can’t happen again on Saturday if the Packers want to advance in the playoffs.

The Vikings have a decent defensive line, but the Packers cannot continue to take Rodgers’ athleticism for granted.

Listen to the companion podcast, where the ALLGBP team expand on the game balls, give you the Packers Stock Report and look ahead to the Playoffs matchup with the Vikes:

Listen using the player below or download the podcast from the Packers Talk Radio Network on Itunes.

Listen to internet radio with Packers Talk Radio Network on Blog Talk Radio
——————

Kris Burke is a sports writer covering the Green Bay Packers for AllGreenBayPackers.com and WTMJ in Milwaukee. He is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) and his work has been linked to by sites such as National Football Post and CBSSports.com. Follow @KrisLBurke

——————

16 Responses to “Vikings 37, Packers 34: Game Balls and Lame Calls”

  1. Chad Lundberg says:

    Ok he’s a Viking, I get it. But I felt that Peterson was deserving of breaking the record. He’s a Damn good back who basically does all the work on that offense.

    If I’m not mistaken, isn’t Rodgers like the most sacked quarterback in the NFL since 2008? I don’t care who you are or what your opinion is. That’s INEXCUSABLE. I don’t even care of he does hold on too long.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 2

    • Chad Toporski Chad Toporski says:

      I, too, think it would have been nice to see Peterson break the record… mostly since he was so close to doing it. He’s such a down-to-earth guy and devoid of the gigantic diva mentality, it makes me respect him even more in addition to what he does on the field.

      And considering his team probably won’t make it to the Super Bowl during his career, the next best thing he could get is an all-time NFL record.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

  2. FITZCORE1252 says:

    I thought McCarthy threw the flag after the review was initiated, and schwantz before. No?

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  3. lambeauleaper says:

    Tramon sure was lame,I think it’s time the Pack gets bigger,taller corners in the draft,like the Seahawks.We can not tolerate players on the back seven who are afraid to tackle!How bout Xaviar Rhodes 6’3″and 215#

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  4. GBPDAN says:

    I agree with all your lame calls. D Capers BS D on 3rd and 11? What a stupid scheme, a 3 man rush so ponder can be comfortable, then pulling 2 DBs 15 yards back, off the receivers on the keft side of the Viks O, a couple of seconds before the snap? They shoukd have rushed ponder and jammed the receivers, knocked them off their routes and played man..game over. Great job Dom!

    Why is T Williams a pussy?

    Muscle head mike almost cost a TD with hus red hanky.

    The O line will cost us a SB (I hope not)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  5. Nick Perry says:

    Why s everyone so surprised at these calls Capers dials up. Everywhere he’s coached in his 30 year career by year 3 or 4 his defenses are rated dead last! Now he returned them to respectable this year but he still tends to call his brain fart defenses and a big play is given up. I mean were talking about Ponder! He threw for under 100 yards in several games this year but facing Capers he looks like a All-Pro! Lets face it, the first time they played Ponder missed several throws. It wasn’t really anything the Packers had done. If the Packers defense plays like that again I’m all for Capers to be replaced. The Packers have the Players to play a 4-3 with Perry, Worthy, Daniels from last years draft. Everyone of them is a better fit for a 4-3. With that said, lets hope Capers calls a better game this week and puts his defense in a position to win the game. Maybe Capers should watch some Dick Lebeau tape. Although he beat Lebeau in the SB, Lebeau always has his defense ranked in top 2 and I don’t see many soft zones played there. What the hell is a soft zone anyways!!!!! GO PACK!!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 4

  6. Nick Perry says:

    One more thing, I’m sick of hearing even Ponder think he’s great! Lets force him into a fricken Jay Cutler type game! It’s going to be 20 degrees at Lambeau on Saturday night. Ponder has lost every game this year he’s played outdoors. Oh and Hawk? Make a tackle you lame!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

  7. [...] All Green Bay Packers hands out Game Balls and Lame Calls from this past weekends’ Packers game. [...]

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  8. Lefty says:

    Quote:
    McCarthy is known for his emotional consistency and never letting the heat of the moment get to him during a game.

    The M3 I watch goes into processor overload on a fairly regular basis. It just doesn’t manifest itself so dramatically.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  9. Ron LC says:

    MM’s performance in playoff games at home is substandard. He MUST win Saturday. A loss this year requires TT to rethink his strategy. There will be NO excuse for a loss this time.

    If Capers insists on playing his “Prevent” defense again, TT should walk upstairs and throw him out of the booth. It is one and done from now on. No more pussy playing by the D. Its all out from the openning whistle. A loss will require serious changes before next year.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

  10. marpag says:

    Geez.

    I’m not happy that the Packers lost to the Queens, either. But just because one game didn’t go well doesn’t mean we need to lose whatever reason and perspective we might otherwise have had.

    Fire Dom Capers? Capers sucks? Really?!?

    Since Capers was hired as defensive coordinator in 2009, the Packers rank #4 in the NFL in scoring defense. In other words, during that four-season stretch, only three DCs in the whole freakin’ league have given up fewer points than Capers.

    I’ll reiterate, just in case it didn’t sink in the first time: Capers ranks FOURTH BEST in points allowed.

    So if y’all really, truly INSIST on kicking yourselves in the groin, then go ahead and fire him.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

    • Oppy says:

      Marpag,

      Don’t go and let sense, sound reasoning, and facts get in the way of some good old fashioned emotional, knee-jerk reactions.

      It’s every packers fan’s god given right to overreact and jump the gun without assessing the situation!

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

    • steve cheez says:

      Actually, I do kinda enjoy kicking myself in the groin. It just feels so darn good when I stop…

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  11. Mark B says:

    Mike Cary may be the worst ref in the NFL. tHE CALL ON THE INCOMPLETION led to a touchdown. That was just one of the bad calls in the ame.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0