25

November

Game Balls and Lame Calls: Packers 26, Vikings 26

Matt Flynn led a fiery comeback for the Packers. And in some ways, the tie is a win.

Matt Flynn led a fiery comeback for the Packers. And in some ways, the tie is a win.

Despite playing to a 26-26 tie, the Green Bay Packers gained ground on the division-leading Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears. And as far as the NFC North title is concerned, that’s a win for the Pack.

Without quarterback Matt Flynn’s late-game heroics, it’s hard to imagine the Packers pushing the game to overtime. But Flynn, down by 16 in the fourth quarter, led his team back and tied the game at 23.

And the game was played on my 23rd birthday, so of course, yours truly had something to do with the comeback. Duh.

Some players just fit in a certain system. And there’s no way around it–Matt Flynn’s ceiling is as a backup with the Packers.

Some–myself included–overestimated Flynn’s value when he hit the free agent market after the 2011 season. Sure, he’s been traded from the Seattle Seahawks and cut by the Oakland Raiders and Buffalo Bills since leaving Green Bay, but at this point it’s pretty clear that the Packers’ system is good for Flynn and Flynn is good for the Packers.

“We were looking for a spark,” head coach Mike McCarthy said of Flynn after the game. “We had a history with Matt. He went out there and played football.”

Sounds simple. And it is. Flynn went out there and played football. He made the throws he had to make and took what the leaky Vikings defense was giving him.

At the very least, Flynn gives the locker room a shot of confidence as they head into a season-altering game Thursday against the Detroit Lions. The last time Flynn played in Detroit was when he entered the game in relief after Aaron Rodgers left the game with a concussion. The offense sputtered, and the Packers lost that game 7-3.

Now, the Packers head into their Thanksgiving showdown with the Lions needing a win, which would put them in first place in the division. The only question is: Will they have Aaron Rodgers?

Game Balls

Eddie Lacy

Teams know they’ll be getting a heavy dose of Lacy when they play the Green Bay Packers, but it doesn’t matter. Stacking the box can only do so much against a bruising back who routinely breaks through arm tackles. Lacy finished the game with 110 yards on 24 carries and proved his worth in the passing game, totaling 48 yards on six catches. The guy is really, really good.

25

November

Cory’s Corner: Biggest wart on Sunday was offense

Former Packers backup quarterback Matt Flynn came in to relieve the struggling Scott Tolzien.

Former Packers backup quarterback Matt Flynn came in to relieve the struggling Scott Tolzien.

Everyone is going to want to blame the defense today.

And, yeah, it sounds about right.

The defense allowed a 2-8 team to waltz into Lambeau Field and get pushed around by Adrian Peterson who hasn’t been 100 percent for quite some time. Most people can swallow giving up 146 yards on the ground to a future Hall of Famer like Peterson.

But Toby Gerhart’s 91 rushing yards was more of a surprise than finding a 50-dollar bill in the couch cushions.

Yet, despite all that, I’m not blaming the loss, err tie on the defense.

Nope, this coulda-been is on the offense.

Most specifically, the very first overtime drive. Freshly inserted Matt Flynn — whom coach Mike McCarthy admitted he was looking for a spark — led the Packers down the field within scoring distance in eight plays.

The Packers had the ball 1st and goal from the Minnesota 7 and the only thing that was gained from such a great drive was a 20-yard field goal that Mason Crosby could’ve made with his eyes closed.

The play-calling didn’t help either. I didn’t like Eddie Lacy off right tackle on 2nd down and goal from the 3. Lacy got swallowed up for a one-yard gain, which set up the obvious pass on third down.

That of course coupled with the horrific 3-for-16 third down conversion rate and this offense would have had trouble finding water while falling out of a boat. The measure of good offenses down to the game level is how well they move the sticks. As long the chain gang keeps running to set up first downs, the rest will take care of itself.

I realize that it hasn’t exactly been easy for this offense without pass catchers like Randall Cobb and Jermichael Finley, but the Vikings secondary isn’t scary. That unit has been gutted with injuries this year and McCarthy was too concerned about not losing as opposed to grabbing a much-needed win.

Now we cannot compare any of the last three quarterbacks that have been inserted since Aaron Rodgers went down. But then again, those are the guys entrusted to play quarterback for the Green Bay Packers. This isn’t the Green Bay Southwest High School JV team where a quarterback is expected to throw at most six passes a game.

24

November

Packers vs. Vikings – Game Day First Impressions, Unfiltered: GB 26 MIN 26, OT

Marshall Newhouse

Packers, Vikings Tie 26-26

Green Bay Packers vs. Minnesota Vikings:  2013 Game 11

Unfiltered game day blog post of comments, observations and first impressions.

GAME NOTES:

A big problem is how many healthy cornerbacks the Packers have today? One they won’t have is Casey Hayward, whose season is over. Placed on IR for what has to bee the most persistent pulled hamstring in the history of he Packers, who have had some experience in that department. Sam Shields is also out.

This is a game the Packers MUST have. If they trip up here, I’ll be ready to start looking forward to the draft and next season.

 

Tonight’s captains for the Packers: - Eddie Lacy, Mike Daniels, Tim Masthay

 

Inactives for today’s game:

Green Bay PackersGreen Bay Packers
12 QB Aaron Rodgers
13 WR Chris Harper
37 CB Sam Shields
51 LB Nate Palmer
53 LB Nick Perry
67 T/G Don Barclay
97 DE Johnny Jolly

Starting lineup changes: 16 QB Scott Tolzien starts for Rodgers, 31 CB Davon House for Shields, 74 T Marshall Newhouse for Barclay, 96 LB Mike Neal for Perry and 76 DE Mike Daniels for Jolly.

Minnesota Vikings
12 QB Josh Freeman
21 CB Josh Robinson
50 LB Erin Henderson
60 G Jeff Baca
82 TE Kyle Rudolph
83 WR Rodney Smith
91 DT Chris Baker

Starting lineup changes: 29 CB Xavier Rhodes starts for Robinson, 57 LB Audie Cole for Henderson and 89 TE John Carlson for Rudolph.

 

 

 

Mike McCarthy Pregame Show on 620 WTMJ:

urgency  of game:  No question. For everything that’s going on with our football team., this is a win we need and a win we’re going to go out and get.

Wayne reads injury list: That was exhausting Wayne… It’s pro football. Injuries is the unfortunate part of our game. it’s really about the opportuniteis given to the other individuals. We need to take a one game focus – nail this thing down.

Group effort: There’s 46 guys that line up every week. They’re representing the team on that day and all have to be accountable. Likewise, the decision makers have a responsibility to be giving them everything they need, in terms of information, motivation, keeping the adrenilin flowing, etc.  Just trying to get everybody to exceed expectations.

21

November

Numbers up for Packers receivers, down for Vikings corners

Packers receiver Jordy Nelson is really good. Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes is alright, but his fellow corners are not.

Packers receiver Jordy Nelson is really good. Vikings rookie Xavier Rhodes is alright, but his fellow corners are not.

Numbers never lie. Except when they do.

Numbers lied when they said that Robert Griffin III had a big day against the Packers. After all, 320 yards and three touchdowns isn’t a bad day at the office, but in reality, Griffin really just benefitted from a garbage-time stat stuffer.

But thanks to new-age stats sites like Pro Football Focus, anyone and everyone can access in-depth stats at the click of a mouse. So if I want to see how good/bad a player does in coverage, it’s pretty easy.

And the numbers say Vikings cornerback Josh Robinson is bad. Awfully bad.

Opposing quarterbacks have completed 56 of 66 targets on Robinson this season. That’s 84.8 percent of their passes–the worst mark in the NFL for a cornerback, along with a league-high 716 receiving yards. Add three touchdowns and no interceptions, and you’ve got yourself a 127.0 cumulative passer rating.

Robinson’s partner in crime, Chris Cook, has allowed 19 completions on 26 targets–again, a staggering 73.1 percent. Cook has been a sieve as far as allowing touchdowns, as he’s been responsible for four scores, despite being thrown at only 26 times. That’s not good for him, but really good for opposing offenses.

Xavier Rhodes, one of the team’s three first-round picks from last April, has shown flashes of why he was a Day 1 pick, although he’s certainly been exposed. The secondary’s lone bright spot will likely see a heavy dose of Jordy Nelson on Sunday, as the Packers will likely move him all around the formation, including the slot which is where he caught both of his touchdowns when the teams met in the MetroDome Oct. 27.

Of 107 cornerbacks that have played at least 25 percent of their team’s snaps, the Vikings have three players who rank 83 or lower on the list, according to Pro Football Focus. Here’s a closer look at how they’ve fared so far this season:

83. Xavier Rhodes (60.8% completion, 293 yards, o TD o INT. 79.3 QB rating)

84. Chris Cook (73.0% completion, 241 yards, 4 TD 0 INT. 141.2 QB rating)

101. Josh Robinson (84.8% completion, 716 yards, 3 TD 0 INT. 127.0 QB rating)

28

October

Game Balls and Lame Calls: Packers 44, Vikings 31

Jordy Nelson caught two touchdowns, giving Myles White and the rest of the team reason to celebrate.

Jordy Nelson caught two touchdowns, giving Myles White and the rest of the team reason to celebrate.

The opening kickoff made it look like the Minnesota Vikings would have a shot to upset the Green Bay Packers in teams’ final meeting at the Metrodome, as Cordarrelle Patterson raced 109 yards for a touchdown.

But from then on, it was all Packers.

Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay offense moved the ball up and down the field with ease throughout the game. Despite having Myles White as his No. 3 receiver and Andrew Quarless as the starting tight end, Rodgers threw for 285 yards and a pair of scores to go along with just five incompletions.

His two touchdowns–both to Jordy Nelson–were perfect. There’s no other way to put it, really. Rodgers zipped the ball right past the defender’s earhole on each throw, leaving the defender with no chance at deflecting the pass.

After the first scoring connection from Rodgers to Nelson, I tweeted, “If I’m Aaron Rodgers, I’m putting an ongoing loop of that throw on a projection screen. Maybe in every room of my house.” And I meant it.

Then, after Nelson’s 76-yard score, I, again, wanted share my admiration. However, I just couldn’t seem to think of the words. It was simply another perfect throw by one of the best quarterbacks in football.

That touchdown, ironically, reminded me of Rodgers’ crucial third-down dart to Greg Jennings in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl XLV. Jennings, now with quarterbacks Christian Ponder, Josh Freeman, Matt Cassell and the Minnesota Vikings, was targeted three times Sunday night and only caught one pass for nine yards.

It’s safe to say that, while wealthier, Jennings is not having a lot of fun wearing purple this season. And that’s nothing against the color.

Speaking of Jordy Nelson, I think it’s worth revisiting the unwritten rule that you can’t compare white wide receivers to anyone other than white wide receivers. Nelson isn’t Eric Decker or Ed McCaffrey. He’s not Wayne Chrebet or Wes Welker.

The guy is every bit of 6’3″ 217 pounds. He’s not the fastest receiver in the world, but he does everything you could possibly ask a wide receiver to do, and he does it well.

27

October

Packers vs. Vikings – Game Day First Impressions, Unfiltered: GB 44 MIN 31

Green Bay Packers vs. Minnesota Vikings:  2013 Game 7

Unfiltered game day blog post of comments, observations and first impressions.

GAME NOTES:

The 1-5 Vikings host the 4-2 Packers in the teams’ first meeting of the season. Though the Packers have rebounded from a slow start and fight through a number of injuries to key starters, the Vikings just seem to be in shambles. Christian Ponder will start today after recently-signed Josh Freeman took the nod last week. Greg Jennings will want to light up his former team, especially after all of the controversial sound bites, and Adrian Peterson will want to get back to form after rushing for a total of only 90 yards across the past two games. On the other side of the ball, James Starks is back to possible spell Eddie Lacy in the ground game, while the Packers defense looks to maintain their dominance at the line.

Today’s captains for the Packers: - C/G Evan Dietrich-Smith, DT Johnny Jolly, K Mason Crosby.

 

Inactives for today:

The following players have been declared as inactive for tonight’s game between the Green Bay Packers and the Minnesota Vikings.

Green Bay PackersGreen Bay Packers
25 CB James Nixon
52 LB Clay Matthews
53 LB Nick Perry
59 LB Brad Jones
82 TE Ryan Taylor
88 TE Jermichael Finley
89 WR James Jones

Starting lineup changes: 81 Andrew Quarless will start at TE in place of Finley, 11 Jarrett Boykin at WR for J. Jones, 96 Mike Neal at OLB for Perry, 55 Andy Mulumba at OLB for Matthews, and 57 Jamari Lattimore at ILB for B. Jones.

Minnesota Vikings
12 QB Josh Freeman
27 CB Shaun Prater
40 FB Rhett Ellison
44 RB Matt Asiata
60 G Jeff Baca
83 WR Rodney Smith
91 DT Chase Baker

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Mike McCarthy Pregame Show on 620 WTMJ:

Recent success in Metrodome: Communication, verbal and visual. Have to be able to overcome it, especially in big situations.

Rivalries for fans vs. players: Players and coaches still feel rivalry. Not beneficial to get involved in emotions of it. Need to play emotionally, mentally disciplined.

Finley’s health: He’s getting better. Testing is still going on. No timetable at this point.

Bush, Hayward returning: Always want them involved on special teams. How Vikings play will determine Hayward’s participation.

James Starks returning: Would like to get him involved tonight.

5

January

Packers vs. Vikings – Game Day First Impressions, Unfiltered: GB 24 MIN 10

Erik Walden

Erik Walden

Green Bay Packers vs. Minnesota Vikings:

My unfitered game day running blog post of comments, observations and first impressions.

Inactive for Packers today:  WR Jarrett Boykin; CB Davon House; RB James Starks;LB Frank Zombo; WR Donald Driver; DT Jordan Miller; DE Jerel Worthy

Inactive for Vikings today:  QB Christian Ponder, WR Stephen Burton, OT Troy Kropog, DE George Johnson, DE D’Aundre Reed, LB Tyrone McKenzie, CB Brandon Burton

 

Game Notes:

It’s come to this: inactive for a home playoff game. Gotta feel bad for Donald Driver…

Vikings throw a  monkey wrench into the Packers defensive game plan – Christian Ponder inactive.

Packers are 2-4 in their last six home playoff games. In all six of those game, the opposing team scored on their first possession.

16 of the last 21 Packers – Vikings games have been decided by seven points or less.

———————————————

 

Mike McCarthy Pregame Show on 620 WTMJ:

Ponder: Joe Webb – very athletic QB. Had some time to look at him during the week, even today as it became more apparent he will play.

back-to -back same opponent: In a lot ways, we feel we’ve had 2 weeks to prepare for this game. QB change is an adjustment for our defense.

Stopping AP: Good solid run defense. It’s about us. We’re at home, it’s about the mission we have before us.

Scheme: Run defense is not a one man deal. If you watch our DL line play, they played very well, but it takes a lot more than that. Everybody has to tackle, and they will tonight

Ross: Both Cobb and Ross will get some work in the return game tonight

Offensive Strategy:  We don’t want to be one dimensional. We’re not going to come in here and throw the ball 50 times. That’s not in the best interest of our football team.

Dujuan Harris: He’s going to start tonight as far as getting the first carty and then we’ll see how it goes. it’s all about riding the hot hand.

Special teams coverage: We had one or two individuals who just didn’t do their job properly. I’m confident our play on special teams will be better tonight

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