Review: Vikings Beat Packers 38-26

Guest Senior Writer John C. Redfern @ http://lombardiave.com

Summary: Former Packer QB Favre three for 244 yards & 4 touchdowns leading the Vikings past the Packers 38-26. After an awful first-half start, QB Rodgers led a furious comeback throwing 261 yards and 3 touchdowns. In the end, in a litmus test against a strong NFC team, the Packers failed and repeated ongoing game issues of poor execution, protection breakdown, dreadful rushing, and untimely penalties

Video Highlights: NFL. ESPN. Fox.   CBS.

Game Reviews: Favre sweeps Packers out of the way. He Came, He Threw, He Conquered. Favre throws four TDs in victorious return to Lambeau.

Game Ball: 1. TE Havner 2. QB Rodgers 3. WR Jennings. 4. NT Pickett.

Quotes:

1. Bud Lea, a longtime sportswriter who was born and raised in Green Bay and started covering the team in 1954, said he’d never seen anything like it. “It’s surreal,” Lea said.

2. Former Packer QB Lynn Dickey likened the rift to a divorce. The couple is still in the bitter, feuding stage. “In the big picture, he’ll be back here retiring his jersey and people will love him,” Dickey said. “Everything will be forgotten in a few years.”

3. CB Woodson: I think it was disappointing for a lot of people. It’s just a loss, but I think a lot of people really wanted this one bad. We let a lot of people down today. That’s what we are. Right now we can’t win the big game.

4. Coach Philbin: We were out of balance, out of rhythm, out of tempo. Just did not play well in the first half. Didn’t have them ready to execute and we didn’t make plays. Not good enough.

5. Lesson–life, character, & winning equate intangibles:Once we added Brett, everybody came together and got even closer,” DT Williams said. “He brings a mentality that’s old school–that everything’s OK, so just have fun with it. We take our job seriously, but we ain’t stressing.”  Added TE Shiancoe, “He brings structure, a sense of accomplishment, a sense of winning. When they got back in the game and things tightened up, he kept his composure and was collected–you need that from your offensive leader, ‘cause it’s contagious. He’s not panicking, so the young guys aren’t.”

Report Card Grades–Good, Bad, & Ugly:

Pass Offense—C. In the ugly first half, the Packers had a net 47 yards for total offense. QB Rodgers has 5 passes for 11 for just 38 yards and 4 sacks.  At the first half, the Packers trailed 17-3. In the second half, Rodgers settled down leading a good comeback, but it wasn’t enough as the Packer came up short.  As one reviewer wrote:

After a furious comeback, the Packers trailed, 31-26, and faced second and 3 at the Minnesota 28 with 6:26 left. The game was there for taking. On third and 8, Rodgers was very well-protected. Instead of hitting open receivers James Jones short or Greg Jennings to the left, Rodgers went deep down the left sideline and the pass to Donald Driver never had a chance to be completed.

While facing an intense pass rush, he completed 26 for 41 passes for 287 yards, 3 touchdowns, no interceptions, six sacks, and a 108.5 passer rating. He rushed 5 times for 52 yards. LT Lang and RT Barbre struggled giving up numerous sacks. Veterans LT Clifton and LT Tauscher stood on the sidelines watching the surreal spectacle. WR Jennings had 8 receptions for 88 yards. WR Driver had 6 receptions for 63 yards. WR Jones had a key catch for 42 yards.  Backup TE Havner had another great day with 2 receptions for 21 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Rush Offense—D. The offensive line lost the battle in the trenches. Led by QB Rodgers, Packers rushed 19 times for 90. Finding few open lanes, RB Grant had only 10 carries for 30 yards. While the run game is struggling, if handoffs become an issue, there’s a problem.

Pass Defense—D. Vikings QB Favre looked invincible. He completed 17 of 28 passes for 244 yards, 4 touchdowns, no sacks, and no interceptions. For a 40 year old man, Favre outmaneuvered the Packers’ pass rush to lead crucial game winning drives. As a reviewer summed up:

The lack of pressure on Favre compared to the pressure on Rodgers was laughable. Some of it was due to the differences in the offensive lines. Lang/Barbre did nothing to alleviate the concerns that Thompson did not have a very good plan in place to replace Clifton/Tauscher. Favre’s most underrated skill set: his ability to sense pressure in the pocket and move it around with slight adjustments, helping his linemen keep in front of the rushers.

Caper’s 3-4 blitz scheme was ineffective against the veteran Favre who read the too early blitzes and the disguised blitzes.  In another bad sign, one Packers headline said, “Defense vents frustration again: Jenkins says players are handcuffed by system.”

Rush defense—B-. The Vikings had 32 carries for 111 yards averaging 3.5. RB Peterson rushed 25 times for 97 yards averaging 3.9 yards and one touchdown. The front seven had a good game, but it wasn’t enough giving up big plays.

Special teams—D. The kickoff coverage had a disastrous day. The Vikings starting four drives at their own 30-yard line, one at the Packers 38, and one at the Packers 14. Vikings WR/KR Harvin stole the spotlight with a combined 261 offensive yards.  He average 35 yards on returns with two game-changers led to touchdowns.  K Crosby was 2 for 3 in field goals. P Kapinos had 5 punts averaging 43.2 yards.

Coaching—D. Outcoached, Outclassed, & Outplayed. If the team cannot win big home games, the team has serious issues. In two games against the Vikings, the Packers allowed 68 points and 14 sacks. Penalties are killing the Packers. Also, these type of games get people fired. The lack of execution, discipline, special teams coverage, and winning games point to both Coach McCarthy and GM Thompson. In the red zone, they were only 3 for 5.  In 3rd down efficiency, they were 7 for 16.  In 4th down efficiency, they were 0 for 1.

Overall Game—D. The team looked too tight with the prime time stage looking too big for them. At 4-3, the Packers are just an above average good team dominating poor teams, playing good against equal teams, and looking awful against elite teams.

CTV Good, Bad, & Ugly: Good–Pickett, Barnett & Havner; Bad–Barbre, Grant & Slocum; Ugly–McCarthy.

Rodgers vs Favre series: week 8. “Silver Fox” Vikings 7-1.  Packers 4-3.

Commentary: The game was predictable making it hard to watch. The Packers failed another tough home test against the Vikings. Someday, after Favre finally does retire, he will return to Lambeau to a hero’s welcome to retire No. 4. Meanwhile, as the vets know, this Packers team lacks consistent playmakers, has inexperienced players in key positions, and has talent gaps raising management issues.  As bloggers surmised, GM Thompson and Coach McCarthy had ceded 2009 to be a transition year.

Preview: Easy test against win-less Tampa Bay Buccaneers.


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