A closer look at Minnesota's 37-34 victory over Green Bay
Offense: Aaron Rodgers
The Green Bay Packers’ quarterback owns the Metrodome. Rodgers threw for 365 yards and four touchdowns on Sunday, upping his total to 11 touchdowns over his past three starts in Minnesota. He was never better than on the drive that tied the game, 27-27, in the fourth quarter. Rodgers went 7 of 8 for 63 yards and finished it off with a back-shoulder throw to Jordy Nelson for the touchdown. Rodgers’ quarterback rating of 131.8 was his third-best of the year and it came despite being sacked five times. It was the third straight game of a rating greater than 100 and his eighth overall this year. The only blemish was a second quarter fumble that the Vikings were eventually able to turn into a touchdown.
Defense: B.J. Raji
Yes, the Minnesota Vikings ran for 217 yards, but Raji continued his strong play. He had four tackles and got credit for two tackles for loss. It seemed every time you looked up, the nose tackle was in the Vikings’ backfield. Raji continually forced the Adrian Peterson to bounce outside. Unfortunately for the Packers, the guys on the outside, including cornerback Tramon Williams, struggled to bring Peterson to the ground. Raji also forced a poor throw by the Vikings’ Christian Ponder in the first half.
Special Teams: Mason Crosby
Is the extended slump for the Green Bay Packers’ kicker over? Having missed eight of nine kicks from more than 50 yards coming in, Crosby drilled a 51-yarder at the end of the first half. He also hit a 40-yarder in the fourth quarter to tie the game. He’s now made four straight kicks, including three from 40 yards or more.
Tweets of the Game
And.. the Bears now hate the Packers more than ever.— trey wingo (@wingoz) December 31, 2012
- ESPN’s Trey Wingo following the Packers loss to the Vikings that knocked Chicago out of playoff contention.
Serves us right for counting on the Packers!— David Axelrod (@davidaxelrod) December 31, 2012
- Former Senior Advisor to President Barack Obama and Chicago-native in response to the Bears being knocked from the playoffs with Green Bay’s loss to Minnesota.
Quote of the Day
"You seen Mike Tyson? It’s one of those. You get knocked down, you have to get right back up. They had the last punch, and they knocked us out. Next week we have to start off and keep our foot on their throat. They played big-time football. I didn’t expect it; that last drive. But they’re a playoff team, and we have to get ready for them. They’re not a pushover at all."
-- Packers’ tight end Jermichael Finley
In Case You Missed It
Green Bay’s season leader in rushing, Alex Green, was active but didn’t play after missing last week with a concussion. Former starting center Jeff Saturday and backup quarterback Graham Harrell were the other active Packers that didn’t get into the game.
The Packers’ all-time leading receiver, Donald Driver, was inactive for a third time this year. He finished the season with 8 catches for 77 yards and 2 touchdowns. That’s his lowest production since his rookie season in 1999 when he had 3 catches for 31 yards and 1 touchdown.
Packers’ receiver Jordy Nelson injured his knee and was listed as questionable to return before catching the touchdown pass from Aaron Rodgers that tied the game late in the fourth quarter.
As a result of Sunday’s game, the Packers and Vikings will matchup in an NFC Wild Card game next Saturday night at Lambeau Field. It’ll be the second time the two rivals have played in the playoffs. Minnesota won the other meeting, 31-17, in 2004 Wild Card game.
Inside the Numbers
409 – The number of yards that Vikings’ running back Adrian Peterson ran for in two games against the Packers this year.
61 – The number of catches for the Packers’ Jermichael Finley this season. That breaks the record for the most receptions by a tight end in a single season in team history. (Paul Coffman, 56, 1979)
72 – The number of rushing yards for the Packers, ending their streak of games where they rushed for more than 100 yards at five.
14 – The number of touchdowns for wide receiver James Jones this season, tied for the fourth most in team history with Antonio Freeman (1998).
21.8 – Percentage of Jones’ 66 catches that went for touchdowns this season, the highest percentage in the NFL.
78.3 – The points increase in Vikings’ quarterback Christian Ponder’s passer rating from the teams first meeting on Dec. 2 (41.9) and Sunday’s (120.2) matchup.