Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 12/3/12
Two red zone interceptions spoiled the 210-yard performance by Adrian Peterson on the ground. Green Bay was able to hold Minnesota scoreless in the second half with those two interceptions while putting up 13 unanswered points for the 23-14 victory.Green Bay improves to 8-4 and takes over first place in the NFC North with the Chicago Bears loss to Seattle today. Minnesota falls to 6-6 but is not as bad a team as I thought they would be this season and head coach Leslie Frazier agrees."We can win with the personnel that we have," Frazier said. "We've shown that we can. We just have to do a few things better. There's no reason to panic."If not for the two interceptions the game may have had a very different outcome. "As we walked into the tunnel, Everson Griffen was behind me talking. He was like, `Why does it feel like we won? But we're leaving here with a loss," Peterson said. "That's the type of feeling it was. We know that it's things that we did that cost us the game."Green Bay started the scoring, as they often do, on their first drive. Rodgers threw a jump ball to James Jones in the end zone from 32 yards out. Jones was able to elevate above the Viking defender for the 7-0 lead.Green Bay extended the lead when Mason Crosby hit a 30-yard field goal following a 12 play 52-yard drive that consumed 5:56 of the first quarter. Packer fans are familiar with the struggles of Crosby since week three to the present and this field goal doinked off the upright and through for the three points.Crosby would later miss a 53-yard attempt as the clock expired to end the first half. In the third quarter head coach Mike McCarthy lined up to go for it on 4th-and-7 instead of give Crosby the chance from 47 yards away. But Minnesota called timeout and McCarthy changed his mind and Crosby snuck the 47-yard attempt just inside the uprights. Crosby also kicked the opening second half kickoff out of bounds but did end the game 3-of-4 on field goals.The Vikings got on the board in the second quarter when Christian Ponder hit Kyle Rudolph for a 7-yard score. The drive went 75 yards, Adrian Peterson accounted for 40 of those yards on the ground.Peterson gave Minnesota the lead mid-way through the second quarter when Peterson ran 82 yards to pay dirt. Both Packer safeties, Morgan Burnett and M.D. Jennings, missed tackles allowing the long run. 14-10 Minnesota was the score after the touchdown and at halftime.The first play of the second quarter started with Burnett missing another tackle allowing Peterson to break free for another long run. This one of 48 yards down to the the Packer 12-yard line.. After another Peterson run Burnett made up for his missed tackle with an interception in the end zone."I thought Morgan Burnett's interception in the third quarter in the end zone was the key play of game," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. "It shifted the momentum."Minnesota was not able to generate any offense after this. Until Adrian Peterson busted another long run of 23-yards featuring another Packer missed tackle. After a Tramon Williams penalty for helmet-to-helmet on Toby Gerhardt on an incompletion, Burnett stretched out in front of Rudolph for his second interception. This one at the green Bay 9-yard line.Two 3rd quarter red zone trips for Minnesota and two Burnett interceptions prevented any Viking points.But Green Bay was able to generate offense. The Packers took their first drive 51 yards on 12 plays leading to the aforementioned 47-yard Crosby field goal. Closing the gap to 14-13.The Packers tried a trick play that ended with Rodgers under throwing the well covered Greg Jennings that was intercepted at the Viking 6-yard line.Minnesota gained 9 yards before an awful punt gave Green Bay the ball back at their own 49-yard line. Three plays later James Starks ran around right end for a 22-yard touchdown and a 20-14 Packer lead. It was the Packers first rushing touchdown since October 7th.The Packers put the game away with the longest drive, by time, of the entire NFL season. The 18 play 73-yard drive chewed up 11 minutes of the fourth quarter and led to Crosby's third field goal, and the final score of the game.Rodgers finished 27-of-35 for 286 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, and a 98.0 passer rating.Starks lead the team with 60 yards on 15 carries and the touchdown. Alex Green received 12 carries and managed 58 yards.Randall Cobb and Jermichael Finley both grabbed six balls for 62 and 60 yards. In his first game back after missing seven games Greg Jennings lead the team in targets with 8, catching four for 46 yards.Peterson gained those 210 yards on 21 carries with one touchdown.Ponder was an atrocious 9-of-21 for 92 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT, and a 32.3 passer rating. At one point Ponder was 0-for-7 with two interceptions and hadn't completed a pass in 38 minutes of game time.Kyle Rudolph ended up with 6 catches for 51 yards and a touchdown. No other Viking surpassed 25 yards or two catches.Packer game summary.GOOD:Obviously another victory is good. Another balanced attack is a must with 35 passes to 32 hand-offs the coaching staff has shown they are willing to stick with the run.Rodgers completed passes to nine different receivers and was 77.1% efficient. Rodgers had decent time to throw today on most passing plays, even after the T.J. Lang injury early in the game.Two red-zone interceptions.Greg Jennings returned after missing seven games.BAD:Another injury, this time to Lang, hopefully isn't serious enough for him to miss much time.Jordy Nelson also left early with an injury.Rodgers continues to be hesitant. While Rodgers leads the league in passer rating he seems really reluctant to take those shots down field, even with guys open. Almost as if he doesn't trust himself. He most certainly doesn't trust his offensive line, being quick to run out of the pocket when anyone gets even close. Perhaps this isn't a bad, given the record. But what would the game have looked like without those two interceptions?Awful tackling, allowing 210 yards on the ground to Peterson.Coaching decisions have me perplexed: Starks is clearly better then Green. Without a huge hole Green cannot gain many yards. He has no vision or patience. Why is Green getting so much playing time? Casey Hayward is clearly better than Davon House, (and Tramon Williams in my opinion). So why is House starting over him? Hayward has easily bested him in play on the field. So much so that announcer Joe Buck said Ponder would be looking to "pick-on" number 31, which is House. A superior quarterback in Eli Manning took full advantage of House a week ago, even if Ponder couldn't today. And finnally the decision to stick with Crosby. He is clearly struggling and not just for a week or two, but for the last eight weeks! After starting a perfect 5-of-5, including a 54 yarder, he is 10 for his last 19.
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