Friday, October 03, 2014

Packers stomp Vikings 42-10 in Thursday night blowout

This was the Green Bay Packers team we've been expecting to see: prolific on offense, both rushing and passing, and dominant on defense. This was the Pack's first real complete game of the 2014 NFL season. It came at the expense of the Minnesota Vikings who were without their All-Pro MVP running back, Adrian Peterson, and their potentially outstanding rookie QB, Teddy Bridgewater.

But on this night, on the hallowed turf of Lambeau Field, it probably wouldn't have mattered much who the ViQueens had available. The Packers had the pedal to the metal from the get-go, jumping out to a large lead seemingly at will. It wasn't perfect; there were still a few more three-and-outs than you might like to see. But the positives were there, especially run blocking that enabled Eddie Lacy to have his first 100-yard-plus rushing game of the season and two touchdowns. Lacy had had 132 total yards, including 105 on the ground in just 13 carries. He and his offensive line were apparently tired of hearing all the fan and media questions about the running game. They provided a solid answer on this night. This early run from Lacy set the tone for the evening...
Eddie Lacy with the big gain!

Packers QB Aaron Rodgers threw his 200th career touchdown pass, this one to rookie WR Davante Adams. Coincidentally, this was Adams' first career NFL TD reception; he, not Rodgers, got to keep the ball. There was also an earlier 66-yard TD pass on play-action to Jordy Nelson who does nothing but continue to be the league's leading receiver in yardage and receptions.

But perhaps the biggest and nicest surprise of the evening for Packer fans was the dominant play of the defense. Going back to the Chicago game on Sunday, the Packers defense actually played five quarters of shut-out football. In the end, they held Minnesota to just 10 points, all put up basically in garbage time in the fourth quarter. For a defense rated dead last in the league against the rush, it stopped two very good running backs who the prior game had combined for more than 200 yards rushing. The defense also generated three turnovers on the night, ultimately turning them into 14 points. Seven of those points were direct, courtesy of a roughly 50-yard interception return for a touchdown by veteran LB Julius Peppers.

The Packers have now completed half of their division schedule for the season, finishing with a 2-1 record in this stretch, the only blemish being the loss at Detroit. Next up are the Dolphins in Miami a week from Sunday. The schedule until the bye week seems favorable overall in terms of opposing teams' records.

These are the Packers we hope to see week in and week out. If that turns out to be the case, the division championship is once again in sight, as is a deep run into the playoffs and...well, let's not jinx it. :-)

Go Pack Go!!!