Ball Control, O-Line Adjustments Keys to Pack Victory Over Vikes
After three looks at the Vikings game, (live, sideline tape and end zone tape,) yours truly is still most impressed with the Packers ability to possess the ball, as in 38 and a half minutes worth. That's a lot of time for Adrian Peterson to be sitting helpless on the bench and it also says the Packers were converting third downs, moving the chains, and in general, executing offensively. The crowning glory of those efforts, opening the 4th quarter with an 11 minute drive.
Also of note, the Packers 152 yards on the ground and their four-plus average, and that was against a defense that came in ranked 7th in average gain per rush. It was also with a "revamped," revamped (again) offensive line. The latest injury replacement, Don Barclay, did a good job in the running game, and when it came to pass protection, Mike McCarthy played it smart. During Barclay's first couple series, he gave him running back help or a tight end to his side, allowing the rookie to get settled down and gain some confidence. The tapes showed the overall protection, both his and the entire o-line's, was more than adequate against a good group.
Defensively, when Peterson broke his big runs, there was a break-down at the line of scrimmage, i-e gap control, followed by missed tackles down-field. Fortunately, the pass coverage was excellent most of the day, as Christian Ponder's 41-point-9 QB rating would suggest. Morgan Burnett's first interception may have turned the tide of the entire game.
Good team win to be sure, but as is so often the case, Green Bay enjoyed a huge advantage at the most important position, quarterback, and as has been so often the case, you could make a pretty strong argument Aaron Rodgers was the winning difference.