Dec 2, 2012; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb (18) is tackled by Minnesota Vikings linebacker Jasper Brinkley (54) after catching a pass during the first quarter at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-US PRESSWIRE

Vikings At Packers Aftermath: Finding Ways To Win

Dec 2, 2012; Green Bay, WI, USA; Minnesota Vikings players line up for a play during the third quarter against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-US PRESSWIRE

The Packers come away from their game with the Vikings with a 23-14 victory. The victory was costly. RT T.J. Lang left the game with an apparent ankle injury and was replaced by Don Barclay. WR Jordy Nelson went out with a hamstring. They get one back, They lose one. If this keeps up they’ll be down to nothing but UFAs and practice squad players on the field.

I thought the game started out very well. A well-executed first drive ending with the touchdown pass to James Jones and then three-and-out to start the game on defense. Things went downhill from there until the fourth quarter.

The Packers made just enough plays to win this game. They found a way to win it. If this is the tone they wanted to set we’re in for a painful last four games of the season.

Lots to go through from this one, so let’s get to it.

Chest Bumps and Thumps from Vikes at Pack:

December 2, 2012; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers safety Morgan Burnett (42) intercepts a pass intended for Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph (82) at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-US PRESSWIRE

Chest Bump - Morgan Burnett for his two picks in the game. They came at critical times. The first in the end zone after Peterson had put them in position for another TD on their first possession of the third quarter. The second came with the Vikings looking to come back and tie the game in the end of the third quarter. Nice job 42.

Thump - Tackling. The TV commentators mentioned it multiple times. It was painfully obvious. Tackling was sub-standard in this game. Not the whole game, but enough of it that the Packers, especially the LBs and DBs, need to concentrate on it. Again.

Chest Bump - Packers offense. For maintaining possession for nearly 2 to 1 on the clock. 38:30 of possession for the Packers will never be a bad thing. Having the ball for nearly all of the fourth quarter almost certainly decided this game.

Thump - Packers offense for going into a mid-game funk that they looked like they wouldn’t get out of. Between the Vikings’ first touchdown early in the second quarter and the defensive stop after Rodgers’ interception in the third quarter really the entire team looked like they were running on ice.

Chest Bump - A.J. Hawk. Hawk once again led the team in tackling and I didn’t see him make any obvious defensive mistakes. Another steady, under-the-radar performance by 50.

Thump - Penalties. 78 yards. Now admittedly I thought a couple of the calls were phantoms, and Mike McCarthy definitely took issue with a couple of them, too. Even without those the team really hurt themselves today. When will the Packers make this a point of emphasis and consistently play cleaner ball? Hopefully soon.

DEc 2, 2012; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers running back James Starks (44) scores on a 22 yard touchdown run in the 3rd quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-US PRESSWIRE

Chest Bump - Packers RBs. James Starks looked powerful if not elusive and seemed to have the second gear going when he needed it. His 22-yard TD in the fourth quarter ended up being very important. He also had some strong runs to pick up first downs and in general looked like he stayed strong all game. Alex Green had a couple of nice runs as well. Packers RBs generated 139 yards in this one.

Thump - Packers run defense. They were gashed by Adrian Peterson for more than 200 yards. I’ve seen better tackling at the Junior High School level. The Packers must improve in this area or they won’t go anywhere but home for the offseason fast if they do make the playoffs.

Thump then Chest Bump - Mason Crosby. He started off rocky, doinking (successfully) his first attempt and missing his second entirely.  Then he settled down and delivered. Did we witness the beginning of the end of his slump today, or was his performance a fluke? Time will tell … assuming the Packers haven’t run out of patience with him. One thing’s for certain though – the ovation for his 47-yarder in the third quarter was the loudest heard at Lambeau so far this season.

Chest Bump - Packers receivers. Jones came up big with his sick TD catch and some other possession -maintaining grabs. Jennings got involved and made the most of his opportunities. Cobb was Cobb – steady, reliable, and had some big receptions, too. You can’t keep giving up ground on returns though 18! Even Finley had a good game, although he needs to celebrate after scores or the end of the game – not every time he makes a first down.

Aug 30, 2012; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers guard Don Barclay (67) during the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Lambeau Field. The Packers defeated the Chiefs 24-3. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-US PRESSWIRE

Chest Bump - Don Barclay. He came in to replace Lang when he went down with the ankle and held his own. He owned a couple of penalties the team didn’t need, but he made up for them with effective blocks on some key plays – most notably the pass to Cobb near the end of the long drive in the fourth quarter. Barclay got credit for allowing Rodgers to escape the pocket and make the throw. If Lang’s ankle is serious expect to see more of 67 at RT.

Here are the insightful tweets I broadcasted to the entire world during the game. Unfortunately they start at the end of the game, but I have included them to frame the comments made above. Enjoy.

- Packers win 23-14. Not pretty and quite costly but effective.

- The Packers have GOT to find a way to be able to pick up 10 yards on three running plays.

- 9 completed passes for the Vikes today? Lots of run yardage though. Peterson is a beast. (they ended up with 12 completed passes)

- Vikes were moving the ball. D bent but didn’t break. Vike FG wide right and Pack takes over.

- Somebody ELSE misses a FG at Lambeau! Pack still up 23-14 with 1:56 left. One first down and it’s over?

- Crosby MAKES ANOTHER FG to put the Pack up 23-14. Used a bunch of clock on that drive … like more than ten minutes. Dagger? We’ll see.

- Rodgers would have gotten five back but EDS moves first.

- Nobody but Rodgers makes that play. Nobody. (pass on the move to Cobb for first down).

- Judging by his antics afterward, Finley gets his first first down. Ever. Act like you’ve been there before 88!

- Scares the crap out of me every time he runs but 12 picks up the 1st down with his feet.

- Better not to bobble 85…but we’ll take it as long as you end up catching it.

- Kuhn with another phantom holding call. Refs representin’ today.

- Love watching Packers RBs pick up first downs. Don’t care how far they have to run to do it.

- Burnett with his second pick of the game. Couldn’t have come at a better time. O needs to drive for about 8 or 9 minutes of clock now.

- Refs are killing this game. Read Mike’s lips and you know how he feels about it (after the Williams PF penalty).

- Defense fails to get home and Ponder escapes. Then more crappy tackling. D is getting owned right now.

- Defense needs to step up and TACKLE!

- A Packers rushing TD! Gyros spinning, feeling disoriented…world rocked! Starks looked good on that run!

- Green looks good on a couple of runs…and then a pass to Jennings all alone on the sideline for the 1st. Nice sequence so far.

- Didn’t look like they stopped Peterson on 3rd and 1 but spot helped. Barely missed blocking punt. Pack in good field pos but must execute!

- Gadget play goes south fast. Rodgers didn’t put enough on the ball downfield and it’s picked off. Momentum changer? Probably.

- Hayward with a nice pass defensed on 1st down…the Burnett actually stops Peterson. Nice defense on 3rd down by House and we’re 3 and out.

December 2, 2012; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers kicker Mason Crosby (2) reacts after kicking a field goal during the game against the Minnesota Vikings in the 4th quarterat Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-US PRESSWIRE

- And Mason Crosby MAKES it from 47!!!!!! Pack down 14-13.

- Nice catch by Jennings for the first down. Looking good while being “phased in”.

- Kuhn comes through with a nice catch and short run for the 1st down, O still looks like they’re flailing though.

- Nice first down pass to Jones by Rodgers but where is the quick strike passing game? No Nelson no savvy?

- Burnett almost redeems himself for the crappy tackling with a pick in the end zone.

- Nothing at all illegal about that illegal block in the back during Peterson’s long run! (no flag).

- Has Crosby hit bottom yet? KO OOB? C’mon man!

- Crosby misses. How do they keep him anymore? Vikes up 14-10 at the half. Time to chow.

KUUUUHHHHHHNNNN! (sorry…can’t resist).

- Cobb effectively kills Pack O chances to put points on board before the half (backtracking too far and getting trapped).

- Pack O imploding. Rodgers won’t survive the rest of the season without better O line play.

- Peterson breaks crappy Packers tackling and runs 82 yards for a TD. Vikes up 14-10. Packers crappy tackling is killing them.

- Lang goes down with an apparent ankle. Anybody have Tootie Robbins’ number?

- Another manageable third and short…blown via downfield pass. Cry havoc and release the running game!

- Gotta love free plays!

- Hate the spin move in the backfield Starks! Run the ball to daylight…or at least straight ahead at the hole.

- House no-call makes up for Lang holding call?

- Nice pass defensed by House. Vikes will whine but he got the job done.

- Kuhn doesn’t get the yard on 3rd and 1. Pack O has to find a way to be successful on that down and distance!

Dec 2, 2012; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers wide receiver Greg Jennings (85) tries to make a diving catch as Minnesota Vikings cornerback A.J. Jefferson (24) defends during the second quarter at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-US PRESSWIRE

- Welcome back 85! (after Jennings’ first catch).

- Somebody had better play pass defense on Rudolph. Any Viking who does the Leap deserves to be shut down.

- Vikes score to make it 10-7 Pack with 12:18 left 2nd quarter. TD pass should have been broken up by Jones but he never looked for the ball.

- Peterson will take this game over if Pack D lets him.

- Pack up 10-0 at end of the first quarter. Vikes moving the ball now. Time for a big play D!

- Waiting for refs to flag Vikes T Kalil for being a complete turd after the whistle. Cheap shots after plays will cost him sooner or later.

- Well at least he didn’t miss it. Crosby puts 3 up to put the Packers ahead 10-0 with 4:00 left in quarter 1.

- Nelson out…probably his ankle again. NO hold on Lang. Officials bone the Pack again!

- I think we have a chip sighting on Rodgers’ shoulder.

- Rodgers draws Vikes offside again…to save a really bad looking play.

- Nice conversion for Rodgers- escapability and Crabtree- tenacity.

- Kuhn on first and ten? I thought we learned not to do that already. Love Kuhn but use his strengths MM.

- Nice defensive series and good 3rd down pass breakup but Burnett HAS to catch that pass!

- Rodgers is the undisputed master of the free play. Missed the one to Nelson but there will be another one in this game.

- Great start for Pack O…good runs and good passes. Keep it up O line! Pack up 7-0 after TD pass to Jones..

- Cobb forced to do his Exorcist spinning head imitation from a PF facemask…no flag.

- Kuhn showcases his agility by missing the official’s first down signal.

Want to see these every week? Let me know.

Recapping predictions made and missed from the pregame analysis piece is as easy as it is painful. Nailed the number of picks but not by whom. Cratered the yards for Peterson. Close on the total rush yards for the Packers. Cratered pretty much everything else. Limit Adrian Peterson indeed. He had his third 200+ yard game of his career against the “vaunted” Packers run defense. Can I get another mulligan? If I blow that many next week I’ll retire!

Next week the Packers host the Lions on Sunday night. Is anybody expecting Suh not to do something egregiously nasty and then deny it to everybody who is still gullible enough to listen to anything he says?

Coupled with the Bears and Lions losses today, the Packers (8-4*) are still tied with the Bears (8-4) with tie breakers in Green Bay’s favor. The Packers still control their own destiny. They win the rest of their games- especially the remaining division games against Detroit, Chicago, and Minnesota and they’re in the playoffs. Lose any of them and things get complicated. Let’s keep things simple Packers!

Bring on the Lions! Go Pack GO!

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