Champions win games like this.
But don’t tell Packers running back Eddie Lacy that it was ugly. It was his drive, his spins and his grit that helped Green Bay (8-3) grind out 24-21 win on the road today at TCF Stadium.
Head Coach Mike McCarthy had this to say:
"“This is a very good November win. We needed this game. You have to win close games this time of year.”"
From the beginning, the Packers were in a dogfight; it became apparent early on in this one as the Vikings weren’t about to fall victim to the Packers train that had rolled to consecutive 50-plus wins the past two weeks.
The Vikings defense made the Packers work for every yard, every first down, and every touchdown.
That’s where Eddie Lacy enters the picture.
He was brought to Green Bay to win games in November and December and the second-year player fulfilled that bill today.
Lacy finished with 25 carries for 125 yards and a touchdown on the ground. He also scored on a 13-yard shovel pass from Rodgers that only added to the highlights he is quickly amassing.
Eddie Lacy is tackled by Minnesota Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen (97) during the first quarter at TCF Bank Stadium. Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports photograph
But it was his presence on the Packers final drive inside of two minutes that Lacy stamped his mark. That’s when he bulled his way to two first downs to seal the game for the Packers.
Because of Lacy’s exploits today, it wasn’t incumbent on Aaron Rodgers to win this game. Rodgers was 19-of-29 for 209 yards and two touchdowns. Rodgers again did not throw an interception.
However, it was Lacy and rookie tight end Richard Rodgers who caught Rodgers’ touchdowns today. Rodgers’ came when Aaron Rodgers rolled right and threw all the way across the field to Richard Rodgers, who was standing all alone in the far left corner of the end zone.
As a team, the Packers totaled 362 yards – 209 passing and 155 rushing
The Vikings had 308 yards, 210 passing and 112 rushing.
Minnesota Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is hit by Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews during the second quarter at TCF Bank Stadium. Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports photograph
The Packers defense had its moments today, but had difficulty getting off the field at times, especially in the first half.
Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater used the dunk and dink strategy today, completing 21-of-37 passes for 210 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. The long play for him today came when he hit Charles Johnson for a touchdown after Johnson had badly beaten Packers cornerback Tramon Williams to the end zone.
The Packers, who took over first place all alone atop the NFC North Division with the Detroit Lions’ loss to the New England Patriots, found themselves in a football game today … a close game, against a familiar opponent, in their stadium … It was bound to be a close affair.
Winning the close games, such as this showdown in Minnesota today, is what this Packers team needs at this point.
Champions win games like this. They find ways to win.
Today, the Packers found a way to win.