Lacy, Green Bay Packers grind out win versus rival Vikings


After two consecutive weeks of 50+ points offensively, the Green Bay Packers high-octane offense was (somewhat) stymied in Minnesota Sunday afternoon.

Lacy ran hard and gained most of his yards after contact (another statement to which we have become accustomed), grinding out yardage where he could get it and moving the chains.

Packers Nation was undoubtedly expecting big numbers from Aaron Rodgers, Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb – a safe bet after their collective success since the bye week.

All three men had a mediocre day (by statistical standards). Nelson and Cobb were both reliable, hauling in 60-ish a piece of Aaron Rodgers’ 209-passing yards on the day. Though those numbers don’t necessarily leap off the page, the Packers’ offense was still able to grind out yards, convert the needed plays and score enough to win the game in the end.

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) passes against the Green Bay Packers in the fourth quarter at TCF Bank Stadium. The Green Bay Packers win 24-21. Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports photograph

Under rookie QB Teddy Bridgewater, who was inactive the last time the Vikings met the Packers at Lambeau, the Vikings offense was that gnat that just won’t go away. They generally matched points with Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense, adjusted at halftime well enough to exploit some holes in the defense and was able to pull out a long touchdown drive within 4 minutes of the games’ end – topped off with a 2-point conversion to come within 3 points.

Throughout the day, the Vikings defense wasn’t too shabby, either.

They were playing two-high safeties all day long, eliminating the “big play” mentality to which we have become accustomed. Nelson and Cobb weren’t able to gain a whole lot of up-the-field separation – leading to Rodgers and Co. eventually leaning hard on running back Eddie Lacy and his brute strength.

While the Packers were getting away from the run game through most of the year, challenging defenses behind Rodgers’ arm strength and giving Lacy his touches on check downs and sweeps, the Packers dedicated to the run game, exploiting Minnesota and their porous run defense.

Lacy ran hard and gained most of his yards after contact (another statement to which we have become accustomed), grinding out yardage where he could get it and moving the chains.

Green Bay Packers safety Micah Hyde intercepts a pass during the second quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at TCF Bank Stadium. Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports photograph

Lacy was so dynamic; he contributed 2 touchdowns (1 rushing, 1 receiving) and 125 yards from the line of scrimmage, on 25 carries.

He muscled his way in for a 1-yard touchdown and followed it up with a 10-yard tackle-breaking-fest that went for six more. With Lacy as a constant behind Rodgers, the offensive possibilities are really endless.

The Packers defense played the run well, but allowed Teddy Bridgewater a game to remember. Though Micah Hyde did pick up another interception, Bridgewater threw for his first multiple TD game, 210 yards and generally had open receivers that just couldn’t haul the ball in.

He connected with both of the former Green Bay Packers (Greg Jennings and Charles Johnson) for touchdowns, adding just a hint of salt to the wound.

Rallying from an 11-point deficit, the Vikings were able to pull within a field goal of the Packers, with just over 3 minutes to go.

The Packers offense was faced with a “hold the ball” scenario, which was made easier behind 230 pounds of Eddie Lacy. With two opportunities to stop the clock, the Vikings took timeouts before and after the two-minute warning but we unable to put the cork in Lacy, as he rumbled for two big first downs.

The Packers were able to run out the clock and put the kibosh on Bridgewater’s salvation attempt in Minnesota.

With that win and a Detroit loss to the powerhouse Patriots – the Packers are now in sole possession of the NFC North lead.

However, the Patriots are now traveling to Lambeau for a battle of the elite QBs next week: Rodgers versus Brady.

The headlines are so juicy, they pretty much write themselves …