Why they won: Green Bay Packers overpowers Minnesota

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Nov 22, 2015; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback

Teddy Bridgewater

(5) is sacked by Green Bay Packers defensive end

Datone Jones

(95) during the third quarter at TCF Bank Stadium. The Packers defeated the Vikings 30-15. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Return of the Sack

During the 6-0 start to the season, Green Bay had one of the better defenses in the league in terms of generating pressure; they accumulated at least one sack in every game as part of a 46-game streak (which was a franchise-best and at-the-time longest current streak in the league) while racking up 23 sacks overall in a 6-0 start.

Then everything fell apart.

For three weeks, we saw this defense fail to get any pressure, and it was evident in the sack column: there were zero in three games (all losses). Things were not looking good, and everything since the bye week pointed to the Packers continuing to struggle at making anything positive happen with their pass rush.

Apparently they were just playing possum.

The defense was wrecking havoc on the Vikings’ line all afternoon. They jumped back into the sack department big-time with 6 of them; Datone Jones grabbed two and Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix, Julius Peppers, Nate Palmer and Mike Daniels each got one.

The sacks are the biggest area of note, but there are some other spots that further show the dominance of the pass defense for the unit.

There were eight tackles for loss (D. Jones & Clay Matthews two each, Clinton-Dix, Letroy Guion, Peppers, and Daniels one each). There were also 10 quarterback hits (D. Jones got four, Peppers got two, and Palmer, Clinton-Dix, Daniels, and Casey Hayward one each).

The offense’s struggles may be what we focused on the most during the losing streak, but the play of the defense matters just as much at the end of the day. They’ve shown more often than not this year that getting pressure with the pass rush is something they can do; it’s just a matter of consistently making it a reality on the field. They managed that and then some on Sunday.

Green Bay will need more efforts like that in the coming weeks.

Next: Run Defense