Minnesota had just scored a touchdown and converted a two-point conversion, crawling to within three points of the Green Bay Packers. After Mike Neal’s late hit on quarterback Teddy Bridgewater on the two-point try, the Vikings would be kicking off from the 50-yard line. At that point, an on-side kick made perfect sense.
Instead, Vikings coach Mike Zimmer decided to pin the Packers deep, challenging his defense to stop the Packers ground attack, get the ball back and try to tie or win the game. Neither of the final two scenario’s took place because the Packers never gave the ball back.
The Vikings couldn’t stop Eddie Lacy and the Packers offensive line. When the Packers got the ball back, Lacy rushed five straight times for a total of 27 yards and the Packers salted away the victory.
Nobody knew until after the game, but Lacy rushed 25 times for 125 yards while under the weather. It had to be that way. The Vikings decided to play both safeties deep, an attempt to take away the Packers top receivers Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb. That part of Minnesota’s plan worked. The Vikings allowed the two receivers to combined for 126 yards and no touchdowns.
But for every action, there’s a reaction. Take the Packers passing game away and you force Mike McCarthy to win with the running game. Eddie Lacy proved he could fill that void last season when Aaron Rodgers went down for a half of a season with an injury. He proved it again yesterday. Lacy scored the Packers first touchdown on a 1-yard dive over the pile and finished the Packers scoring with a receiving touchdown.
In the end, the Vikings couldn’t get the stop they needed and rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater was all over the place with his passes in the first half and didn’t settle down until the second half.
What’s concerning for the Packers is they allowed Bridgewater to move the Vikings 79-yards for a touchdown and 2-point conversion, instead of coming up with a stop to seal the win.
In the end though, the Packers needed to win a game in a different fashion. It wasn’t going to be another blowout like most expected. It had to be done via the grind-it-out variety. And most players after the game seemed to think it was the kind of win that does them some good.
The Vikings had a chance to take the lead in the game. It came in the third quarter but Bridgewater’s pass was off-target to wide out Charles Johnson, who was a draft pick of the Packers last season.
Bridgewater said he found out what this Packers/Vikings rivalry is all about. He didn’t play in the first meeting because of an ankle injury.
The Packers moved into sole possession of first place in the NFC North with the win and Detroit’s loss to the New England Patriots on Sunday. The Packers now get ready to face the Patriots at Lambeau Field this coming Sunday in what many are looking at as a Super Bowl preview.