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Packers 23, Minnesota 16

A record setting day for QB Brett Favre, their eighth straight win (going back to last season), and a 4-0 start. I was concerned about RB Adrian Peterson and he ran all over the Packers, but he was stopped from controlling the game because Minnesota only let him touch the ball 16 times, and only 5 times (2 were kickoff returns) in the 2nd half. On the other side, Favre was able to pass against them, for the second week in a row no serious attempt was made to run the ball until late in the game, and threw for 2 TDs and 344 yards with no turnovers.

First Quarter: The defense struggled, giving up a lot of yards and three big plays over 35 yards and a bunch of plays over 10 yards, but fortunately most of them happened between the 20 yard lines and away from the end zone. I don't believe in the bend-but-don't-break philosophy, only one drive by Minnesota started in Packer territory and mediocre field position helped cover up many defensive mistakes. It was really discouraging to see Favre throw it up for grabs and intercepted deep in Minnesota territory, but luckily it came back on a penalty and he didn't try it again for the rest of the game. Although the run defense struggled in the game, DT Johnny Jolly has part of the defense's success this season, usually starting alongside NT Ryan Pickett and providing a lot more size and holding the point of attack better than last season. Here Jolly recovers a fumble which leads to Favre's record breaking TD pass. WR Donald Driver was shut out in the first quarter, most likely because their best cover CB Antonie Winfield did a good job shutting him down, but Favre found WR Ruvell Martin, TE Donald Lee, and finally WR Greg Jennings on the record breaking TD reception. Both TD passes to Jennings and WR James Jones came against rookie CB Marcus McCauley. It was a bad game for nickel CB Jarrett Bush who was burned on several pass plays and was giving all their receivers a lot of cushion on slant routes.

Second Quarter: The Packers only had two turnovers, but both of them hurt in the game. First was a fumble by TE Donald Lee after a long reception inside the Minnesota 5 yard line would have almost certainly led to a score. There wasn't a lot of defense for either team in the quarter but all the drives ended in either a turnover or a field goal. Unfortunately former Packer/current Minnesota K Ryan Longwell was very accurate, even connecting on all his attempts over 40 yards (which was something he struggled with in his final Packer seasons).

Third Quarter: A promising drive stalls, but then P Jon Ryan runs for a first down on a punt attempt. Was it supposed to be a fake punt? If so, it was a poorly designed fake because he ran straight towards at least three Vikings before cutting back, running into a teammate, and somehow bouncing forward to get the first down. Other than some pressure applied by DE Aaron Kampman in the first half, the pass rush struggled to get a lot of pressure on QB Kelly Holcomb. It improved in the middle of the 3rd quarter when DE KGB blew by LT Bryant McKinnie, forced a Holcomb fumble, and they settled for a field goal instead of a TD opportunity. Favre got a lot of different receivers involved in the game, but it was unexpected how many times he threw to the tight ends. Both Lee and TE Bubba Franks had four receptions, and it was probably the most either of them had been involved in a game in a long time.

Fourth Quarter: Minnesota got its only starting field position in Packer territory after a long kick return by Peterson, but immediately squandered it by losing 9 yards on a running play that was blown apart by multiple Packers penetrating deep into the backfield and eventually it forced Minnesota to punt. The rest of the quarter was taken up mostly by two long TD drives, one by each team. On the Packer TD drive, Favre slowly picked the defense apart until rookie WR James Jones beat McCauley down the sideline for the TD. Unfortunately Minnesota was able to answer with a good drive, despite only letting Peterson catch one pass and in the face of a much improved Packer pass rush. Minnesota rookie WR Sidney Rice beat nickel CB Jarrett Bush on a high pass along the sideline for his first career TD. For the second week in a row, WR Donald Driver came in on the hands team to grab the onside kick, but this time the Packers fumbled it away on offense. The fumble was charged to Favre, but he got it into the hands of RB Ryan Grant but he never had a hold of it. It wasn't a great day for the running backs, RB Vernand Morency fumbled one of his few touches too which fortunately rolled out of bounds. At this point I don't which running back the Packers can trust to hold onto the ball when they need it. But Holcomb couldn't answer and threw an interception to S Atari Bigby who caught it for his first career INT.

Next week the Packers host a reeling Chicago team that lost at Detroit. Not only is their offense struggling badly with replacement QB Brian Griese throwing two INTs in the end zone, but their battered defense just surrendered an NFL record 34 points in the fourth quarter.