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Recap: Packers Offense (Eventually) Runs Over The Vikings

After a dead first quarter, the Green Bay Packers offense exploded for 17 points in the second quarter, creating a deficit that the Vikings came nowhere near matching. I'm not surprised the offense had some success, but I'm really surprised that turnovers, sacks, and/or crowd noise didn't cause them problems. The passing attack has been explosive in their last two games, but the run offense failed to impress in this one.

Four Quarters

In the first quarter, the offense (specifically Rodgers) came out flat. He threw an uncatchable grounder to TE Andrew Quarless on 3rd down, and the inaccuracy continued into the second quarter with a missed 3rd down pass to WR James Jones and a mystery pass deep down the left sideline to no one in particular. It might have been better to have held back on the running plays until he got into a rhythm. But he wasn't helped by RT Bryan Bulaga, who had another poor game and gave up two sacks to DE Ray Edwards. The offense only ran 9 plays for 16 yards in the quarter.

Then at 11:29 in the second quarter, Rodgers completed his first pass to WR Greg Jennings. It was a deep sideline route that he juggled before rambling for 47 yards. It was also the first of many passes that exposed the same weakness in the Vikings secondary that Ray Edwards noticed: CB Asher Allen and CB Chris Cook. That particular drive ended with a game-tying field goal, but the long bomb to Jennings was the play that turned it around for Rodgers. The next drive was an all-pass, 8 play, 80 yard TD drive, followed by another all-pass TD drive with only 1 minute left in the half. The offense blew the game wide open with 193 yards in the quarter.

If the second quarter wasn't enough, the Packers opened the second half with another touchdown drive on a 46 yard pass to Jennings after CB Asher Allen slipped and fell in coverage. The offense slowed down a bit, RB Brandon Jackson and Dimitri Nance combined for 14 yards on 8 carries in the quarter as they looked to milk some clock. 112 yards for the quarter was nice, but holding the ball for almost 10 minutes when the Vikings really needed to get something going on offense was the best part.

There was only 61 yards of offense in the fourth as the Rushin' Russian carried the ball on 9 of their 17 plays in the quarter, and only averaged 2.7 ypc. But as the Vikings lined up to stop the run on a 3rd and 1, a play action fake led to one-on-one coverage for Jennings against Allen and another touchdown pass. Overall it was a career day for Jennings. 

Individual Analysis

QB Aaron Rodgers. This marks his third consecutive game without an INT, though he almost coughed up one on an errant pass near the goal line to Jennings. That streak also includes his only game without a TD (at Jets), but it's notable that they are rolling when he's taking care of the ball.

RB Brandon Jackson. He was a disappointment because he looked a step late when trying to turn the corner. Mike McCarthy believes Jackson can become an every-down back, but he hasn't shown it this season. 

RB Dimitri Nance. In his first extended opportunity, he was asked to run straight ahead when the Vikings were expecting him. He looked better then Jackson, but it wasn't a great opportunity to show what he can do.

WR Greg Jennings. While WR Donald Driver got the attention from Rodgers early, the offense exploded once Jennings got involved. Ever since TE Jermichael Finley was lost for the season, Jennings has powered the offense. 

WR James Jones. This was his 3rd solid performance in his last 4 games, but he's still inconsistent with with two zero catch games in his last five. Nothing to complain about in this one, but he's got to keep it up.