The Green Bay Packers defeated the Minnesota Vikings on the road, 30-13, to end a three-game losing streak after a strong defensive performance and offensive re-birth (for now).
Despite a good throwing performance, Minnesota quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (25/37, 296 yards) was sacked a total of six times Sunday while the Packers defense also held running back Adrian Peterson in check (only 45 rushing yards). The Vikings forced the Packers to settle for three field goals early, but Green Bay developed a rhythm on the ground and through the air as the game continued.
Running back Eddie Lacy finally gave the Packers running game something, running for a season-high 100 yards on 22 attempts. Starter James Starks only gained 14 yards on eight carries, but added a nice 30-yard reception.
Aaron Rodgers tossed for 212 yards with two scores (Randall Cobb and James Jones were on the receiving end), and although his receivers didn't play perfect by any means, they played slightly better compared to recent weeks. Jones finished with 109 yards on six catches, but Cobb hauled in just two passes for 24 yards after being targeting nine times.
Here's our recap of the entire game in case you missed it:
The Packers scored the first points of the game on a Mason Crosby 42-yard field goal. On their first offensive drive, they went 56 yards on 13 plays before Anthony Barr made a great stop on third down to cut short an Aaron Rodgers competition to tight end Richard Rodgers. Rodgers hit James Jones twice on the drive for 27 yards after not being able to find him for a pass last week against Detroit.
Minnesota would respond on the next drive with a touchdown to give them a 6-3 lead. Teddy Bridgewater sailed a pass near the left sideline right over the head of tight end Kyle Rudolph. Rudolph caught Bridgewater's pass and beat out Micah Hyde as he rumbled down the field 47 yards into the end zone. Hyde sustained a hip injury on the play and needed to be carted off. Blair Walsh would miss the extra point to keep it a three-point contest.
Another third-and-short situation faced the Packers once again, and for the second straight drive, the Vikings made a stop when they needed to. A run to the right by Eddie Lacy went back four yards with Brian Robison preventing the first down this time around. Crosby trotted out and connected on a 47-yard field goal, tying the game at six.
A play after Julius Peppers was on the other end of a Bridgewater juke that picked up a first down, the Packers finally recorded their first sack in three games. Lined up at outside linebacker, Datone Jones took down the second-year quarterback for 18 yards. A holding penalty on Matt Khalil in addition to the sack forced the Vikings into a third-and-27 situation. Minnesota came up short on the play and punted the ball to Randall Cobb, who signaled for a fair catch. Cobb took over punt return duties with Hyde out.
The third offensive drive for the Packers would end up the same way the first two did: with a field goal. Lacy was certainly more active on this drive than he had been the last few weeks. Out of the shotgun, Lacy took a handoff 27 yards down field to move the Packers from their 44 to Minnesota's 29. A short run and a pass on the next two plays moved the Packers to the 23. With Rodgers unable to find Cobb on third-and-short, Crosby was forced to attempt another field goal, this one coming 40 yards out. The attempt sailed through and put the Packers back up, 9-6.
After stopping the Packers on third down for the fifth straight drive, the Vikings received great field position after Tim Masthay partially had his punt blocked by running back Jerick McKinnon. The Vikings took over at Green Bay's 47, but running back Adrian Peterson lost three yards, Bridgewater was sacked and a third down incompletion from backup Shaun Hill left Minnesota with nothing. Bridgewater left the game momentarily after taking a hard hit to the ground from Packers linebacker Mike Neal. Luckily for the Vikings, he returned on the next offensive series.
Starting from their own 20, Rodgers led the Packers on a 80-yard drive to score Green Bay's first touchdown of the game right before halftime. After being sacked, a huge pass interference penalty on Terrence Newman for Minnesota moved the Packers 50 yards up the field. A dart to Jones for 14 yards, followed by an illegal contact penalty put the Packers inside Minnesota's 20. Rodgers shortly found Cobb on a slant for 10 yards in the end zone after the receiver beat Minnesota's secondary on third-and-goal. That touchdown put the Packers up 10, 16-6 at halftime.
The first Packers drive of the second half stalled for a 42-yard Crosby field goal, but there were certainly positives to take from it. The highlight of the drive was James Starks taking a short pass from Rodgers 30 yards up the field to the Vikings 45. Also, Lacy continued to run well, recording 27 yards on five carries. The runs by Lacy put the Packers at the 21, but three incompletions — including a key miscommunication between Rodgers and Richard Rodgers on third down — along with a false start on David Bakhtiari kept the offense back. Crosby's kick made the score 19-6.
After a spin move on a scramble picked up 11 yards for Minnesota on their ensuing drive, Bridgewater was sacked for the fourth time with safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix taking him down for a 10-yard loss. The defensive pressure by the Packers against Bridgewater was pretty consistent throughout the game.
The next offensive drive for the Vikings was much different, though. Bridgewater shook off the hits and threw long darts on his first two throws: A 17-yard pass across the middle to rookie Stefon Diggs and a 33-yard deep pass to Rudolph. Just like that, the Vikings moved to the Packers' 13 and were right in scoring position. Two plays later, Peterson bounced a run to the left for six yards and stretched into the end zone to make the score 19-13 after a Walsh extra point.
Jones and his hoodie came up huge for the Packers offense on their next offensive drive, making three big catches that capped an 80-yard spurt for Green Bay. Jones put a move on cornerback Xavier Rhodes and made a juggling catch down the sideline for 37 before tip-toeing a 27-yard touchdown catch. The Packers were successful on the two-point try after Rodgers flipped a pass to Jones across the middle. Jones topped 100 yards receiving after the drive and put the Packers up comfortably, 27-13 at the beginning of the fourth.
Bad timing for the Vikings: Peterson committed the first turnover of the game by recording his sixth fumble of the season on Minnesota's responding drive. A tough break for the Vikings as Bridgewater was starting move his team down the field to answer. The Packers took over from their 21 but were ultimately forced to punt.
Mike Daniels and Jones picked up sacks No. 5 and 6 on the next defensive series for the Packers defense. Bridgewater continued to receive no help from his offensive line.
It was a busy day for Crosby, who kicked his fifth field goal of the game (52 yards) after the Packers stopped the Vikings on fourth down from their 33. The Packers went three-and-out on offense but were already in range, easily giving them three points and making the score 30-13. The Vikings couldn't work much on offense after that, putting an end to the game.