On Thursday night in the rain, the Green Bay Packers came out swinging on both sides of the ball and re-established the running game on offense as they steamrolled the Minnesota Vikings by a score of 42-10. Aaron Rodgers threw for three scores to three different wideouts, while Eddie Lacy had his first 100-yard day of the year and added two scores of his own in the blowout.
The defense got into the act as well, as Packers linebacker Julius Peppers returned an interception for a touchdown and the team forced three total turnovers in a dominating performance in bad weather.
The Packers received in the first quarter, but went three and out on the first drive. The defense did their job on their first opportunity though, returning the favor to Christian Ponder and company.
On the Packers' second drive of the night, Eddie Lacy broke out. He took the first two plays up the middle for carries of 17 and 29 yards, setting up an eight-yard touchdown pass to Randall Cobb, who beat Captain Munnerlyn to the corner of the end zone. That score gave the Packers a quick 7-0 lead.
After a short drive by the Vikings stalled out at their own 40, the Packers got the ball for the third time, and Jordy Nelson struck. James Starks got a few carries and picked up a handful of yards, but it was Nelson with the big play. Off play-action, Rodgers found a wide-open Nelson 45 yards downfield, and he took the ball the rest of the way for a 66-yard score and a 14-0 lead.
Both teams traded punts through the end of the first quarter...
...and through much of the second quarter as well. UNTIL THIS HAPPENED.
Julius Peppers picked off a Christian Ponder pass after Ponder was hit by Luther Robinson, and the veteran pass-rusher rumbled 49 yards for a score to put the Packers up by a score of 21-0. We got to see a bizarre sight for Packers fans - Julius Peppers doing a Lambeau Leap.
Julius Peppers' first Lambeau Leap. https://t.co/m09o5x2J3g— Aaron Nagler (@AaronNagler) October 3, 2014
Then on Ponder's very next pass, Jamari Lattimore picked him off once again at the 20-yard line. A few plays later, an 11-yard slant by Davante Adams turned into an easy Rodgers touchdown pass, Adams' first Lambeau Leap, and a 28-0 Packers lead.
Shortly before halftime, Morgan Burnett stripped Matt Asiata of the football after a nice run, and when Casey Hayward pounced on the ball, the Packers had possession once again with three minutes to go but were forced to punt one more time. The Vikings then ran out the clock on the half.
To start the second half, the Vikings went three and out, helped out by a Peppers/A.J. Hawk sack on third down. The ensuing drive saw a big pass play to Randall Cobb, a pass interference penalty on the Vikings, and a few nice Eddie Lacy runs, and number 27 rumbled into the end zone on a cutback from 11 yards out to put the Packers up 35-0.
It was another three and out and the Packers got possession once again. Eddie Lacy combined with James Starks on the drive and Lacy finished it out once again, running through arm tackles and bulldozing over Vikings safety Robert Blanton on his way to the end zone and his second score of the night. Here's a look at the hit:
That made the score 42-0.
The Vikings got a long drive going for the first time in the game late in the third. Aided by a good kickoff return and a few decent Ponder passes, Minnesota drove down to the Packers' six-yard line as the quarter ended.
On the first play of the fourth, Ponder felt pressure and scrambled up the middle for a touchdown, the Vikings' first points of the game, which cut the Packers lead to...42-7.
The Packers would bring in some backups on offense, including quarterback Matt Flynn. Flynn made the first substantial mistake of the game for the Packers, throwing an unwise pass to James Starks that was picked off by safety Harrison Smith in Packers territory. The Vikings moved the ball inside the ten, but a sack by Letroy Guion on third down brought out the field goal unit (for some strange reason) and Blair Walsh made it a 42-10 game.
Late in the game, Packers wideout Jeff Janis recorded his first NFL receptions, converting a pair of third downs on throws from Matt Flynn, and the Vikings couldn't convert a late fourth-and-goal, as the Packers held on for the 42-10 final score.
On the day, Aaron Rodgers completed 12 passes on just 17 attempts for 153 yards, but had those three touchdowns. Lacy led the way with 13 carries for 105 yards and two scores.
The Packers move to 3-2 on the season, while the Vikings fall to 2-3.