MINNEAPOLIS, MINN. – The Green Bay Packers snap their three game losing streak as they defeat the Minnesota Vikings 30-13, behind Eddie Lacy’s first 100 yard rushing game of the season and six sacks by the Packers’ defense. The Packers now have possession of first place in the NFC North.
The big story of this game going in was the Packers three-game losing streak during which they could not score, get down field or pressure the quarterback on defense. The Vikings were on a five-game winning streak riding on the emergence of second year quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, the re-emergence of star running back Adrian Peterson and a top-10 defense which has been terrorizing opposing offenses.
The Vikings began the game with the ball first getting down the field somewhat behind the running of Peterson and the receiving of Jarius Wright and Stefon Diggs. The Packers’ defense managed to force a fourth down and Vikings punt and Green Bay took over. Much like many of the Packers opening drives this season, Green Bay got downfield, notably with a 25 yard pass to receiver James Jones to get into field goal range. The Vikings’ defense held on, forcing the Packers to settle on a 42-yard Mason Crosby field goal to take the 3-0 lead.
On the ensuing drive the Vikings got a quick touchdown with Bridgewater hitting wide open tight end Kyle Rudolph for 47 yards. Kicker Blair Walsh could not convert the extra point, so the Vikings only had the three-point lead. The Packers responded on special teams when Jeff Janis returned the kickoff 70 yards to put the Packers back in field goal range, but again the Packers’ offense was stopped, forcing another field goal, which was made from 47 yards. The first quarter ended with a 6-6 tie.
The second quarter opened with defense when Bridgewater was sacked for an 18-yard loss by defensive tackle Datone Jones which forced the Vikings to punt the ball back to the Packers. The Packers again opened up their drive hot with an 11-yard pass to receiver Davante Adams and a big 27-yard run by Eddie Lacy. Again, the Vikings defense pulled off a stop and forced the Packers to kick a 40-yard field goal to take a 9-6 lead.
The ensuing drives by each team would end in punts but Green Bay had possession of the ball inside the two-minute warning. The Packers would get down field after a 50-yard pass to Janis was interfered with by Vikings’ cornerback Terence Newman. After a 14-yard completion to Jones, Rodgers would hit a wide-open touchdown pass to receiver Randall Cobb to go into halftime with a 16-6 lead.
The Packers would open up the second half with the ball getting down field quickly after a 30-yard pass to running back James Starks. Lacy would also tack on 15 yards on two runs, but the Vikings again forced a fourth down in field goal range. Green Bay took the 19-6 lead after a converted 42 yard field goal by Crosby.
The ensuing drive saw the Packers’ defense bring the heat, stuffing Peterson behind the line twice and safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix sacking Bridgewater 11 yards behind the line to force a Vikings punt. After a three-and-out by the Packers, the Vikings got to the red zone after a 17-yard completion to Diggs and a 33-yard completion to Rudolph. Peterson punched it in from six yards out to cut the Vikings deficit to six.
The Packers responded, getting down field after a 16-yard pass to Adams and a 37-yard strike to Jones to get close to the red zone. The Packers finished the drive when Rodgers threw a 27-yard pass to Jones in the corner of the end zone, and they converted the two-point conversion on a shovel to Jones to take the 27-13 lead.
Green Bay forced a turnover on the ensuing drive when safety Morgan Burnett punched the ball away from Adrian Peterson to give the Packers possession. Green Bay went three and out on that drive but their defense once again brought the heat to Bridgewater on the Vikings next drive, with consecutive sacks by Mike Daniels and Datone Jones, forcing another Vikings punt.
After matching three and outs by both teams and a turnover on downs by the Vikings, Mason Crosby hit a 52 yard field goal to give the Packers a 30-13 lead and put the game out of reach.
The Vikings would turn the ball over on downs again and the Packers would run the clock out to take the 30-13 victory. After three straight poor outings and a rivalrous division game against a competitive first place team, Green Bay surprised many with the blowout victory. Rodgers finished the game with 212 yards passing and two touchdowns while Jones stepped up with 109 yards receiving and a touchdown. After being disappointing all season and even getting demoted, Lacy finally broke out of his funk. Probably the biggest key to victory was the Packers’ pass rush after not recording a sack during the skid. They held the NFL’s leading rusher to only 45 yards rushing and pressured Bridgewater all game to the tune of six sacks
The Packers will head back to Lambeau to face the rival Chicago Bears in a huge prime time Thanksgiving Day game Thursday night. The Vikings will travel to Atlanta to face the reeling Falcons on Sunday.
Other NFL Scores:
Kicker Jason Myers nailed four field goals and rookie receiver Rashad Greene had a huge punt return late to set up a go-ahead touchdown pass from quarterback Blake Bortles to tight end Julius Thomas to lift the Jacksonville Jaguars to a 19-13 victory over the Tennessee Titans. Bortles finished with 242 passing yards to go with the touchdown pass.
Two 40+ year-old veterans came through for the Indianapolis Colts as quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, playing in relief of injured Andrew Luck, threw for 213 yards and two scores, including a late third-quarter one to running back Ahmad Bradshaw (who caught both scores) that sparked a Colts rally over the Falcons. In the fourth quarter, linebacker D’Qwell Jackson had a pick-six deep in Atlanta territory, and kicker Adam Vinatieri hit an ever-familiar game-winning 43-yard field goal for a 24-21 triumph.
The Baltimore Ravens got three field goals from Justin Tucker, including a game-winner from 47 yards out to defeat the St. Louis Rams, 16-13. It was a bittersweet victory for the Ravens, however, as quarterback Joe Flacco was lost for the season with a torn ACL. He threw a key touchdown in the fourth quarter to receiver Kamar Aiken.
NFC MVP candidate Cam Newton had a career game against the Washington Redskins, throwing for 246 yards and five touchdowns in a romp for the still-undefeated Carolina Panthers, 44-16. After allowing a long touchdown pass from Redskins’ quarterback Kirk Cousins to receiver DeSean Jackson and a 99-yard kickoff return by Andre Roberts, the Panthers’ defense absolutely shut down Washington.
Denver Broncos’ quarterback Brock Osweiler got the ultimate 25th birthday gift, starting his first career NFL game in relief of the injured (and benched, possibly) Peyton Manning. Osweiler appears to have learned a lot from the future Hall of Famer, as he threw for 250 yards and two scores on 20 of 27 passing. However, the Bears were in the game until the very end, when the Broncos’ stingy defense stopped a two-point conversion attempt to preserve a 17-15 victory.
Quarterback Matthew Stafford may have thrown for 282 yards for the Detroit Lions, but it was his legs that got the crucial touchdown for his team in its 18-13 win over the Oakland Raiders. Kicker Matt Prater nailed three first-half field goals for the Lions as well.
The Houston Texans won their third straight game and are tied for the AFC South division lead after quarterback T.J. Yates threw for 229 yards and two scores to receiver DeAndre Hopkins in a 24-17 victory over the New York Jets.
After playing without quarterback Tony Romo for most of the first half of the season (and slipping to a 2-7 record), the Dallas Cowboys won in their franchise quarterback’s first game back from injury. Romo threw for 227 yards and touchdown passes to receivers Terrance Williams and Dez Bryant. In addition, the Cowboys got a pick-six from linebacker Rolando McClain in a 24-14 victory over the Miami Dolphins.
Rookie quarterback Jameis Winston showed the rest of the league that he has a bright future, throwing for 246 yards and five touchdown passes in an offensive explosion for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers against the Philadelphia Eagles. Buccaneers’ running back Doug Martin rushed for 235 yards, and the defense picked Eagles’ quarterback Mark Sanchez three times, including one that was returned for a score by linebacker Lavonte David. Sanchez was playing in relief of injured Sam Bradford.
Two defensive players scored touchdowns for the Kansas City Chiefs in their blowout victory over the San Diego Chargers, but only one of them was actually on defense, when linebacker Justin Houston got a pick-six. The other was reminiscent of how Chicago used defensive tackle William “The Refrigerator” Perry in Super Bowl XX, when Chiefs’ defensive tackle Dontari Poe plunged for a one-yard score. Running back Spencer Ware added two fourth-quarter touchdowns and 96 yards on the ground in the 33-3 laugher.
Rookie running back Thomas Rawls had a monster game for the Seattle Seahawks against the San Francisco 49ers, rushing for 209 yards and one score, along with a late receiving score to lift his team to a 29-13 victory over its division rivals.
In a quarterback duel, the Arizona Cardinals’ Carson Palmer got the better of the Cincinnati Bengals’ Andy Dalton. Palmer threw for 317 yards and four scores while Dalton threw for 315 and two. However, Bengals’ running back Jeremy Hill rushed for two scores to make up for the two that Dalton did not get, and the Cardinals needed a late 32-yard field goal from kicker Chandler Catanzaro to eke out a 34-31 Sunday night win.
The New England Patriots were tested by their division rivals, the Buffalo Bills, but are still undefeated after a late defensive stop. Running back and former Wisconsin Badger James White rushed for a touchdown and caught a touchdown pass from quarterback Tom Brady to lead the Patriots offensively.
All stats and scores courtesy of CBSSports.com.