Offense: The Offensive Line
A week after giving up five sacks as quarterback Aaron Rodgers was under siege on 17 of 33 dropbacks (per ESPN Stats & Information) against the New York Giants, the line came back strong. Despite losing right tackle T.J. Lang in the first half, Green Bay allowed just two sacks of Rodgers and had 152 yards rushing. Undrafted rookie Don Barclay, who replaced Lang at right tackle, teamed up with guard Josh Sitton and the tight ends to open some big holes for running backs James Starks and Alex Green on the right side.
Defense: Safety Morgan Burnett
Burnett made the play of the game early in the third quarter. Trailing the Vikings 14-10, with Minnesota facing second-and-6 from the Green Bay 8-yard line, Christian Ponder rolled out to the right and threw back across the field, trying to hit Michael Jenkins in the back of the endzone. However, it was not to be as Burnett went up high and intercepted the pass. He added another interception on the last play of the third quarter, diving in front of the Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph. Burnett finished with seven tackles, two interceptions and three passes defended.
Special Teams: Kicker Mason Crosby
Yes, the Packers kicker missed another field goal. In truth, his 53-yard attempt at the end of the first half wasn’t even close, and his 31-yarder earlier in the game hit off an upright before going through. But Crosby came back strong in the second half, hitting from 47 yards out in the third quarter and from 31 yards in the fourth quarter that gave the Packers their final margin of victory. Yes, Crosby had missed six of his last 13 field-goal attempts entering the game, but going 3 for 4 on the day will be big for his confidence going forward.
Tweet of the Game
Former Green Bay Packers safety Nick Collins after Morgan Burnett’s diving interception of Christian Ponder to end the third quarter:
Great play by #42. Thts a 36 type of play. I taught him well.— Nick Collins (@nickthepick36) December 2, 2012
Quote of the Day
“The route we’re going, I think we see the improvement we see the improvement we need to make. We’re going to improve. I don’t think we’ve come close to playing our best ball yet, that we’re capable of doing. That’s the good thing about it, we’re getting better, but we’re not even close to playing our best ball. We haven’t had our players. Right now, we’re still finding a way to win, so that’s a positive.”
– Veteran defensive tackle Ryan Pickett, on the Packers finding ways to win.
In Case You Missed It
Aaron Rodgers threw a touchdown for a 35th straight home game, further extending his franchise record.
Franchise all-time receiving leader Donald Driver was inactive with a thumb injury. It was the first time Driver missed a game since December 2010, and only the second game he's missed since 2007. Jarrett Boykin and practice-squad call-up Jeremy Ross were both active as the fifth and sixth receivers.
Sunday was Jeff Saturday’s 200th career start. 188 of those came with the Indianapolis Colts.
Newly activated running back DeJuan Harris was the only Packers’ player not to get into the game, besides backup quarterback Graham Harrell.
Of the four “free plays” the Packers had in the first half due to the Vikings jumping offsides Aaron Rodgers overthrew Jordy Nelson deep, hit James Jones for a 32-yard touchdown, was sacked for a 16-yard loss and drew a 23-yard pass interference penalty.
Packers receiver James Jones had a second touchdown reception called back in the first quarter due to a highly questionable holding penalty on right tackle T.J. Lang. Green Bay settled for a Mason Crosby field goal to take a 10-0 lead.
Inside the Numbers
10 – The number of consecutive victories by the Packers over NFC North opponents, a franchise-record.
5 – The number of consecutive victories by the Packers over the Vikings, the longest against Minnesota since a five-game run from 2006 through 2008.
210 – The number of yards Adrian Peterson rushed for on Sunday. It was the third most rushing yards by a single player against the Packers in team history and the most since 1989. Peterson also became just the eighth NFL running back since 1960 to rush for 200 or more yards in a game and lose.