Packers Defeat Vikings: First Impressions – Why Make it Easy? All Green Bay Packers All the Time

The Green Bay Packers held on to defeat the Minnesota Vikings Sunday night, by the score of 28-24. As usual, the Packers did their best to keep their opponents in the game, repeatedly handing the ball back to the Vikings with questionable down field pass attempts on third and fourth downs and short yardage.

But the defense held on, despite being further decimated on the defensive line, with Cullen Jenkins and Ryan Pickett both out with injuries. The DL rotation consisted of BJ Raji, CJ Wilson, Jarius Wynn and TJ Lang. Yet somehow, the defense found  a way to hold on at the end and give the Packers an all-important division win.

My game day impressions:


KEY FACTOR: If I had to pick JUST ONE thing, it would be this: Can the Green By Packers do to Brett Favre what the Jets did (be in his face on every passing play)? Or like last year, will Favre have the time to sit in the pocket and pick apart the Packers’ pass defense?

Green Bay’s inactives: Johnson, Simpkins, Tauscher, McDonald, Newhouse, Poppinga, Neal and Montgomery.

On the bright side, there are seemingly fewer BIG names on the inactive list, but realistically, that may just be because so many of the BIG names are out for the season.

Returning this week is Clay Matthews, Ryan Pickett and Brandon Chillar. I’m wondering if the wet field conditions will make the Packers be very careful with Matthews.

Mike McCarthy comments on the WTMJ 620 pregame show:

MM: Huge game for the fans. A lot of activity outside my windows today.
MM: My focus is going to be on third down. Been holding us back this year.
MM: Percy Harvin is the key to this football game, both for our defense and special teams.
MM: We need more “swings at the plate” on offense


Packers show fabulous coverage on the opening kickoff. Let’s pray that continues and they are kicking off a lot tonight.

Three and out for the Vikings on their first series as the Packers seemed ready for and totallynexpecting the bubble screen to Harvin on 3rd down.

Packers with  a rare successful screen to Donald Lee. Ironically, the Packers OL still blocked no one down field on that screen That was all Lee.

And then on the next screen pass, Rodgers inexplicably throws the ball right to Jared Allen. Ugh!

Back-to-back three and outs by the Packers defense. On the negative side, “Hands of Stone” Nick Collins drops another possible interception.

Brandon Jackson scores from the goal line. That’s twice this game I’ve seen BJAX put his head down and blast into a small hole. That makes two times for the season. Maybe the light bulb finally went on?

Percy Harvin is the prototypical kick returner. Runs full speed on a straight line and dares you to blast him. But if you take the wrong angles, he’s gone.

On the Percy Harvin touchdown run, Hawk was in the hole and got completely owned by a tight end… Just can not shed blocks…

And now Brandon Jackson gain 30+ yds on a screen. Amazingly, those screens have been so wide open, both Lee and Jackson didn’t even need any down field blocks by the OL…

On the Harvin dive for  the end zone on a TD, how the hell does that referee standing right there call that a TD?

With no pressure, Favre will just gain more confidence as the game goes on. Same M.O. as last year.

On the fake field goal try by the Packers, Quarless just showed some rookie nervousness and fell down. I just like the message that play sends, even if it didn’t work…

Cullen Jenkins mysteriously standing on the sidelines in full uniform, but not playing. Some are saying he hurt his hamstring in warmups? Will it ever end?

And as expected, the game is looking like a redux of last year’s Packers – Vikings games. No pressure on Favre. Favre picks Packers apart. Not Happy…

That’s a hell of a stat. Longwell hasn’t missed a field goal under 40 yards since 2006. Over 40 in a row. Just in case you were wondering, Crosby has missed 7 out of 60 attempts of under 40 yards.

Another nice gain on a screen to Lee and the best part  – Scott Wells FINALLY blocked somebody downfield…

Rodgers throws an interception in the end zone. I though there was more than enough contact on the sideline to be called interference. Frank Walker’s push  completely changed Jenning’s path to the ball.


Opening Drive of the second half, third and two, and McCarthy dials up a bomb. Packers give the ball right back to the Vikes. Why Mike, why? Wouldn’t a little possession and a drive down field be  good way to start the half?

Absolutely sick move by Jennings on his TD catch. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a triple shake on a slant route.

Holy Cow. Two straight pressures on Bret Favre and two straight interceptions. See, football’s a simple game.

And to his credit, Favre rebounds from tht to lead the Vikings right down the field to a touchdown. It’s why he still scares me. He just can never be counted out. Even if playing awful.

Mike McCarthy shows his true colors. Can’t come up with anything better than two straight handoffs to John Kuhn on two straight fourth and ones.

I guess we have learned Nick Collins needs to be doing a somersault to actually catch an interception. The easy ones don’t interest him…

On third and three, WHY not just try a short pass for 4-5 yrds and a first down? Why give the ball back to the Vikings? Why? Why? Why?

Stupid move by Vikings on 3rd down – no reason to move Favre when there’s a 3-man rush.

So Brett Favre throws an apparent TD pass, and is seen hopping on one foot during the celebration. Can’t even stand on it, supposedly. Oh wait, it wasn’t a TD pass, we have to play some more. No problem. Goes right back and is seen running on it moments later. WTF?

A great win for the Packers, no doubt, but it didn’t have to play out this way. Some better play calling (or better decisions by Aaron Rodgers) on third and fourth down and 2-3 yards could have avoided the frantic, nail-biting finish.


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Jersey Al Bracco is the founder and editor of, and the co-founder of Packers Talk Radio Network. He can be heard as one of the Co-Hosts on Cheesehead Radio and is the Green Bay Packers Draft Analyst for


31 thoughts on “Packers Defeat Vikings: First Impressions – Why Make it Easy?

  1. Some thoughts…

    With the exception of the short yardage calls, I was VERY pleased with how McCarthy approached this game. He really helped out the O-line and Rodgers by giving the Minnesota d-lineman things to think about. And that fake FG call was PERFECT. Just wish the execution was there.

    Of course, that doesn’t help when Rodgers and his receivers aren’t on the same page. Seriously, this could have been a much bigger win.

    I’m not a man to tempt fate twice, so I was really hoping McCarthy would have kicked the FG on the second 4th-and-1. That said, you are right… fake the handoff and have Rodgers bootleg it to the outside for a quick first.

    The first interception made me giddy… the second one made me ecstatic… and the third one, well, it’s a good thing I don’t have neighbors too close to my place.

    And finally: thank god for the screen pass and running plays finally making their way back into the playbook.

    1. yes, definitely a better game plan from McCarthy, but his very short yardage tendencies have been annoying me for years. Everyone knows it’s a dive or a QB sneak.

  2. Oh, and how could I forget… the refereeing was atrocious. Both the Packers and Vikings were on the receiving ends of the some bad calls and non-calls.

  3. I was disappointed last night in the Packers inability to read each other on pass routes. How many Aaron Rodgers throws were not anywhere near the receiver. During the game I kept thinking he was throwing the ball away… but not out of bounds. They need to work on that. If they would have completed any of those passes it would have helped out tremendously.
    Also, the defense did a pretty good job last night. I can’t wait for Al Harris and Atari Bigby to be back. Hopefully they’ll play against the Jets because we need all the help we can get.

  4. After the last messed up back shoulder throw Im sure a lot of Packer fans had their own little
    “what the hells goin on out here” moment.

    1. yeah, they were not on the same page with regards to those throws. Obviously McCarthy’s game plan called for a lot of deep routes. Seems the receivers were thinking deep all the way…

  5. McCarthy did OK. The fake punt was a brilliant call. The use of screens was a huge improvement. I think we’re going to see a LOT of that TE screen going forward.

    I can’t help but wonder if he made a point have WRs look for “hot” throws because the Vikings got 14 sacks against us last year, and that’s where some of the miscommunication came from. It just so happened that the pressure WASN’T that extreme…so do you look for hot throws or not?

    My only (ongoing) gripe is the running game. Brandon Jackson ran the ball very well last night, including a beautiful cutback, and he waited for a downfield block on one run.

    I’m getting to the point where I just don’t want to see John Kuhn touch the ball. A high school coach knows better than to run a FB dive 4 times in one game. A drunk fan knows better than to do it 4 times into one of the best D lines in the league.

      1. MM is like Kevin Costner in “The Tin CUP”he just keeps playing too lose,like when he keeps trying to hit the ball over the water to the green,by the time you succeed with that move,you’re too far behind and everybody went home already.

        Kuhn is, what Kuhn is and it isn’t what MM thinks he is.

  6. I want to give Brandon Jackson his due praise. The Vikings still have a solid run defense and BJAX nearly matched Peterson with his average yards per carry. He’s not going to dominate a game like AP, but it was nice to see some productivity.

    Also, I was not expecting to feel bad for old #4. Its sad to see a fallen hero tarnish his legacy. The Vikings are bastards for begging him to come back and now blame everything on him.

    1. I also gave BJax his due on the CheeseheadTV post-game show. He finally did the one thing I’ve been asking for since he was a rookie. When there was just a small hole for him,he hesitate looking for a better path. he just hit the hole hard and gained positive yards.

  7. Typical packer post. No mention of the non catch by Quarless for the touchdown or the TD catch by Shiancoe that was taken away. Bad officiating for both teams, but amazing how you forgot those two big plays

    1. The call on Shiancoe was a rule book call. Similar to the Johson call agianst Detroit. The Rule needs to be changed.

      And who is to blame for the Quarles call standing?

    2. This is a Packers blog… get over it.

      If you want to read an objective analysis, then find somewhere else to go that doesn’t cater to just one team or the other. The NFC North Blog on ESPN is a good start.

    3. And you are the prototypical Viking fan. When the Vikings lose, it’s everyone’s fault but their own. Point fingers everywhere but inward. Maybe you should wonder why your dolt of a coach didn’t challenge the disputed touchdowns.

      Read my past posts. When the Packers lose, I look for what they did wrong that cost them the game. I don’t lay the blame with the referees.

      And if you expect me to waste any time feeling sorry for the Vikings, as Chad said – this is a Packers blog, not a crybaby Vikings blog.

  8. Last night I said my might time prayers and thanked the “Head Coach” for that win and especially for Brad Childress, without whom the Packers would have lost. On their last drive he took Peterson out and let the gunslinger got at it. He was making 7 or 8 yards a carry guarenteed. He couldn’t be stopped period. Wait he was stopped, by Childress. Thanks Brad!

    And at the end I’m hoping Dom picked up on the fact that once he went to a pressure defense things started happening. The 3-8 and 4-7 were allowing Minn to walk up and down the field. Keep that in mind Dom.

    The offense is still not there. Rodgers was looking like he had no idea what was happening most of the time. That last offensive drive caused me to speak in tongues at MM. Eat the clock you idiot I yelled. Enough of the deep pass on 3rd and short. Control the damn ball. In case you forgot MM, the West coast is a ball control offense. Minn got the ball back with more than enough time to win. And they damn near did.

    Bulaga is a quick learn. It appears I was concerned about nothing on the Right side. Clifton did a nice Job or controlling that blowhard Allen.

    Next week is a serious concern. The offense has got to play a full game pretty soon. They had only one real drive in the second half. Play the whole damn game.

    1. For the issues I’ve got with McCarthy, I’m always thankful the Pack doesn’t have Chilly.

      I still can’t believe he didn’t at least attempt to get into field goal range at the end of the first half. Meanwhile, McCarthy is showing his players that he’s willing to play tough, a la the FG fake.

  9. MM’s playcalling was MUCH more creative, finally some screens.

    The protection was AMAZING. Clifton seemed like 27 years old last night. Bulaga did a great job as well. Sitton, I don’t need to say it. He IS a pro bowler.

    No case of happy feet by Rodgers. It showed. Poise is everything for a QB. If you play afraid, you play like crap. Glad to see it gone after 4 games of happy feet. I was really worried that Rodgers might’ve been broken for good, a la David Carr.

    We won against them. I’m a happy man.

    1. Rodgers did a much better job with his footwork – got out of a few tight spots. Big improvement there. Still looking too much for the big play. Needs to better understand the value of possession. Especially with the Packers down to 3 DL.

  10. “As usual, the Packers did their best to keep their opponents in the game, repeatedly handing the ball back to the Vikings with questionable down field pass attempts on third and fourth downs and short yardage.”

    Now that the dust has settled, this was so close to a loss its kinda eerie– then again the same could be said about other wins this yr and last. Far too little was done by the offense in the second half with too many points left on the board in the first.

    That said, the youngsters (Jones, CJ “Mr. October” Wilson, Bulaga, BJ Raji, and CM3) all played admirably. The defense will only improve when Pickett, Jenkins, Harris, and hopefully bigby return.

    Beating Favre in itself is a huge accomplishment but I still have to take this team week by week.

  11. You’re right, it so easily could have been another frustrating loss. Don’t get me wrong, I’m elated the Packers beat the Vikings (Before the season, I had marked this game down as the first true litmus test for the Packers and their Super Bowl hopes).

    The Packers barely passed this test, but have failed in what should have been some easy wins. Of course, there’s the injury excuse, but regardless, I still think MM and his stubborness is a constant contributing factor as to why every game has to be a nail-biter.

    1. If the Packers entertain any thoughts of a win Sunday they need to play 4 quarters of good solid ball control offense. The typical game plan for MM has not worked this year and it won’t on Sunday.

      The Jet offense is ok and are not going to overwhelm GB. That is, unless, Wynn and Wilson are forced to play extended periods. Unfortunately, the Jets will run the ball and that spells trouble.

  12. Mentally exhausting game,but soooo sweet when we win!However,it is still very strange & sad for me to see Favre in another uniform.

    You just can’t leave MM alone.Whether he’s predictable or not,he’s wrong.CATCH 22 .

    1. Exhausting is right, which is at the core of my frustration, because it didn’t need to be. We kept handing the ball back to the Vikings due to taking chances at the wrong time. 3rd and two with 6 minutes left and protecting a 4-point lead is NOT the time to be throwing a back-shoulder sideline pass (that hasn’t worked ALL game).

      And I’m NEVER for being predictable. All I wanted was a simple 4-5 yard completion to get a first down and keep the ball away from Minny.

      Look, I think overall McCarthy is a good coach, but his decisions at crucial times is often lacking. I see that as a flaw that helps lose winnable games.

      In fact, I just wrote an article about it today…

  13. Packers win inspite of MM’s play calling. With a limited runnning game, why does MM have to go for a long pass on every 3rd and less than 5 yrds? Were is the short passing game? Still limited imagination on running plays. MM needs to be more creative.

    On the positive, I am glad to see the fake field goal attempt even though it failed. With the Jets blitz schemes, MM needs to incorporate more screens and draw plays. I have watched every Packer game for the last 5 yrs under MM and I can predict 97% of what play he will run. When the Pack is up, we need to go for the kill! Keep attacking and expose the mis-matches on the other teams defense.

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