Game Balls and Lame Calls: Packers 44, Vikings 31 All Green Bay Packers All the Time
Jordy Nelson caught two touchdowns, giving Myles White and the rest of the team reason to celebrate.
Jordy Nelson caught two touchdowns, giving Myles White and the rest of the team reason to celebrate.

The opening kickoff made it look like the Minnesota Vikings would have a shot to upset the Green Bay Packers in teams’ final meeting at the Metrodome, as Cordarrelle Patterson raced 109 yards for a touchdown.

But from then on, it was all Packers.

Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay offense moved the ball up and down the field with ease throughout the game. Despite having Myles White as his No. 3 receiver and Andrew Quarless as the starting tight end, Rodgers threw for 285 yards and a pair of scores to go along with just five incompletions.

His two touchdowns–both to Jordy Nelson–were perfect. There’s no other way to put it, really. Rodgers zipped the ball right past the defender’s earhole on each throw, leaving the defender with no chance at deflecting the pass.

After the first scoring connection from Rodgers to Nelson, I tweeted, “If I’m Aaron Rodgers, I’m putting an ongoing loop of that throw on a projection screen. Maybe in every room of my house.” And I meant it.

Then, after Nelson’s 76-yard score, I, again, wanted share my admiration. However, I just couldn’t seem to think of the words. It was simply another perfect throw by one of the best quarterbacks in football.

That touchdown, ironically, reminded me of Rodgers’ crucial third-down dart to Greg Jennings in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl XLV. Jennings, now with quarterbacks Christian Ponder, Josh Freeman, Matt Cassell and the Minnesota Vikings, was targeted three times Sunday night and only caught one pass for nine yards.

It’s safe to say that, while wealthier, Jennings is not having a lot of fun wearing purple this season. And that’s nothing against the color.

Speaking of Jordy Nelson, I think it’s worth revisiting the unwritten rule that you can’t compare white wide receivers to anyone other than white wide receivers. Nelson isn’t Eric Decker or Ed McCaffrey. He’s not Wayne Chrebet or Wes Welker.

The guy is every bit of 6’3″ 217 pounds. He’s not the fastest receiver in the world, but he does everything you could possibly ask a wide receiver to do, and he does it well.

To me, Nelson is Larry Fitzgerald. Is that going too far? Except for the end of Kurt Warner’s career, Fitzgerald has played his entire career with a subpar quarterback, so it’s kind of hard to judge by the numbers. Nelson, on the other hand, has played with only Rodgers during his career, but at this point of their careers, I’m not sure Fitzgerald would be able to match Nelson’s production in the Packers’ offense.

It’s an interesting comparison and a debate worth having, in my opinion. We’ll get into the (many) Game Balls and (few) Lame Calls, but let me know what you think. If not Jordy Nelson, who is Jordy Nelson?

Game Balls

Jordy Nelson

You knew this was coming. Clearly, Nelson deserves a game ball for his seven catches, 123 yards and two touchdowns even though it was against the Vikings’ putrid secondary. With Harrison Smith, the Minnesota secondary is average at best. Without Harrison Smith–whom I think is clearly their best defensive back–the Vikings’ secondary is atrocious. Right now, I don’t think there’s a better quarterback-to-receiver connection than Rodgers to Nelson. They’re on fire.

Aaron Rodgers

There really isn’t much more that can be said other than Rodgers is really good. Take the “being born and raised a Packers fan” thing out of the equation, Rodgers is a gift to any real football fan. Like, a true fan is going to appreciate Adrian Peterson, whether he or she is a Vikings, Bears or Packers fan. The same can be said about Aaron Rodgers. He’s phenomenal.

Eddie Lacy, James Starks and Mike McCarthy

Honestly, both running backs could get their own virtual game ball, but to share the wealth, they’ll split one for their 169 combined total yards. Lacy carried the ball 29 times (in a Packers uniform, nonetheless) and racked up 94 yards in the process, while Starks chipped in 57 yards on just seven carries. It’s not only the running backs that are impressive; it’s the offensive line, too. Coach McCarthy gets a piece of this game ball for sticking with the running game. Ignoring a productive running game to throw the ball downfield is a popular criticism of McCarthy, but he deserves a tip of the hat for his play-calling against the Vikings. Between Lacy and Starks, the Packers ran the ball 36 times for 151 yards. And for that, there’s plenty of credit to be handed out.

Evan Dietrich-Smith

Typically, I’m not watching the offensive line on most plays. Thanks, in part, to Madden, most of my pre-snap time is spent identifying the coverage and picking out where I think the quarterback is going to go with the football. But when NBC showed replays of Lacy or Starks breaking off a run, Dietrich-Smith was easily spotted pushing the guy across from him five yards back. Either that, or he was putting him on his backside. I’ll be anxious to see his Pro Football Focus grade for the game, as that’s what I typically rely on when it comes to the offensive line. And hey, Dietrich-Smith makes history for being the first offensive lineman to earn an Eversoll Game Ball. That’s a big deal.

Dom Capers

The 31-point total for the Vikings is a joke, really. Minnesota’s first touchdown came on Cordarrelle Patterson’s 109-yard touchdown on the game’s opening kickoff, their next score (a field goal) was set up by a post-whistle personal foul on Datone Jones and their third score (Peterson’s touchdown) came just after a phantom pass interference on Tramon Williams. Yes, the Vikings ended up with 31 points, but typically, when an offense scores 31 points, the offensive coordinator is happy with how the unit performed and the defense is not. I don’t think either is true. The Packers’ defense–without Clay Matthews, Brad Jones and Nick Perry–played great once again, and the Anti-Dom Capers crowd can continue to bite their tongue for another week.

Lame Calls

Tramon Williams’ pass interference on Greg Jennings

This was the very definition of a “lame call.” Jennings, running a deep flag to the boundary, was blanketed by Williams and Ponder overthrew Jennings by a good three yards. But as Jennings made his final break for the ball, Williams put his hand on his hip. They showed several angles of the so-called penalty following the play, but nothing looked anything close to a pass interference. I like to pretend that I know how to read lips, and after that play, I’m pretty sure Williams said, “Aww, heck no, man.” Or something like that.

Jennings-Rodgers postgame discussion(?)

This finds itself on the lame calls list not for intent, but rather, sheer awkwardness. Jennings clearly initiated the exchange, and to me, it looked like Rodgers tried to remove himself from the situation on a couple different occasions. It was almost like the really popular guy (Rodgers) being asked to dance by the nerdy, uncool girl (Jennings) that everyone feels bad for. Rodgers did his best to blame it on his bladder and hide in the bathroom, but Jennings had a stronghold on him. After the game, Rodgers told Michelle Tafoya that he was going to keep what was said between the two of them, but man, that audio has to be hidden somewhere. And I want it.

Critics of the Packers’ offense or defense for their Oct. 27 performance

And there are people out there that will. There are probably plenty of people reading this exact post who will. But why? The offense scored on every single meaningful possession; the only time they didn’t put points on the board was on the final possession when they were running the clock out. On defense, they were playing with a lead and gave up a couple meaningless garbage touchdowns, but the kick return wasn’t the defense’s fault and Minnesota’s second touchdown may not have been if not for Williams’ penalty. Both units played great, as did the special teams, with the exception of the kickoff coverage on the first play of the game.

Seriously though, people: Don’t be one of those guys or gals. The offense is beaten and battered, and they scored 37 points. The defense is playing with Nate Palmer and Andy Mulumba at outside linebacker, and they have been great several weeks in a row. Oh, and the special teams added a score of their own, as well. I’m not saying the Packers are above criticism, but for how they’ve overcome injuries to get to where they are at 5-2, there are more than enough reasons to just be happy.


Follow @MJEversoll

Marques is a Journalism student, serving as the Sports Editor of UW-Green Bay\'s campus newspaper The Fourth Estate and a Packers writer at Jersey Al\'s Follow Marques on Twitter @MJEversoll.


68 thoughts on “Game Balls and Lame Calls: Packers 44, Vikings 31

  1. John, I’m dating myself but I remember some of my favorite plays of all time were Bart Starr faking a handoff on 3rd and short to a running back and tossing the bomb to Carroll Dale, or Boyd Dowler, or Max McGee. 7 points!! Doing the unexpected, or risky can bring big rewards, and keeps the D from selling out too much. I wonder if mm is trying to lure opponents into selling out, trying to seem like he’s not going to change, that he’s stubbornly sticking to his formula. Setting them up for the big one!

Comments are closed.