The quest to win in Lambeau Field was doomed the moment Teddy Bridgewater was out for the game. Christian Ponder started, and maybe wrote his last chapter in the book of Minnesota Vikings quarterbacks, taking a pummeling while Aaron Rodgers led the Green Bay Packers to another breezy win over a division rival, coming away with a 42-10 victory.
Ponder was sacked six times and took 16 more hits. It was a wonder he was still able to stand at the end of the game. He’s proven more than once that he’s probably not cut out to be a starting quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings, but what the offensive line allowed to happen to him is close to criminal negligence. And the Vikings kept giving him the ball to try and put up points on the board, finishing with 22 completions on 44 attempts, intercepted twice.
The Packers realized what they’re up against, and took a page from their win over the Bears. They blitzed and blitzed and blitzed. At one point no special and added pressure was needed. The Vikings offensive line and blocking schemes folded on their own. The Vikings also turned the ball over once with a fumble by Matt Asiata, who ran for 75 yards. Ponder himself scored the team’s only touchdown, finishing with 15 yards on three carries. Maybe the Vikings should have played like Wisconsin and simply run the ball all the time.
The Packers won by 32 points and made it look easy. Aaron Rodgers had only 17 pass attempts, finishing with 12-of-17, throwing three touchdown passes. The first half was about him finding Randall Cobb, Jordy Nelson and Davante Adams for the scores. In the second half, it was an opportunity for Eddie Lacy to pad up his numbers which haven’t been too impressive this season, finishing with 105 yards on 13 carries and scoring a couple of touchdowns. The Packers were up 42-0 going into the fourth quarter, when Matt Flynn, who knows a thing or two about the demolition Ponder went through, took over for Rodgers.
This was the third biggest win for the Packers in their history of clashes against the Vikings. All of their big wins, the biggest of them being by 38 points back in 2011, have come since 2007, all at home. The Vikings haven’t won at Lambeau field since Brett Favre was playing for them in 2009, feeling quite comfortable in a usually very hostile surrounding. From the first touchdown they scored, with almost 10 minutes left in the first quarter, there wasn’t a shred of a doubt about who was going to win this football game.
The Packers actually punted the ball six times. Their scoring drives came quickly and efficiently. They scored one defensive touchdown as Julius Peppers scored off an interception, returning the ball 49 yards. It was the 10th interception of his career, becoming the first player with 100 sacks and 10 interceptions in his career. At 34, no longer the force of nature he was up until two or three years ago, he’s hoping that his still impressive ability to come up with big plays can help the Packers make it to the Super Bowl with the NFC odds stacked against them.
The Vikings? They’ll just wait for Teddy Bridgewater to return, although their offensive line problems must be very alarming to anyone on the team who watched the game unfold and put Ponder at physical risk time after time. Kudos to him for still standing upright after such a beating, but it probably ends the chapter of his Vikings career unless Bridgewater remains injured, although what comes next might not be that reassuring.