Packers pass defense makes Ponder look like Manning
By Brian E Murphy, PackersInsider senior editor
~As hard as it is to imagine, the Packers defense made Vikings’ second year quarterback Christian Ponder look like Peyton Manning. On third and longs, Ponder kept finding a way to move the chains and avoid punting the ball back to Aaron Rodgers.
With great pass protection by his offensive line against a very soft Packers pass rush (Clay Matthews aside), Ponder was a machine on third & longs against the Packers defense.
He routinely picked the Packers defense apart on third downs.
He hit backup running back Toby Gerhart on third and 11 early on a screen, for a first down. He hit journeymen receivers.
And on the game’s final drive, on third and 11, he found the wide open receiver behind Packers rookie Casey Hayward, and he saved the drive, game, and season for the Vikings.
All in all, Ponder threw for 234 yards, with three touchdowns and no interceptions. He also didn’t fumble, unlike Rodgers one fumble. Sure, Ponder had much better pass protection than Rodgers did, only getting sacked one time, by Clay Matthews. Rodgers was sacked five times, which is about normal for him.
Ponder’s passer rating was a Pro Bowl-like 120.2.
Rodgers was 131.8, but it wasn’t good enough to beat Ponder.
This clutch gem by Ponder, perhaps, will silence the boo-bird Viking fans who questioned and ripped the team over taking him last year in the first round.
Many Viking fans wanted Ponder benched this year, especially in week 13 in Green Bay when he basically threw away that game and ruined Adrian Peterson’s 200+ yard game.
Today, the Packers held Peterson to under 200 (199), but the lack of pass rush, and awful pass coverage and plays on the ball made Ponder look like Manning out there, and the result is a Packers loss today, and a lost bye.
The only good news for the Packers is they get a third crack on Ponder next week. The pass rushers and the defensive backs will have to be a lot better. I suspect Charles Woodson will be allowed back onto the field finally.