Rants and Raves: Packers help Vikings to extra points
By Mike Vandermause, Press-Gazette
~ Rant: On first and goal from the 2 in the fourth quarter, the Vikings failed on three attempts to get into the end zone and were about to settle for a field goal. But an illegal hands to the face penalty against Tramon Williams handed the Vikings a first down, and three plays later they scored a touchdown to go ahead 34-27.
• Rave: Jeremy Ross, subbing for the injured Randall Cobb, returned a kickoff 44 yards and a punt 32 yards in the second quarter to give the Packers a spark. The latter return set up a short field at the Vikings’ 42 and led to a touchdown.
• Rant: Mike McCarthy should know better. Head coaches can’t throw a challenge flag when a play is subject to automatic review. It cost the Lions a victory on Thanksgiving when coach Jim Schwartz did that. McCarthy is lucky it didn’t cost his team a touchdown in the third quarter. Despite McCarthy’s gaffe, a James Jones fumble was reviewed, overturned and ruled a touchdown. McCarthy got off easy with just a 15-yard penalty that was assessed on the ensuing kickoff.
• Rave: DuJuan Harris was overshadowed by Adrian Peterson, but the first-year Packers back ran hard and showed extra effort in gaining 70 yards in 14 carries (5.0 average).
• Rant: How do you leave Peterson wide open in the end zone?
That’s what the Packers defense did in the third quarter to give the Vikings an easy 2-yard touchdown pass from Christian Ponder. Earlier in the drive a Peterson fumble was overturned by review, and on the next play Peterson dashed around right end for 28 yards on second and 27.
• Rave: Vikings coach Leslie Frazier, needing a victory and playing aggressively, deserves credit for going for a first down on fourth and 1 from the Packers’ 38 in the first quarter. Peterson picked up the first down to set up a field goal. Packers coach Mike McCarthy, meanwhile, went for it on fourth and 1 from the Packers’ 43 in the fourth quarter and a Rodgers pass to Jarrett Boykin kept the drive alive and led to a Packers’ tying touchdown.
• Rant: The Packers got sloppy in the third quarter and it cost them. On third and 1 from the Vikings’ 45 Josh Sitton and Don Barclay committed a false start in unison, although Barclay was charged with the penalty. On the next play a scrambling Rodgers was separated from the ball by Brian Robison, and the Vikings’ Jamarca Sanford recovered. It was the only turnover of the game by either team.
• Rave: The Packers staged an impressive 47-yard drive in the final minute of the first half with no timeouts, culminating in Mason Crosby’s 51-yard field goal as time expired. A Rodgers to Jermichael Finley 14-yard pass, in which Finley got out of bounds with 1 second remaining, set up the field goal.
• Rant/Rave: Greg Jennings dropped a second-quarter touchdown pass but two plays later was exonerated when he caught a 3-yard scoring throw from Rodgers, who rolled right and patiently waited for his receiver to break open. Jennings caught another touchdown pass in the third quarter when no one on the Vikings covered him, and he finished the game with eight catches for 120 yards.
• Rant: The Packers looked like they were sleepwalking on offense in the first quarter. They went three and out on their first two possessions, which gave the Vikings a dominating advantage in total yards (135-11), first downs (8-0) and rushing yards (84-2).
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