Monday, January 11, 2016

Green Bay Packs Punch, Vikings Choke Thanks to Kicker and Inept Offense

PACKERS 35
REDSKINS 18

The Green Bay Packers were a team left for dead by many after dropping two in a row to end the season and having lost six of their last ten before the postseason began.  Perhaps the Packers found themselves in Washington D.C., because Green Bay's resurgence from an 11-0 deficit was nothing short of spectacular.

All of sudden the Packers offense began to click. A team that struggled to set the tone upfront all season, was pushing back against the Redskins, opening lanes for Eddie Lacy and James Starks, and giving Aaron Rodgers ample time to find his guy in the pocket.

Green Bay would score on five consecutive scoring drive with Rodgers doing his best work before halftime, first hitting Randall Cobb from 12-yards out with a laser down the middle for a score to make it 11-7. Then, just before half he found Davante Adams in the corner of the end zone for the go-ahead score to push Green Bay up 17-11 at the break.

After Washington grabbed the lead back, Green Bay pounded the Redskins with the running game. An 11-play 80 yard drive was highlighted by runs of 11 and 30 by Lacey as he chugged his way down to the Green Bay four yard line. Then it was Starks turn to finish it off with the score to give the Packers the lead back.  The duel threat of Starks and Lacey were at it again in the fourth, this time with Starks gashing the Skins for 22 yards, before Lacey finished the drive with a touchdown to make it 32-18.

The two backs combined for 116 yards and two scores, while Rodgers was back to his old self throwing two scores with no interceptions.

While the Packers enter their divisional matchup against the Cardinals as an underdog, they are stemming with confidence right now, and would shock no one with a win in Arizona next week.

SEAHAWKS 10
VIKINGS 9

The Seahawks escaped thanks to a missed 27-yard field by Blair Walsh. As the movie Ace Ventura once said, "laces out." The laces on the football were in, and Walsh missed a very makable field goal that wasn't even close.  In a lot of ways Walsh bailed out the referees in this game, who called a ridiculous pass interference on Cam Chancellor when he clearly gave the receiver five yards before attempting to bump and run him in coverage. The penalty cost the Seahawks 15-yards and helped the Vikings move closer to field goal range.

While Vikings coach Mike Zimmer is proud of his team's effort, and while it is easy to pin all the blame on Walsh, here is the greater problem for the Vikings: they need a quarterback. I have had my doubts about Teddy Bridgewater for some time, and the Vikings vanilla game plan did them in more than anything else. The Vikings rely too heavily on Adrian Peterson and don't have the quarterback to get the job done. It cost them in losses to the Packers and Seahawks earlier this year, and it cost them here.

While Russell Wilson wasn't spectacular on the other side, having a franchise quarterback would really make the difference for the Vikings. They need to get one in the draft, or sign a free agent quarterback to compete with Bridgewater, or things won't improve for Minnesota in the future.

The Seahawks are lucky as hell to be even in the divisional playoff. The defense was awesome when they needed to be, and Wilson made big plays when he needed to. No play was bigger than the broken play that Wilson turned into a 35-yard completion to Tyler Lockett that gave Seattle a first down. Wilson capped off the drive with a touchdown to Doug Baldwin. Wilson, who is having a MVP season, displayed the poise of a veteran in some horrendous playing conditions. That is why Seattle is moving on to Carolina next week.





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