Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers
Mike Roemer, Associated Press
Rodgers finds plenty of options on offense
- Article by: NANCY ARMOUR
- Associated Press
- January 6, 2013 - 12:26 AM
GREEN BAY, WIS. - Aaron Rodgers reminded everyone of how dangerous the Packers can be when at full strength Saturday night.
With the MVP quarterback finding an NFL playoff-record 10 receivers, Green Bay overwhelmed the Vikings 24-10 in an NFC wild-card game that was never really close.
"We have some stuff to work on," Rodgers said after throwing for 274 yards in his first career home playoff victory. "We've got to help our defense out more, close a team out like that. Tough test next week back in San Francisco."
The victory ended a two-game Packers losing streak at Lambeau Field in the playoffs, and sends the Packers to San Francisco next Saturday for an NFC divisional game with the 49ers. The teams met in the season opener, with San Francisco winning 30-22 at Green Bay.
The Packers defense got a boost from the return of defensive back Charles Woodson, playing his first game since breaking his right collarbone Oct. 21. With Vikings backup quarterback Joe Webb pressed into action because of Christian Ponder's injury, Green Bay finally managed to contain Adrian Peterson, holding him to 99 rushing yards after giving up 409 in two regular-season meetings.
"No disrespect to Ponder, but ... it's about one guy and that's Adrian Peterson," Woodson said. "Our main focus, whether it was Ponder or Webb, was to keep 28 [Peterson] from getting off. And if we were going to keep him from getting off, put the ball in the quarterback's hands, whatever quarterback it was, we felt good about what was going to happen."
The Packers' loss at Minnesota last weekend cost them the No. 2 seed in the NFC, along with a bye this weekend, and left them looking potentially vulnerable going into the playoffs. But with Woodson back and Rodgers having all four of his top receivers for, essentially, the first time since Sept. 30, Green Bay looked like a team that could make the kind of run it did two years ago when it won the Super Bowl.
Rodgers used so many options other NFL QBs must have been drooling. He went with DuJuan Harris on Green Bay's first scoring drive; mixed it up between James Jones, Tom Crabtree and Greg Jennings on the second; and had 22- and 23-yard completions to Jordy Nelson before John Kuhn scored on a 3-yard run that put the Packers up 17-3 just before the half.
Pretty much everyone got in on the fun on the last score, a 12-play, 80-yard drive after halftime. Rodgers connected with Jones on a 19-yard completion to advance into Vikings territory, then connected with Harris for 14 yards two plays later to reach the red zone. Given a first-and-goal after a Vikings penalty on a field-goal attempt, Rodgers found Kuhn for a 9-yard score, and the game was all but over.
"Playoff victories are always ones that are very special," Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy said.
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