Mark Craig's Five Extra Points

  • Updated: December 2, 2012 - 11:42 PM
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Brian Robison pressured Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers on this play but didn’t get a sack all game.

Photo: Carlos Gonzalez, Star Tribune

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1. Griffen disputes key penalty

Had the play stood, we'd be hailing the blitz scheme that had two of the Vikings' best pass rushers lined up on Aaron Rodgers' blind side. On third-and-4 at the Packers 26 late in the first half, defensive end Everson Griffen was a rush linebacker behind right defensive end Jared Allen. Under pressure, Rodgers had his pass tipped and intercepted by Allen, who returned it to the Packers 18. But the pick was negated because Griffen was flagged for roughing the passer. "I saw the ball in his hands and he's two steps away from me," Griffen said. "It's also a tipped ball. It should have been an interception. It shouldn't have been a penalty."

2. Defensive line falls victim to Aaron the Eraser

Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning are the two best quarterbacks in the league when it comes to making average offensive linemen look great and below-average linemen look adequate enough to win. Vikings left end Brian Robison got a taste when the Packers had to resort to playing their third-string right tackle -- Don Barclay, who is: A, a rookie; B, an undrafted rookie; and C, an undrafted rookie who entered the league as a guard. Robison didn't record a sack. "It's very frustrating," he said. "I think I was in his face at least six or seven times. But Aaron makes things harder for a defensive line and easier for an offensive line."

3. Walsh has his first big miss in the clutch

In the grand picture, it's good that it took until the 12th game of his rookie season for kicker Blair Walsh to miss a clutch kick. But it's worth keeping an eye on the youngster now that he's followed up a blocked kick the previous week with a poorly executed 42-yarder that the Vikings needed to cut their deficit to one score with 2 minutes left. "I just cut across the ball and it didn't go the way I wanted to," Walsh said. "I can't say I loved my first Lambeau experience. When I cut across it like that, it'll go from left to right. And it did." Walsh had a 30-yard attempt blocked at Chicago the previous week when he mishit the ball and drove it too low.

4. Smith smells out trick play

First things first. Why would the Packers even attempt a double-lateral deep throw trick play when Rodgers routinely shreds the Vikings with the basic forward passes? Maybe coach and play-caller Mike McCarthy had grown tired of beating the Vikings' pass defense the old-fashioned way when the Packers had second-and-6 from their 44 while trailing 14-13 in the third quarter. Rodgers threw a lateral left to receiver Randall Cobb. Cobb then threw a lateral right to Rodgers. Rodgers launched a deep ball intended for Greg Jennings. But the ball ended up in the hands of rookie free safety Harrison Smith at the Vikings 6. "I didn't know exactly what was coming, but once the play started, it just looked kind of funny," Smith said. "At that point, you just tell yourself, 'Don't get too excited and go running up trying to get the ball.' They're not running a trick play for a 15-yard pass. They're going for it all."

5. Rudolph completes 'The Leap'

Kyle Rudolph is smarter than Fred Smoot. Both have attempted the Lambeau Leap while wearing a Vikings uniform. Smoot was doused with beer in 2006 when he returned an interception for a touchdown. Sunday, Rudolph literally looked before he leapt. "Since I was a little kid, I always wanted to do a Lambeau Leap," said Rudolph, who scored on a 7-yard reception in the second quarter. "I just made sure I found some Vikings fans to make sure I wasn't covered in beer and peanuts and stuff." Rudolph said it wasn't pre-arranged. "No," he said. "The purple was sticking out."

 

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