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Continued: Vikings elbowed aside by Packers

  • Article by: DAN WIEDERER , Star Tribune
  • Last update: January 6, 2013 - 9:22 AM

GREEN BAY, WIS. - An evening that began with some juicy Vikings quarterback drama at Lambeau Field ended with a sobering reminder of just how valuable stability at the position truly is.

The Green Bay Packers rolled to a 24-10 victory over the Vikings on Saturday in the first round of the NFC playoffs for two major reasons. One: They have Aaron Rodgers, the reigning MVP who continues to be a surgeon against almost about everyone he plays.

Two: The Vikings were forced to start Joe Webb, a wonderful athlete but a shaky passer who had only been on the field for three plays during the regular season.

The two-word translation: total mismatch.

Before Saturday, the prospect of Webb starting seemed unlikely. Christian Ponder had been limited in practice and was put onto the injury report as questionable Friday, still battling an elbow and triceps injury he suffered in last week's victory. But the Vikings were hopeful the tightness in Ponder's bruised throwing arm would subside and allow him to play.

It didn't.

Suddenly, with Ponder's limited range of motion pushing him onto the inactive list 90 minutes before kickoff, Webb became the emergency starter.

"It just wouldn't have been smart to put [Christian] in that position," Vikings coach Leslie Frazier explained. "Some of the things we asked him to do, he wasn't very good at getting them done. And he needed to be able to do them for us to put him out there."

And if ever, in an NFL playoff game, there has been a greater disparity between quarterback competency, it'd be difficult to find.

Rodgers, making his 85th career start including playoffs games, threw for 274 yards and one TD.

Webb? He hadn't throw a pass in a game since Aug. 30 in the preseason finale. And Saturday, on a brightly lit stage with a national TV audience, he demonstrated why the Vikings have firmly favored Ponder as their starter since last spring.

It wasn't only that the Vikings had only 6 net passing yards in the first half and didn't have a passing first down until midway through the third quarter, it's that so many of Webb's throws were way off.

His first pass, with pressure coming, bounced a yard short of Michael Jenkins. Later, a deep ball to Jerome Simpson sailed 4 yards too long.

A pass to Jarius Wright on an out-breaking route might as well have been intended for sideline reporter Michele Tafoya. And we haven't even gotten around to the inexplicable pass he threw straight up in the air on his second series while being hogtied by Erik Walden.

Or the lost fumble in the third quarter, forced and recovered by Clay Matthews. Or the interception by Sam Shields later that quarter.

"I thought we had some guys open," Frazier said. "But Joe might get flushed. Didn't get his feet set. Might not follow through like he needed to."

It was part of a rough night in which Webb was 11-for-30 for 180 yards.

Sure, Webb and Adrian Peterson (22 carries, 99 yards) led a 53-yard march for a field goal on the opening series. But that 3-0 lead never had much chance of holding up.

Not with Rodgers holding target practice, spreading the ball to 10 different receivers and commanding the offense with ease. In all, Green Bay scored 24 unanswered points.

The Packers' touchdown drive on their final first-half possession was vintage Rodgers. It began with a 22-yard connection to Jordy Nelson. Then 14 yards to Greg Jennings. Then a rollout right and an impossible-to-stop laser to Nelson for 23 more yards to the Vikings 3.

"Every time we play up here, he scrambles, makes some big throws," cornerback Antoine Winfield said.

John Kuhn's 3-yard run provided a 17-3 halftime lead. His 9-yard scoring catch on the first series in the third quarter inflated that advantage to 21 points.

Oh, and just in case fans needed old playoff scars reopened, Kuhn's TD catch came immediately after the Vikings were flagged for having 12 men on the field -- on fourth-and-4 with Mason Crosby lining up for a 32-yard field goal.

And that's how a remarkable 2012 season came unraveled at the end. With silly penalties. And a 3-0 deficit in the turnover battle.

With Peterson appearing at least somewhat stoppable. And with a bizarre Webb-for-Ponder change certain to generate a flood of reaction.

Soon enough, the Vikings will take pride in a turnaround that put them back in the playoffs, a 10-victory season providing proof that the current vision for building a winner is working. But as Rodgers demonstrated, quarterback excellence is a prerequisite for making that next leap.

Dan Wiederer dan.wiederer@startribune.com

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Buffalo 17 FINAL
New England 9
Cleveland 10 4th Qtr 6:05
Baltimore 13
Dallas 27 4th Qtr 6:45
Washington 17
Indianapolis 20 4th Qtr 4:19
Tennessee 10
Jacksonville 17 4th Qtr 5:37
Houston 23
San Diego 7 4th Qtr 6:42
Kansas City 19
NY Jets 27 4th Qtr 5:46
Miami 24
Chicago 9 4th Qtr 2:00
Minnesota 13
Philadelphia 31 4th Qtr 11:47
NY Giants 26
New Orleans 21 4th Qtr 1:31
Tampa Bay 20
Carolina 3:25 PM
Atlanta
Detroit 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Oakland 3:25 PM
Denver
Arizona 3:25 PM
San Francisco
St. Louis 3:25 PM
Seattle
Cincinnati 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
TBA 1/3/15 2:00 AM
TBA
TBA 1/3/15 2:00 AM
TBA
TBA 1/4/15 2:00 AM
TBA
TBA 1/4/15 2:00 AM
TBA
Detroit 3:30 PM
Cleveland
Houston 6:00 PM
San Antonio
Oklahoma City 6:30 PM
Dallas
New York 8:00 PM
Portland
Toronto 8:00 PM
Denver
Phoenix 8:30 PM
LA Lakers
Toronto 4:00 PM
Florida
Vancouver 7:00 PM
Anaheim
Tulane 57 FINAL
St Johns 82
Central Conn St 48 FINAL
Connecticut 81
Iona 81 FINAL
Drexel 62
Concordia (MI) 42 FINAL
Eastern Mich 100
Harvard 44 2nd Half 0:50
Arizona State 54
Longwood 52 2nd Half 2:19
Ball State 57
Sacred Heart 69 2nd Half 1:32
Brown 71
Colgate 53 2nd Half 1:42
Columbia 61
MD-Eastern Shore 77 2nd Half 0:39
Duquesne 69
UNC Greensboro 48 2nd Half 1:33
East Carolina 70
Marist 46 2nd Half 2:56
Elon 60
NJIT 62 2nd Half 2:18
Lafayette 65
Cincinnati Christian 56 2nd Half 1:02
Liberty 73
Morgan State 47 2nd Half 3:22
Marquette 72
Campbell 53 2nd Half 2:54
Samford 59
Bucknell 64 2nd Half 1:47
Siena 66
Long Beach State 60 2nd Half 7:08
Syracuse 71
Coppin State 73 2nd Half 1:59
Evansville 74
UMKC 50 2nd Half 2:38
Indiana State 52
Hofstra 59 2nd Half 11:21
Long Island 37
Coast Guard 18 1st Half 2:45
Army 58
Thomas (GA) 22 1st Half 2:51
High Point 34
Texas Southern 19 1st Half 0:45
Kansas State 23
Rutgers 29 1st Half 0:14
Monmouth 29
NC Wesleyan 22 1st Half 0:05
NC A&T 27
South Dakota St 30 1st Half 0:04
Northern Iowa 39
Central Penn College 24 1st Half 3:08
Radford 55
Bowling Green 31 2nd Half
South Florida 34
Harris-Stowe 31 1st Half 0:10
SE Missouri St 36
Robert Morris-IL 25 2nd Half
SIU Edwardsville 55
Northland College 31 2nd Half
North Dakota St 46
Milwaukee 23 2nd Half
South Dakota 33
Northwestern St 15 1st Half 11:49
Arkansas 20
Saint Peters 3:00 PM
Cornell
St Katherine 3:00 PM
Fresno State
Haskell 3:00 PM
Oral Roberts
Wake Forest 3:00 PM
Richmond
Fla Gulf Coast 3:00 PM
Xavier
SD Christian 3:05 PM
Northern Ariz
Judson 3:30 PM
IUPU-Ft Wayne
Ill-Chicago 4:00 PM
Bradley
Loyola-Maryland 4:00 PM
Fairfield
Miss Valley St 4:00 PM
Houston
Lehigh 4:00 PM
UMBC
Delaware State 4:00 PM
Temple
Belmont 5:00 PM
Butler
Howard 5:00 PM
Fordham
NW Christian 5:00 PM
Nevada
UC Davis 5:00 PM
Washington St
Abilene Christian 5:00 PM
Grand Canyon
UCLA 5:30 PM
Alabama
Stony Brook 7:00 PM
Washington
Buffalo 7:00 PM
Wisconsin
CS-Bakersfield 9:00 PM
California
Cincinnati 17 FINAL
Virginia Tech 33
(15) Arizona State 36 FINAL
Duke 31
Miami-Florida 21 FINAL
So Carolina 24
Boston College 30 FINAL
Penn State 31
(25) Nebraska 42 FINAL
(24) USC 45
Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 12/29/14 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 12/29/14 8:00 PM
Texas
Notre Dame 12/30/14 2:00 PM
(22) LSU
(13) Georgia 12/30/14 5:45 PM
(20) Louisville
Maryland 12/30/14 9:00 PM
Stanford
(9) Ole Miss 12/31/14 11:30 AM
(6) TCU
(21) Boise State 12/31/14 3:00 PM
(12) Arizona
(8) Miss State 12/31/14 7:00 PM
(10) Georgia Tech
(19) Auburn 1/1/15 11:00 AM
(17) Wisconsin
(7) Michigan State 1/1/15 11:30 AM
(4) Baylor
(16) Missouri 1/1/15 12:00 PM
Minnesota
(2) Florida State 1/1/15 4:00 PM
(3) Oregon
(5) Ohio State 1/1/15 7:30 PM
(1) Alabama
Houston 1/2/15 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Iowa 1/2/15 2:20 PM
Tennessee
(11) Kansas State 1/2/15 5:45 PM
(14) UCLA
Washington 1/2/15 9:15 PM
Oklahoma State
East Carolina 1/3/15 11:00 AM
Florida
Toledo 1/4/15 8:00 PM
Arkansas State
Drexel 71 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 54
Holy Cross 63 FINAL
Norfolk State 62
East Carolina 62 FINAL
South Florida 69
(10) Oregon State 63 FINAL
(8) Tennessee 74
Providence 51 FINAL
Boston College 79
Florida A&M 47 FINAL
Miami-Florida 83
Oakland 69 FINAL
Central Michigan 74
Chattanooga 59 FINAL
SIU-Edwardsville 49
Fairfield 59 FINAL
La Salle 73
New Hampshire 58 FINAL
Manhattan 54
Lafayette 49 FINAL
Saint Peters 34
Duquesne 82 FINAL
Lehigh 75
St Francis-PA 47 2nd Half 4:29
Pittsburgh 83
Milwaukee 64 2nd Half 2:46
IUPU-Ft Wayne 69
Gardner-Webb 57 2nd Half 2:47
Longwood 58
Bucknell 61 2nd Half 3:10
Binghamton 47
Northeastern 61 2nd Half 3:29
Albany 59
George Mason 58 2nd Half 0:57
Towson 66
Richmond 43 2nd Half 4:43
William & Mary 49
Tulane 32 2nd Half 18:58
Cincinnati 20
North Florida 40 2nd Half 3:55
Florida 58
(14) Georgia 51 2nd Half 1:33
Seton Hall 66
Tennessee St 63 2nd Half 6:04
(12) Kentucky 73
American Univ 64 2nd Half 0:10
Wake Forest 77
Massachusetts 69 2nd Half 3:44
Boston U 50
Quinnipiac 62 2nd Half 3:47
Saint Josephs 59
Northwestern 57 2nd Half 1:23
(20) Michigan State 54
George Washington 72 2nd Half 0:16
Loyola-Maryland 49
(17) Rutgers 58 2nd Half 3:52
Indiana 41
(24) Green Bay 66 2nd Half 0:20
Dayton 69
Western Mich 34 2nd Half 16:07
Stony Brook 27
Davidson 49 2nd Half 11:14
Virginia 38
UNC Greensboro 17 1st Half 7:23
LSU 21
Denver 24 2nd Half
North Texas 25
VA Commonwealth 30 1st Half 1:26
Coppin State 28
Huston-Tillotson 9 2nd Half
Houston Baptist 43
Lamar 33 1st Half 0:38
Rice 39
Miss Valley St 22 2nd Half
Alabama 29
Saint Louis 35 2nd Half
Eastern Illinois 20
Middle Tennessee 38 1st Half 0:50
Tenn Tech 32
Penn State 20 1st Half 3:51
(23) Iowa 33
Purdue 27 1st Half 1:12
Illinois 18
DePaul 45 1st Half 4:47
Illinois State 25
Sam Houston St 13 1st Half 1:37
Wichita State 36
South Dakota 10 1st Half 12:28
TX-San Antonio 9
(4) Notre Dame 3:00 PM
UCLA
Coll of Charleston 3:00 PM
SC State
Alcorn State 3:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Dartmouth 3:00 PM
Niagara
Colgate 3:00 PM
Siena
Michigan 3:00 PM
Wisconsin
Fla Gulf Coast 3:00 PM
CS-Northridge
Yale 3:30 PM
(25) Arizona State
UC Santa Barbara 4:00 PM
(16) Stanford
Long Island 4:00 PM
Long Beach St
Jackson State 4:00 PM
Louisiana
Eureka 4:30 PM
Western Ill
Cornell 5:00 PM
(22) Syracuse
Temple 7:30 PM
Memphis
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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami NoonX37-35
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

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