ReFo: Vikings @ Packers, Week 5

Ben Stockwell offers notes on standout performances from the latest Thursday-Night blowout.

| 3 years ago

ReFo: Vikings @ Packers, Week 5

2014-REFO-WK05-MIN@GBFor the third straight week the NFL weekend got underway with another a blowout in a divisional rivalry. The closest game in CBS’ Thursday night slate to date was the Ravens’ 20-point victory over the Steelers back in Week 2 which looks like a classic in comparison to the three games since.

Just like the Falcons and Giants before them, the Packers got on top early and didn’t let up until the game was well gone. This game could barely have gone any worse for the Vikings; their offense proved it could produce on Sunday but they are still not setup to chase a game. When the Packers got the big plays in the first quarter to quickly build a lead, it quickly looked insurmountable for the Vikings and they never wrestled the momentum away.

Minnesota Vikings – Performances of Note

Adam Thielen, WR, +0.6

Breakdown: Going deep for a glimmer of a positive for the Vikings from this game, Thielen provided that in garbage time with some solid work. A career-high 33 snaps for the Minnesota State product who collected four catches, all of them for first downs, on five targets in the last sixteen minutes.

Signature Play: Set up the Vikings’ first touchdown on the final play of the third quarter (Q3 00:17) beating Tramon Williams on a hitch route spinning off of his tackle to get down inside the 10.

Christian Ponder, QB, -3.8

Breakdown: I doubt many people thought a month ago that Ponder would be starting this game for the Vikings, and his performance reminded everyone of why, in an ideal world, that would have been the case. The Vikings’ third starter in as many weeks was his usual inaccurate self with a litany of overthrows on short and deep throws alike.

Signature Stat: On passes aimed within 9 yards of the line scrimmage Ponder went 12-of-24 for 99 yards and an interception, earning a -4.9 PFF passing grade.

Josh Robinson, CB, -2.9

Breakdown: Not many targets for Robinson last night but what he did see he struggled with. After a solid start to the season Packers got what they needed from him and could have got more but for a couple of miscues on the two other passes targeted into his coverage.

Signature Play: Robinson surrendered his second touchdown of the season at 04:55 in the second, turned inside out by a Davante Adams slant as the Packers accelerated in to a four-touchdown lead.

Green Bay Packers – Performances of Note

Eddie Lacy, HB, +2.9

Breakdown: Making the most of his touches last night, Lacy topped 100 yards for the first time since Week 15 of last season in a powerful display, capitalizing on some strong run blocking from his offensive line. Of his 8.1 yard per carry average Lacy gained less than half, though still an impressive 3.8 per carry, after contact; able to find good creases and then exploit them against the Vikings’ defense.

Signature Play: Lacy kick-started the Packers’ first scoring drive with his 29-yard gain at 11:12, highlighting how well he worked with the Packers’ blocking, flying through a big crease before running over Robert Blanton downfield to extend the run.

Letroy Guion, NT, +1.2

Breakdown: Facing off with his former employers, Guion came ready to play last night with an impact performance as a pass rusher. Collecting both his sacks against stand-in right guard Vladimir Ducasse, Guion closed out the first half with his first sack before his second drove the Vikings back after Matt Flynn’s interception early in the fourth quarter.

Signature Stat: His +1.9 pass rush grade last night is the best of his career in a single game.

Corey Linsley, C, +3.6

Breakdown: Facing a fairly terrifying gauntlet of defensive tackles (Brandon Mebane and Damon Harrison in his first two games) to start his career, Linsley put in his best display of the season last night. He dominated Linval Joseph (a very good player in his own right) at the line of scrimmage and showed well working up to the second level to take care of Jasper Brinkley in the third quarter, too.

Signature Play: After a strong block on the play before, at 11:50 in the third, Linsley rides Joseph off the line of scrimmage on 2nd-and-1 to help clear a path for a comfortable conversion for Lacy.

PFF Game Ball

He’ll be thanking his offensive linemen for their excellent work clearing the way, but this was the Eddie Lacy that Packer fans have been waiting to see.


Follow Ben on Twitter: @PFF_Ben

| Director of Analysis

Ben joined Pro Football Focus in 2007, and has since been in charge of the company’s analysis process. He also contributes to PFF’s weekly NFL podcast.

  • Sven

    It was a good night to be a Packer fan

    • Sven is a great packer fan.

      Great job. You beat a team without their starting TE, QB, RB and RG. Really though, great job.

      • AJ

        Funny I remember people saying the offense looks terrible and that the Packers have struggled against Zimmer’s defense and that it would be a problem and that the Minn offense would run hard on the Packers and beat up the broken defense. Then none of that happened and suddenly not having an offense was why the defense was a sieve. I didn’t know all those offensive players played such a crucial role on defense

      • Buck Few ☣

        Same thing happened to the Packers last year. When they won the division.

        In fact, the Packers lost 29 players for a combined 313 games last year.

  • Chris

    A good defensive performance by the Vikings in the 1st half considering the situation. They could have come out totally deflated with Bridgewater out, but they did all they could forcing five 3-and-outs by the Packers on 8 drives. Allowing Lacy up 53 yards on the first scoring drive wasn’t good for business and the 66 yard bomb to Nelson was a mistake, but the 3rd TD came off a short 20 yard field after an INT by Ponder.

    But without Peterson or Bridgewater the offense is worthless.

    • mutzki

      I’m not quite sure Bridgewater would have made the difference the Vikings needed yesterday. I don’t think one player (with only one start) can make a 32-point (and it felt like a lot more) difference go away. It might not have been the blowout it was, but i still think the Packers would have won the game.

      • Chris

        I agree I still think the Packers would’ve won, but Teddy would’ve made it competitive. I was on the Vikes to cover before I heard he was out. Ponder is just godawful.

        • Shawn

          The unfortunate truth for the Vikings is that their offensive line was outright terrible in this game, and whether you have Ponder or Peyton Manning, when your line gets dominated to that extent, you lose. Bridgewater was better served by sitting in the game and letting Ponder be hit 16 times.

          Ponder, meanwhile, wasn’t actually that bad. His best passes were dropped by the Viking receivers and, though his stats look bad, he was pummeled all night.

  • Carl DeLuca

    No mention of Daniels? He was flat out dominate last night.

    • Chris

      Daniels played the most snaps out of the 5 DL the Pack used. He was also the best pass rusher picking up 6 pressures including a sack from his interior rush position (although Guion’s 3 including 2 sacks is really good for a NT as well).

      He picked up a 2nd stop against the run, and graded out as the Packers’ best defensive lineman of the game.

      They likely went with Guion in the Focus because it was a career game for him and it came against his former team.

  • Ryan

    The Vikings looked like the worst football team in the NFL last night. TThe NFL needs to get rid of the Thursday night games, these team are completely unprepared and the games are unwatchable.

    • Josh Knepshield

      The Packers looked completely unprepared…

      • Chris

        Bad teams need more time to prepare to play against superior opponents. Below .500 teams who have to travel on short weeks have been notoriously terrible in these TNF games.

        Whereas superior teams like GB who are playing at home don’t need the extra prep time.

        • Josh Knepshield

          That is a little bit of a double standard there. What if a great team was going on the road, then by your logic, the home team, and weaker team, would need more time to prepare? Ok, then.

          • Chris

            No. It doesn’t always apply to every TNF game. But it does apply to bad teams traveling on a short week.

          • Josh Knepshield

            Bad teams shouldn’t get an advantage for being bad. Why reward mediocrity?

  • steve walker

    Unfortunately the defense surrendered an early lead. After that the entire team knew they had no chance of coming back with Ponder. They we’re ready to go home after the first quarter. Even Zimmer couldn’t get out of there fast enough. Down 4 TDs, they tried no onside kicks and continually punted on 4th down.

  • Tommy

    Good to see GB use the stud RB. It kind of seems like they are saving him for later in the year to some degree, I know GB has Rodgers and an average at best run blocking O line unit but the guy is only getting about 12 carries a game, they are not leaning on him like last year when Rodgers was out, its pretty much the Aaron Rodgers show in GB.