ReFo: Vikings @ Packers, Week 5
Ben Stockwell offers notes on standout performances from the latest Thursday-Night blowout.
ReFo: Vikings @ Packers, Week 5
For 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
Ben Stockwell | 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.