Full-strength Packers too much for Vikings
Green Bay, Wis. • This rematch was a mismatch.
And the rest of the NFC might want to take note.
Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers showed how dangerous they can be when they're at full strength Saturday night, overwhelming the Minnesota Vikings 24-10 in an NFC wild-card game that was never really close.
"Playoff victories are always ones that are very special," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. "Tonight's win definitely starts and ends with our defense."
John Kuhn scored two touchdowns, DuJuan Harris added another and Rodgers connected with an NFL playoff-record 10 receivers as he threw for 274 yards in his first playoff victory at home. Defensively, the Packers (12-5) finally managed to contain Adrian Peterson and were all over Vikings backup Joe Webb, pressed into service because of Christian Ponder's elbow injury.
Peterson was held to 99 yards an improvement after gaining 199 and 210 in the first two games. Webb, who hadn't thrown a pass all season, was sacked three times and off target all night. His only highlight was a 50-yard scoring pass to Michael Jenkins late in the fourth quarter, but it was far too late for the Vikings (10-7).
The win snapped a two-game 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.
"The main thing was to come out and help this team get a big win," said Charles Woodson, playing in his first game since breaking his right collarbone Oct. 21. "This is the first playoff game for us this year and we want to continue to ride."
This was the third game in six weeks between Green Bay and the Vikings, and second in six days. The Packers' loss in Minnesota last weekend cost them the No. 2 seed in the NFC, along with a bye this weekend, and left them looking dare we say it? vulnerable going into the playoffs. But with Woodson back from the broken collarbone that's sidelined him since Oct. 21 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 deep run it did two years ago when it won the Super Bowl.
Rodgers used so many different options other NFL quarterbacks must have been drooling. He went with 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 Kuhn scored on a 3-yard run that put the Packers up 17-3 just before the half. It was more Harris and Kuhn on the final scoring drive.
"We have some stuff to work on," Rodgers insisted. "We've got to help our defense out more, close a team out like that. Tough test next week back in San Francisco. We'll be excited about that."
R Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers completes passes to an NFL playoff-record 10 receivers.
• Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder is held out with a sore elbow.
• Adrian Peterson is held to 99 rushing yards after getting 199 and 210 in the teams' first two games.