Monday, September 8, 2008

Vikings Choke, Packers Win!

In a game of big penalties and bigger plays, the Green Bay Packers put things together long enough to pull out a win on Monday Night Football's opening night.

The Vikings, filled to the gills with talent, somehow could not execute well enough to notch a victory in the season's opener at Lambeau Field. With a dominating defensive line and a dauntless running game, plus a quarterback who was competent in his own right, it is a sheer wonder how the Packers were able to escape an upset.

Did Aaron Roders use mirrors? Was Ryan Grant juicing? Did the Packers punt return team sneak 13 or 14 men on the field to get a punt returned for a touchdown? Either they did all that, or the Green Bay Packers played a pretty good game, generally speaking.

It had to be the play calling and Rodgers impressive decision-making that kept the game from being all Minnesota. Certainly the Packers were outmatched against a Viking defensive line that will force a lot of punts this year. Certainly Viking running back Adrian Pederson was unstoppable. Certainly Viking quarterback Tarvaris Jackson threw for some big yards. But for some intangible reasons, the Packers made the plays when they had to.

Credit coach McCarthy for some brilliant strategy. Credit the offensive line for deciding to stop getting penalties every play after the first quarter. Credit Aaron Rodgers for showing us that yes, indeed he can. And credit the likes of AJ Hawk and Nick Barnett for playing with reckless abandon.

I have no idea how Green Bay beat the Minnesota Vikings, but the team pulled together and showed some rugged, impressive character. Maybe these young guys are growing up. Or maybe the Vikings choked - again.

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