GREEN BAY, Wis. – Another night, another four-touchdown performance for Aaron Rodgers – just about what the Green Bay Packers have come to expect from their superstar quarterback.
The real surprise came on the other side of the ball: A defense that finally showed it can take charge of a game.
The Packers (9-0) remain the NFL’s lone undefeated team. And if they now can count on a defense to complement their high-octane offense, they just might be unstoppable.
Rodgers threw for four scores against a fierce Vikings pass rush, Randall Cobb returned a punt 80 yards for a touchdown and the Packers defense contained Adrian Peterson and the Minnesota Vikings in a 45-7 victory on Monday night.
“It’s (our) best game, because of the margin of victory,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. “And at the end of the day, it’s about points.”
Green Bay’s defense came into the game giving up nearly 300 yards passing per game, second-most in the NFL. The last time out, the Packers nearly blew a big lead in the fourth quarter at San Diego, holding on for a 45-38 victory.
The Packers finally played to their potential against the division rival Vikings (2-7), holding rookie quarterback Christian Ponder to 190 yards passing with an interception and limiting Peterson to 51 yards and a touchdown.
“Our performance tonight was very disappointing,” Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said.
The Vikings’ defense did its best to rough up Rodgers, sacking him three times and hitting him hard virtually every time he took off running. Defensive end Jared Allen harassed Rodgers at every turn.
The pressure didn’t force any uncharacteristic mistakes from Rodgers, who was 23 of 30 for 250 yards without an interception. Rodgers threw a pair of touchdown passes to Jordy Nelson, and also found Greg Jennings and John Kuhn for scores.
Allen didn’t need anybody to recite Rodgers’ gaudy stats.
“I don’t even know what that means,” Allen said. “All I know is he crushed us tonight.”
McCarthy put backup quarterback Matt Flynn in the game with 10:30 left in the fourth quarter – and the Vikings couldn’t keep him out of the end zone, either, as he scrambled 3 yards for a touchdown with 4:27 left.
GB—Cobb 80 punt return (Crosby kick)
GB—G.Jennings 24 pass from Rodgers (Crosby kick)
GB—FG Crosby 25
GB—Nelson 17 pass from Rodgers (Crosby kick)
Min—Peterson 3 run (Longwell kick)
GB—Kuhn 9 pass from Rodgers (Crosby kick)
GB—Nelson 4 pass from Rodgers (Crosby kick)
GB—Flynn 3 run (Crosby kick)
|Total Net Yards||266||356|
|Time of Poss.||26:42||33:18|
RUSHING—Minnesota, Peterson 14-51, Harvin 3-18, Ponder 2-17, Booker 2-12, Webb 1-6. Green Bay, Starks 13-63, Rodgers 6-21, Grant 8-6, Flynn 4-0.
PASSING—Minnesota, Ponder 16-34-1-190. Green Bay, Rodgers 23-30-0-250, Flynn 2-2-0-38.
RECEIVING—Minnesota, Harvin 6-52, Jenkins 3-49, Rudolph 3-37, Shiancoe 1-33, Booker 1-9, Webb 1-9, D’Imperio 1-1. Green Bay, Nelson 5-63, Finley 3-67, Cobb 3-36, Driver 3-36, G.Jennings 3-32, Starks 3-11, Kuhn 2-9, Grant 1-17, J.Jones 1-9, Quarless 1-8.
MISSED FIELD GOALS—Minnesota, Longwell 52 (SH).