By Joseph Gunther
Minnesota Vikings fans found out exactly why Joe Webb is the backup quarterback and Christian Ponder was never in danger of losing his job this season.
Webb athleticism and speed presented the Green Bay Packers with a different challenge. However, his inability to find and hit open receivers cost the Vikings a chance to get the upset at Lambeau Field.
He turned the ball over twice on successive offensive possessions. First, he fumbled in which held the ball too long in the pocket that came on fourth down. Then, he overthrew Devin Aromashodu on first down just across midfield.
Webb’s struggles didn’t help Adrian Peterson. The star running back and MVP candidate did not get going until there was about nine minutes remaining.
“We knew our best chance to win coming into today was to be balanced, and we didn’t get that done today,” Peterson said after the game. “I could have made more plays.”
As the Vikings offense struggled from its second offensive drive until the final four minutes of the game, the Packers rattled off 24 straight points to open a seemingly insurmountable three-touchdown lead.
Aaron Rodgers threw for only 274 yards and one touchdown, but led the Packers to a 24-10 victory.
Michael Jenkins made the numbers look a little better with three catches for 96 and a touchdown, all within the final four minutes of the game.
The Vikings lost every statistical category: except rushing yards (167-76), yards per rush (5.8-2.5), rushing first downs (11-2) and third down efficiency (35.7 percent-21.4 percent).
The coaching staff deserves credit for keeping their quarterback situation under wraps until the inactive list was due. However, with Webb at quarterback the offense just could not do anything. The Vikings were a little creative with their play calling early in the game, but Webb’s inability to lead the offense limited what plays could be called.
The Vikings were simply out played and clearly the less talented team.
He constantly held the ball too long in the pocket and did not find open receivers (and there were open receivers), scrambled into bad plays and made poor decisions when trying to throw the ball away. When he did find open receivers, he consistently over threw and under threw them. Peterson didn’t eclipse the 100-yard mark, but he had no chance when Webb was unable to get the offense moving.
The most disappointing aspect of the loss was the pass rush. The Packers were the second worst team at protecting its quarterback. However, the Vikings very good pass rush was nowhere to be seen. It had three sacks, but two were coverage sacks and the other came late in the game. Not once was Rodgers hurried when the game mattered.
Blair Walsh made his field goal, Chris Kluwe was solid. The only problem was a muffed punt return by Marcus Sherels in the fourth quarter. He was having a good game until that point.
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Joseph Gunther is an avid fan of Minnesota sports, including football, hockey and baseball. He covered a wide variety of sports while attending Hastings College in Hastings, Neb. While at Hastings College, he was a part of the first collegiate media group to broadcast a national tournament via television, radio, internet and newspaper at the 2004 NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball Tournament. He grew up in the Twin Cities playing three years of varsity football in high school. His work can be found on Examiner.com.