Webb started the game on a roll, running the Vikings down the field and leading them to an early field goal. But the Packers responded on the shoulders of Aaron Rodgers and gave the home crowd plenty to cheer about.
Peterson impressed with 99 yards on the ground, but the Vikings just couldn’t get over Webb’s ineptitude through the air (11 for 30) in the end. On the other hand, Rodgers went 23 for 33 for 274 yards and showed exactly why he may be the best quarterback, and player, in the NFL today.
The Green Bay defense forced three turnovers to help Rodgers, allowing the Packers to take the 24-10 win with relative ease. Next up is a meeting with the 49ers in San Francisco, which should make for a very entertaining matchup.
Fourth Quarter, 3:44, Packers 24-10: Joe Webb strikes (again?).
Well, Webb apparently can hit a receiver, but only if he’s wide open. Michael Jenkins had no one near him on that play, and any FCS quarterback could have hit him on that route.
Congrats to Webb and the Vikings on at least climbing a little closer, but in reality, that feels like nothing but a pity score.
Hooray, the Vikings scored a touchdown! Fans cannot be happy right now.
Fourth Quarter, 6:24, Packers 24-3: Joe Webb is a good wildcat quarterback, but nothing else.
No offense to the guy, because he was thrown in a very tough spot tonight, after not throwing a single pass all year, but he just isn’t capable of being an everyday starter in the NFL.
Webb is talented and very athletic, but unless he changes positions, he’ll be out of the league in a few years tops. Maybe a Brad Smith wide receiver role would fit him best.
Fourth Quarter, 12:25, Packers 24-3: Joe Webb is not the ideal quarterback for a playoff game. True. But the Vikings have also been killing themselves tonight.
Webb has turned the ball over twice, but the special teams hasn’t played very well, and that fumbled punt return was just the icing on the cake.
If the defense would have held up a little better, too, then maybe Minnesota would be in a better position instead of down 21 points.
End Third Quarter, Packers 24-3: As good as the Packers’ offense is (one of the best in football), the defense has been nearly as good tonight.
Clay Matthews has a pair of sacks, and the Packers have forced a pair of turnovers, which isn’t all that difficult with Joe Webb playing quarterback.
The defense was obviously Green Bay’s Achilles heel during the two games against the Vikings this season, but they’ve actually held Peterson to just 69 yards on the night. That means they’ve improved considerably in six days after giving up 199 yards on the ground just last Sunday.
Third Quarter, 5:10, Packers 24-3: Adrian Peterson is such a unique specimen, not only as an athlete, but also as a running back.
He has reignited the position this season, given his talent and the NFL’s focus on passing the ball, but he’s also redefined the physicality of the position.
He’s 6-foot-1 and 215 pounds, but the way he runs is just so aggressive and violent. I don’t remember a runner that violent in my lifetime, really. He’s just such a unique player and is truly a one-of-a-kind back.
Third Quarter, 9:50, Packers 24-3: And the Pack just keeps on rolling on.
Rodgers continues to lead the Packers downfield, and DuJuan Harris has been leading the attack on the ground, pounding the Vikings’ defense for 45 yards so far and keeping the defensive line on its toes.
Harris is an unknown commodity, but he’s actually a talented back and has the ability to break big runs.
As for John Kuhn, let’s talk about impressive. The big fullback just put the Pack on his back once again and spun his way into the end zone like some beast out of The Hobbit.
Halftime, Packers 17-3: What started out looking like a problem for the Packers is now looking like their dream come true.
Joe Webb can’t complete a decent pass and looks extremely flustered in the face of pressure on almost every dropback.
Peterson’s running ability — running 12 times for 48 yards — is the only things keeping the Vikings alive, and even that is being suffocated because of Webb’s deficiency.
Rodgers has been stellar so far, completing 14 of 18 passes and leading this Green Bay offense to big plays on almost every drive.
Second Quarter, 0:38, Packers 17-3: Just when I start to call out Rodgers, he shows me why he’s the reigning MVP.
Rodgers has missed on just four passes so far tonight and looks like the exact opposite of Joe Webb, who has been awful.
John Kuhn just put the stamp on the Packers’ running game, though, punching the ball in just when the Pack had to add onto the lead before the half.
Second Quarter, 3:42, Packers 10-3: Aaron Rodgers is as consistent as they come, and he’s showing off that trait tonight.
Rodgers is 11-for-14 passing for 146 yards and has guided the Packers’ offense to two solid scoring drives. Now, he’s got to close them out with touchdowns.
Mason Crosby put the Pack up 10-3 with a 20-yard field goal, but the Packers need to pound it in the end zone and take a bigger lead. Don’t give Peterson a chance to run the Vikings back in this game, because you know he can.
Second Quarter, 6:36, Packers 7-3: There’s so much made about Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson in the Packers’ receiving corps, but Randall Cobb might be better than all of them.
Cobb was a quarterback at Kentucky, but his athleticism has lent itself very well to the NFL, and now he’s a consistent contributor to the Packers’ offense.
I drafted Cobb on my fantasy team in the last round on a hunch, and you’ve got to be impressed with what he’s been able to do in just his second season. Aaron Rodgers loves the kid now.
Second Quarter, 12:48, Packers 7-3: So, you know that whole “Joe Webb might be a secret weapon” thing? Yeah, maybe that was a bit of an exaggeration.
Webb is a talented runner, but his arm is nowhere near Ponder’s, which isn’t even a comparison you’d want.
Webb needs to start making better throws, because as good as he and Peterson can be on the ground, there’s no way they win this game without some semblance of a passing game.
End First Quarter, Packers 7-3: While Peterson steadies the Vikings’ running game, the Packers showed that you need to respect their ground game, too.
DuJuan Harris and Ryan Grant have combined for a few solid runs, but they’re also making the Packers’ passing attack go.
Rodgers has dumped the ball down on numerous occasions, and Harris and Grant have made some great runs after the catch to balance out the offense.
Harris’ touchdown helped, too. He’s no AP, but if he can continue to gain ground like that, then Minnesota may need even more out of its 2,000-yard rusher.
First Quarter, 6:14, Vikings 3-0: I know the Packers don’t have a very strong run defense, but this is getting absurd.
The Vikings have run 13 offensive plays so far, and 10 of them have been runs. They’re pretty much telling the Packers they’re going to run, then they’re running right at them and being successful.
Between AP and Webb, the Vikings have 66 yards on the ground and are making progress without any semblance of a passing attack. The Packers should be ashamed.
First Quarter, 9:26, Vikings 3-0: Blair Walsh, maybe the best kicker in the league this season, just kicked a 33-yard field goal to put the Vikings up 3-0 in the early going.
This is a good sign for the Vikings, given the concern over Ponder’s absence, but maybe Webb’s presence will offer a unique dynamic.
First Quarter, 9:34: So far, the Joe Webb experiment has worked out just fine.
Between Webb and Adrian Peterson, the Vikings have run their way down the Packers’ throat for 53 yards and are on the verge of giving them an early lead.
Granted, Webb hasn’t thrown a pass yet, but his running ability alone gives Minnesota a threat they didn’t have with Ponder.
8:08 p.m.: Joe Webb hasn’t thrown a pass at all this season, yet he’s your starting quarterback for this wild card playoff game.
Don’t fret just yet, though, Vikings fans — Webb might actually be the best thing to happen to you this week.
The Packers have prepared for Ponder all week, concentrating on bringing pressure on a pocket passer. Now, Webb adds an option element to the attack, as he’s a much quicker and more athletic quarterback.
I’m not taking anything away from Aaron Rodgers, but don’t be surprised if Webb makes some big plays for the Vikings on offense. Oh yeah, and there’s always Adrian Peterson, too.
7:00 p.m.: While the status of Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder has been up in the air, it is no longer a mystery.
According to ESPN 1500’s Tom Pelissero, Ponder has been made inactive for Saturday night’s game. That means Minnesota backup quarterback Joe Webb will be taking the snaps behind center — or, more likely, handing the ball off to Adrian Peterson.
5 p.m.: Green Bay fans may be taunting Adrian Peterson about coming up short of the all-time rushing record, but the Packers’ defense knows he’s no laughing matter.
Clay Matthews and Co. has been focusing on the run this week, saying they won’t give up another 200-yard game to Peterson.
Way to be ambitious, boys.
4:30 p.m.: The plot thickens in Green Bay, where apparently the Vikings don’t know yet whether starting quarterback Christian Ponder will play.
Ponder has been dealing with some elbow problems, and now it sounds like he’s headed over to the field early to check out the conditions and get some treatment.
The real question here is: Which would Packers or Vikings fans prefer? Green Bay game-planned for Ponder, and he’s been prone to make mistakes. A wild card passer like backup Joe Webb could throw the wild card game for a spin.
2:45 p.m.: Packers fans should know better than to poke the Bear — er, Viking.
Adrian Peterson has gouged the Packers’ defense for 409 yards in their two meetings, but a Green Bay bar apparently thought it was a good idea to taunt Peterson for falling nine yards short of Eric Dickerson’s record.
Oh, boy. Does Peterson really need extra motivation?
8 a.m. ET: Two down and one to go, but this one’s going to be big.
The Vikings and Packers split their season series, with each team winning at home, including Minnesota, which fought its way into the playoffs behind the churning legs of Adrian Peterson last week. Now, the two are set for a rematch in cold and windy Green Bay.
Peterson may not have broken Eric Dickerson’s rushing record in Week 17, but he did gain 199 yards against a porous Packers run defense, giving him 409 yards on the ground in their two meetings this season. His continued success against the Green Bay defense should be a major concern heading into the third round.
There is help on the way for the Packers, as Charles Woodson (broken clavicle) is set to make his return to the field for the first time since Week 7. His presence should help slow down Christian Ponder, who threw for three touchdowns against the Pack in Week 17.
While Peterson has set the standard in the rivalry this season, Aaron Rodgers has performed just as well against the Vikings’ defense, throwing for more than 600 yards and five touchdowns in their two meetings. Both can be expected to have breakout games once again tonight, but the better performance might ultimately determine the winner.
There’s plenty to look forward to in this one, as two of the NFL’s most dynamic players get set to square off. Kickoff is set for 8:30 p.m., but be sure to keep up with the live blog right here for all your news, notes and analysis throughout the day.
Rodgers photo via Facebook/Packers