Senior writer jclombardi highlights Packers win over Vikings.
Packers 28 Vikings 24 “It’s a Big Win For Us”: After the final gun, Rodgers and Favre met at midfield and embraced, with Rodgers saying something into the ear hole of Favre’s helmet that he wouldn’t divulge afterward. “I’ll just keep that between Brett and I,” Rodgers said. “But I have a lot of respect for the way he plays. (It was) a tough game tonight for both sides. I think the fans and TV audience got a great show with two teams that really needed a win.” And the Packers (4-3) got it, putting them in a tie for first place in the NFC North with the Chicago Bears (4-3) and giving them a 1 ½ game lead on the Vikings. Rodgers: “You’ve got to give our defense a lot of credit. When they needed a stop, they were able to get a stop. It’s an important win for us. We’ve still got nine games left. We’re tied for the division lead, and that’s all you can ask for at this point in the season – controlling your own destiny.”
Holding the Line: “Another day at the office,” the Green Bay Packers 11-year veteran left tackle Clifton said. Clifton and his linemates pitched a shutout in Sunday night’s 28-24 victory over the Vikings at Lambeau Field. “The fact that Aaron wasn’t sacked today, that’s priority number one for an offensive lineman. So, we’re definitely proud of that,” said Clifton, who single-blocked defensive end Jared Allen. “It was a huge game, a game we needed to win after all of the tough losses we’ve had. Just to get our confidence back, it was huge.” But it was particularly huge for the line. On the other side, rookie first-round pick Bryan Bulaga shut down Ray Edwards. Said coach McCarthy: “Zero sacks says it all. And they definitely stepped up.” Rodgers finished the night having completed 21 of 34 passes for 295 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions (84.8 rating). The line also opened up enough running room against the Vikings’ stout rushing defense to get Brandon Jackson 58 yards and a touchdown on only 13 carries (4.5-yard average). “We knew it was going to be a grinder, character, gut-it-out type of performance,” said Packers coach McCarthy. “And our guys stepped up big. “I was very, very proud of those guys today.” Bishop delivers: LB Bishop certainly has taken the starting job and run with it. With Favre looking for Randy Moss but absorbing a hard hit from rookie defensive end C.J. Wilson, Bishop was in the right place at the right time and caught Favre’s pass right between the 5s on his jersey, returning the interception 32 yards for a pick-six that gave the Packers a 28-17 lead with 7:45 left in the third quarter. Bishop also was credited with eight tackles. Jackson delivers: Jackson put together a solid game, adding three catches for 46 yards to his 58 rushing yards on 13 carries to finish the night with 104 total yards from scrimmage.
WR Jones big day: Before Sunday, Packers receiver James Jones had 15 catches for 177 yards. By halftime against the Vikings, he had three grabs for 90 yards and was a major contributor. It was his best game, by far. He caught a big 17-yard pass on third down in the third quarter to finish with four receptions for 107 yards. It was a big game for Jones, who has had too many drops in recent games. “James made a couple of real nice plays,” said Rodgers. “I think it was big for his confidence. He was obviously disappointed the last couple of weeks and perhaps with a lack of reps at times.”
Packers finally beat Favre: The Packers stood strong in front of a national TV audience. They turned back Favre’s fourth-quarter rally and give their own NFC North Division title hopes a boost with a 28-24 win over their bitter rival in front of 71,107 spectators at boisterous Lambeau Field on Sunday night. “It was an excellent team win and an excellent character win,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. “Something this team needed.” Though Favre at times was able to stand comfortably in the pocket, his 50.4 passer rating reflected the occasional effectiveness of the Packers’ rush. Even with a defensive line that lost Cullen Jenkins (calf strain) in warm-ups and Ryan Pickett (ankle) in the first quarter, the Packers got to Favre for one sack and several key pressures. The Packers also had the sweet taste of benefiting from the same kind of Favre errors that occasionally cost them during his 16 seasons as their quarterback. They got him three times including a game-turner when linebacker Bishop returned a desperate Favre throw as he was about to be sacked by Brad Jones. It turned into a 32-yard touchdown that put the Packers ahead 28-17 in the third quarter. Linebacker A.J. Hawk had another pick and safety Nick Collins made the third.