No matter what happens for me the highlight of this game has to be Emmitt Smith's predictions. Driving home I was tuned into the Vikings Radio Network and he was interviewed by Greg Coleman. Emmitt was asked who he was picking and after a long rambling minute praising Aaron Rodgers he went against it and picked the Vikings due to all the pressure being on our QB tonight.
So then, on the ESPN pregame show I see the boys picking their teams for the night. This time, Emmitt picked the Packers. I love that...
A) Emmitt gets paid to speak despite making little to no sense.
B) At one point in the interview he said "I just hit the nail on the head!"
C) He changed his pick because he didn't want to offend the hometown team's fans. 100% awesome.
Three bad omens before we start -
1) Apparently they're paying TK by the Favre reference tonight, and the pay is good.
2) Jeff Triplette continues to be employed as a ref (and is in the house tonight) despite years of incompetence.
3) Wrangler just ran a commercial for their jeans starring Brett Favre. Hey Wrangler, nuts to you! That's just rude, man.
Two good signs:
- A co-worker who is female and not a football fan thought the line "let's get it kickstarted" from the Hank Williams MNF theme song was actually "let's get this bitch started."
- I managed to go with three straight bullet point headings for no particular reason other than to exhibit my versatility and fondness for such things.
Last year I did a sort of running game log that was entertaining (to me) but not always the most coherent (to you savages). So, I'm going with something I like to call the Big Play Sequencer. Using state of the art technology, my own guile and a Gateway laptop that makes a weird sound when I hit the "a" and has a cooling fan that apparently was designed for a 1987 Buick LeSabre I have developed this system for your enjoyment.
The Big Play Sequencer breaks down Big Plays in the order they came in during the game. I felt this is important because if the Big Plays were out of the order they came in then this would make no sense and would sort of defeat the purpose. I was against it at the start but my investors are insistent. So, enjoy.
13:30 - The first drive includes a 5 yard scamper from Aaron Rodgers on 3rd and 4. That was nice. I think I saw that maybe 10 times a season for the past 5 years. It's a nice weapon to have. A samurai sword would also fit that description.
12:04 - Jason Spitz and Rodgers fumble the snap leading to the end of the drive. We've got two new centers for this game thanks to injuries to Wells and whoever the heck was our planned long snapper. We have new holders in Rodgers (and Frost on kicks). So this isn't exactly a shock.
6:41 - 3rd and 6 (MN 40) - Aaron Kampman runs a nice stunt and bursts up the gut for a sack of Vikings QB Tarvaris Jackson. I bring this up because much has been made about the addition of Jared Allen to the MN line. What these stories fail to mention is that the Packers already HAD a guy like that so they didn't need to make headlines going to get him in the offseason. Please note that when I say "a guy like that" I mean someone who gets to the QB. Otherwise they're not at all alike. Kampman has class, doesn't find the number 69 funny now that he's out of 8th grade and also plays with 100% effort. Allen has none of those things.
3:53 - Three penalties in a row on the O-line. It doesn't seem to be anything the Vikings are doing to pressure these guys, they're just screwing up. Tony Moll is in at Right Guard and out of my Facebook list.
:55 - Al Harris was destroyed by Adrian Peterson after an 8 yard gain up the left sideline. Seriously, get the license plate off that truck. Oh, and pick up that truck's collar bone, if it hasn't fallen off yet it will soon.
13:50 - Thanks to a couple nice runs by AP the Vikings are able to get the first points of the season. Since he is the only skill person with talent, and since the Vikes failed to use him on every play, they had to settle for 3 though. Longwell from 37.
GREEN BAY 0 - MINNESOTA 3
13:17 - Now that I like. The Pack fires right back with a 56 yard completion to Greg Jennings. Cedric Griffin, the Vikings starting CB, left the game and his replacement was beaten for the big gain. Helping on the play was Vikings rookie safety Tyrell Johnson. By "helping" I mean "watching Jennings make a big play on a beautiful deep ball."
10:20 - After roughly a dozen penalties (mostly on the Vikings thankfully) and some stuffed runs the Pack finally come through with a TD. Rodgers danced around, avoided a sack, and somehow found Korey Hall crossing in the end zone for the score. It's weird, I saw a really old guy do something like that for New York yesterday, how did he learn how to copy Rodgers like that when this is his first game?
GREEN BAY 7 - MINNESOTA 3
7:45 - Ryan Grant, playing in his first real or imaginary game since the NFC Championship game, bursts up the right side for 20 yards. His first real contribution. They seem to be bringing him in slowly with a lot of BranJ on more than just third downs.
4:05 - The drive stalls but not until Don Driver and Greg Jennings picked up some major yards. Mason Crosby hits from 42 and we are rolling.
GREEN BAY 10 - MINNESOTA 3
:32 - After a nice drive with the 2 minute drill we settle for a field goal. I'm not a huge fan of the pussyfootin' decision to run the clock down from the MN 20 or so rather than try one in the end zone, but I'm ok with being up by 10 too. Minnesota hasn't shown they can move the ball yet and 10 points at half could be huge. Dangit. Crosby's kick is blocked. We are no longer rolling.
15:00 - Some entertaining half time stats. TJack has 6 yards passing so far. The Vikings lead in rushing 97-84 and for both teams this has come mostly from the QBs. Still, 103 total yards for the Vikings, and I would hazard to guess that about half that has come on scrambles by the QB.
11:59 - Al gets some o' that redemption the preacher's been yammerin' about. One on one with AP in space Al takes him high and throws him low. In a startling upset the Purple Jesus doesn't snap in two on the play. The drive stalls. Longwell from 27.
GREEN BAY 10 - MINNESOTA 6
9:58 - I'm beginning to wonder if Tony Moll has an old dog that he can't find the gumption to put down. I only ask because in addition to the totally not awesome penalties early in the game he somehow managed to wipe out a 70 yard TD pass to Don Driver on a slant and go. Further developments will reveal that Tony wasn't really at fault but man, why push it? Biscuits could be put in harm's way!
6:35 - Will Blackmon takes a line drive punt from Chris Kluwe and makes me very happy. 76 yards and several missing purple jocks later the Pack is up by 11. Yes, I realize I just noted "purple jocks" in that last sentence. It's not my fault they have stupid expansion team colors.
14:30 - It's 4th and 1 (GB 22) for the Vikings. I would recount what happened to get them here but I have no idea. This is a total phantom drive. They've mixed 3 yard runs with incomplete passes, BS penalties and a few QB scrambles to get here. At least that's what I think. I'm not totally sure. TJack hits Sid Rice on a cross for a TD. According to the scoreboard it counts even though they've actually earned about 6 yards on this drive. Missed 2 point conversion, because Tarvaris sucks.
GREEN BAY 17 - MINNESOTA 12
9:15 - You see, this is why I love the Vikes. They have the reigning Rookie of the year and a solid backup in Chester Taylor at RB. So on 3rd and 1 when they absolutely need a yard what do they do? 4 wides, shotgun formation and a pathetic pass that Bobby Wade was lucky to get a hand on and then drop. Brilliant. As I've told my Viking fan friends all year "they'd really be something with a coach and a QB."
7:50 - Ryan Grant shows up again for an encore. 57 yards off the right side and down to the MN 4 yard line. He was trapped on the sideline around the 15 but he dropped two more purple jocks, busted back inside, and nearly finished it off with a TD. If he can shake off the rust we're gonna' be good. 92 yards on the day.
6:03 - Aaron Rodgers with a QB sneak off the left side for the score. A Lambeau Leap for the young guy too. Nice way to start it off. That was a play I've been missing over the past few years as well. Rodgers had a TD and 36 yards on the ground tonight. Seriously, it's a whole new world.
GREEN BAY 24 - MINNESOTA 12
2:39 - AP scores from 4 yards out. Again, I have no idea how the Vikings even got down here. I think this team has 150 total yards and another 100 in questionable penalties on the Packer D. This offense is flat out awful. No matter what else happens, I feel like we have a real team in all phases. The Minnesota fans have to be worried that their offensive gameplan includes penalties, scrambles and an occasional handoff to the only talent they have.
GREEN BAY 24 - MINNESOTA 19
:54 - Atari Bigby picks off TJack around midfield to seal the win.
GREEN BAY 24 - MINNESOTA 19