Sunday, March 9, 2014
The Associated Press
GREEN BAY, Wis. - Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers showed how dangerous they can be when they're at full strength Saturday night, overwhelming the Minnesota Vikings 24-10 in an NFC wild-card game that was never really close.
John Kuhn scored two touchdowns, DuJuan Harris added another and Rodgers connected with an NFL playoff-record 10 receivers as he threw for 274 yards. Defensively, the Packers (12-5) finally managed to contain Adrian Peterson and were all over Vikings backup Joe Webb, pressed into service because of Christian Ponder's elbow injury.
Peterson was held to 99 yards. Webb, who hadn't thrown a pass all season, was sacked three times and off target all night. His only highlight was a 50-yard scoring pass to Michael Jenkins late in the fourth quarter.
Rodgers led touchdown drives of 82, 62 and 80 yards as the Packers built a 24-3 lead.
Webb did not fare well. He tripped over Clay Matthews for an easy sack early in the second quarter, and he was called for intentional grounding while being swarmed behind the line of scrimmage on the next play.
Webb ran five times for 60 yards, but completed only seven of his first 20 attempts for 61 yards. Peterson gained 69 yards on 19 carries through three quarters.
Rodgers didn't let up after the Packers took a 17-3 halftime lead. The Vikings had the Packers stopped for a field goal on fourth-and-4, but Jasper Brinkley was called for 12 men on the field when he couldn't make it to the sideline in time, and the penalty gave the Packers just enough yards to keep going. Rodgers found Kuhn open on the next play, and the fullback barged into the end zone by barreling over Jamarca Sanford at the goal line for a 24-3 lead.
The last time the Vikings were in a playoff game, they infamously were called for 12 men on the field, too, on offense that time in the fourth quarter of the NFC championship game in New Orleans to push them out of field-goal range. Brett Favre threw an interception, and they lost to the Saints in overtime.
The Vikings finally made it across midfield again on the next possession, but on fourth-and-3 at the 38, Matthews took down Webb for another sack, forced the ball out and recovered it. After a Packers punt, Webb scrambled for a first down at the Green Bay 46. But on the next play, his long pass was intercepted by Sam Shields at the 8.
After the Vikings forced another punt early in the fourth quarter, Marcus Sherels fumbled and the Packers recovered at the Minnesota 39.
The Vikings used a 33-yard field goal by rookie Blair Walsh on the opening possession to get in front early.