But they will certainly enjoy the extra days off after blowing out the Minnesota Vikings 42-10 at Lambeau Field.
The Packers hadn’t run the ball well all season. They blew through the Vikings, with Eddie Lacy rushing for 105 yards and two touchdowns before taking a seat on the bench after three quarters.
The Packers hadn’t stopped the run for most of the season. They had no problem keeping the Vikings’ Matt Asiata and Jerick McKinnon in check.
With Aaron Rodgers throwing three touchdown passes in three quarters, Green Bay improved to 3-2 on the season and finished a three-game stretch against their NFC North rivals with a 2-1 record.
After the Packers took a 14-0 lead in the first quarter, the outcome was never in doubt. Nor should it have been. Not only did the Vikings not have star running back Adrian Peterson, but quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, tight end Kyle Rudolph and linebacker Chad Greenway were sidelined by injuries. Really, coach Mike Zimmer’s rebuilding Vikings never had a chance.
Meanwhile, under coach Mike McCarthy, the Packers are the masters of October with eight consecutive wins in the 10th month of the year.
Green Bay led 28-0 at halftime. How dominating was the performance? Christian Ponder had 60 passing yards. The Packers had 59 yards of interception return yardage.
The Packers struck first as their dormant running game awoke from its slumber. Lacy, who entered the game averaging just 3.0 yards per carry with a long of 17, broke off back-to-back runs of 18 and 29 yards. That set up Rodgers’ 8-yard touchdown pass to Randall Cobb.
Green Bay scored again on its next series. Rodgers went play-action, which got Jordy Nelson well behind safety Harrison Smith for a 76-yard touchdown.
The Packers’ defense, took care of business against a Vikings offense without embattled running back Adrian Peterson and injured quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. The Vikings’ first five possession gained only two first downs. The sixth possession ended in disaster. Ponder, feeling pressure from defensive lineman Luther Robinson – who was promoted from the practice squad only hours earlier -- badly underthrew intended receiver Cordarrelle Patterson and threw it right to outside linebacker Julius Peppers, who returned it 49 yards for a touchdown to make it 21-0 with 6:51 to go in the first half. It was a history-making plays for Peppers. Not only was it his first pick-six since playing for Carolina in 2009, he became the first player in NFL history with at least 100 sacks and 10 interceptions.
Ponder tossed another interception two plays later, throwing it behind running back Jerick McKinnon and to inside linebacker Jamari Lattimore, who returned it to Minnesota’s 20. That set up Rodgers’ 11-yard touchdown pass to receiver Davante Adams. That would be the 200th touchdown pass of Rodgers’ career. He reached that milestone in the 99th game of his career; only Dan Marino, in 89 games, got there faster.
The Packers poured it on in the third quarter with two signature Lacy runs. On the first, he was hit in the backfield by defensive lineman Everson Griffen but bounced off, then dodged a hit by defensive lineman Brian Robison before turning upfield for an 11-yard touchdown. On the next possession, Lacy collided with safety Robert Blanton, with Blanton losing his helmet as Lacy bullied across the goal line. That made it 42-0.
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