Report card vs. Vikings

Most complete game of season brings high grades across the board

PASSING OFFENSE: A -- If not for the monster season being turned in by New England's Tom Brady, Brett Favre would be on the verge of bumping his record-setting league MVP haul to four.

Favre should have had five, not three, touchdown throws, but Greg Jennings couldn't hang on to a rocket, and Favre overshot Koren Robinson in the end zone with another bullet in the first half. Otherwise, Favre was lethal, going 33 of 46 for 351 yards. He and his plethora of receivers -- 10 players had at least a catch -- were at their best on third down. Favre converted 11 of those situations with clutch throws, including going 7-for-7 in the second half, highlighted by a pair of TDs into the hands of Ruvell Martin. Favre also cashed in both fourth-down opportunities.

The second Martin score should have been Favre's lone miscue of the game, but former Packer Darren Sharper collided with Cedric Griffin, conveniently knocking the ball to Martin. The top tandem of Donald Driver and Greg Jennings had identical lines of four receptions for 63 yards.

Koren Robinson and HB Ryan Grant were the co-leaders with five catches apiece in situational roles.

RUSHING OFFENSE: A-minus -- Grant's huge first quarter was an accomplishment in itself against the Vikings' supposedly vaunted run defense. He's proven in the last three games not to be gun-shy about taking defenders head on, and he tore right through Minnesota into the second level for 81 yards on eight carries in the opening 15 minutes.

Whereas San Diego insisted the previous week on running LaDainian Tomlinson straight into the heart of the Vikings defense, i.e. immovable tackles Kevin Williams and Pat Williams, the Packers got Grant charging full steam ahead outside the tackles. The blocking on the perimeter was superb, springing Grant for four runs of more than 10 yards in the first quarter, including a 30-yard touchdown.

Grant, though, had only two carries of more than 5 yards in the final three quarters and had to settle for 119 yards in becoming the first back to hit the century mark against the Vikings this season. Brandon Jackson offered little (four carries, 1 yard) after Grant was pulled from the game.

PASS DEFENSE: A-minus -- Charles Woodson preserved the shutout by being in the right spot at the right time on a throw near the goal line that went off Mewelde Moore's hands early in the fourth quarter.

The second half of a lopsided game was far from peachy for a defensive unit that held Brooks Bollinger to 7 passing yards in the first half. Ex-Packer Robert Ferguson beat Al Harris for a 35-yard downfield grab. Chester Taylor shook free on a screen pass that went for 50 yards.

Adrian Peterson, though, was a non-factor out in the flat and underneath, and Harris knocked the rookie star out of the game by undercutting him on a screen pass late in the third quarter.

LB A.J. Hawk was solid in coverage. Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila was fresh down the stretch to notch two sacks.

RUSH DEFENSE: A -- Gap discipline and lateral pursuit were textbook more often than not in holding Peterson 251 yards below his league-record haul of 296 the previous week. The Packers were able to live with periodic gains of 11 and 12 yards because they stoned him twice for no yards and knocked him back two times for losses. Support was strong from LBs Nick Barnett and Brady Poppinga, along with the safety duo of Atari Bigby and rookie Aaron Rouse.

Chester Taylor (three carries, 37 yards) was clearly the more effective back with Peterson nursing his knee injury on the sideline.

SPECIAL TEAMS: B -- Mason Crosby kept busy because of all the scoring, but he knocked one kickoff out of bounds.

Jon Ryan blasted all three of his punts into the end zone.

Nevertheless, Woodson was sure-handed, as usual, on punt returns and made some headway with an average of 9.8 yards.

The kickoff coverage was outstanding, limiting the Vikings to 20.5 yards per return.

COACHING: A-plus -- The Packers had their most complete game of the season and their most dominant performance in more than two years. Defensive players couldn't stop singing the praises of coordinator Bob Sanders for devising a scheme that allowed them to swarm to the football when it was in Peterson's hands.

Head coach/play caller Mike McCarthy has the offense clicking on all cylinders now that he has a reliable, productive featured back in Grant.

Ball control, in the unbelievable amount of 40 minutes, 40 seconds of possession, was big for keeping Peterson off the field. McCarthy also is maximizing a full stable of weapons, often going with five-receiver sets.

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