X-and-O Show: Packers vs. Vikings

Doug Farrar, our very own Prince of the Playbook, goes to the film room once again and breaks down one offensive snap and one defensive snap for the Green Bay Packers from Sunday's 28-27 near-miss defeat to the Minnesota Vikings in Week 10 at the Metrodome.

Packers on Offense: The Safety Dance
Historically, the one offensive lineman that has given Vikings super pass rusher Jared Allen fits is Packers left tackle Chad Clifton. Allen has not been able to get consistent pressure on enemy quarterbacks against Clifton, and that was just as true when Allen played with the Chiefs last year. Clifton has had an up-and-down year, but he was unable to continue his success against Allen in this game despite the fact that Allen was playing with a third-degree shoulder sprain.

The Allen play that really affected the Packers was one of two safeties in the first half. The first safety came on a Kevin Williams strip of Aaron Rodgers, as Rodgers was trying to get his bearings and throw from his own 2-yard line. Williams just rode right guard Jason Spitz into the backfield for the tip. Rodgers tried to throw the ball out of the end zone but was busted for an illegal forward pass.

FootballOutsiders.com Illustration

Through the first half, Clifton held Allen in check pretty well, even in Green Bay's five-receiver formations. But with 49 seconds left in the first half, the Packers went with four receivers in a shotgun set on a second-and-10 from their own 9-yard line. Running back Brandon Jackson was lined up to Rodgers' left. At the snap, Allen got a quick bat on Clifton as he started to go around the left tackle. By the time Clifton had both feet planted and was ready to engage, Allen was already past him and Clifton could only reach out in vain to avoid the sack.

However, what caused the real protection problem on the play was a blitz that never happened. Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway faked a blitz look between Allen and end Brian Robison, who played the role of undertackle on this play. Robison went inside for a spin move on left guard Daryn Colledge, and Greenway hesitated for a second before dropping back. That split-second delay froze Jackson, who looked as if he was expecting to either pick up Greenway or run a route, and Jackson couldn't read the help on Allen quickly enough. Jackson went inside Clifton and chipped nothing but empty space.

Rodgers was harassed all day by the Vikings, and it was just as much or more about interior penetration breaking through Green Bay's center and guards. But Allen now has a notch in his belt against his toughest opponent.

Packers on Defense: Taylor's Touchdown Catch
That Adrian Peterson could gain 192 rushing yards on 20 carries against Green Bay's iffy run defense doesn't exactly enter the realm of surprise. Minnesota's X-factor on offense was the receiving ability of Chester Taylor, Peterson's battery mate in the backfield. In this game, Taylor caught four balls, and three of them went for first downs or touchdowns. Let's look at the scoring play.

RB Chester Taylor
Harry How/Getty Images

On third-and-5 from the Green Bay 47, the Vikings lined up in a two-wide, two-tight end look, with tight end Visanthe Shiancoe motioning left as an H-back. Quarterback Gus Frerotte took a five-step drop, as tight end Jim Kleinsasser cleared out the linebackers with a crossing route from left to right. Taylor was the single back, and he ran a little flag route left to just outside the numbers at the Green Bay 42. Linebacker Desmond Bishop, subbing for an injured Nick Barnett, started to close in on Taylor. But at the 40, Taylor stopped on a dime outside Bishop and faked his way back inside, leaving Bishop completely frozen. Taylor was off to the races for the 47-yard touchdown that put the Vikings up 21-10.

The Vikings are struggling in the passing game, and this has been their Achilles heel this season. However, it's best not to forget that in Peterson and Taylor, they have one of the NFL's best dual threats out of the backfield. On Sunday, the Packers learned that on the ground and through the air. Odds are, Bishop will never forget it

Doug Farrar is a Staff Writer for FootballOutsiders.com. He is also a Panelist for The Washington Post and a Contributor to The Seattle Times.

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