Vikings
Packers
19 - 24 Final
  for this game

Rodgers guides Packers past Vikings in first start

Sep 9, 2008 - 4:25 AM GREEN BAY, Wisconsin (Ticker) -- Brett Favre's replacement showed he is indeed ready for prime time.

Aaron Rodgers threw for one touchdown and ran for another in his first career start, leading the Green Bay Packers to a 24-19 victory over the Minnesota Vikings on Monday in the season opener for both teams.

Playing against what is touted to be one of the NFC's top defensive units, Rodgers finished 18-of-22 for 178 yards with one scoring pass and zero interceptions.

"You've got to remind yourself it's just one win but it was a big one," Rodgers said. "I think the talk this week was a lot about the Vikings, and I don't think enough about the kind of team we had, so we definitely wanted to play well tonight, and I think we did."

Rodgers also rushed for 36 yards on six carries, including a 1-yard plunge for a 24-12 lead with 6:03 to play that Rodgers punctuated with a Lambeau Leap to his new adoring fans.

"I've been dreaming about that for four years to be honest," Rodgers said. "I was hoping my first leap would be maybe something a little more flashy ... but at that point in the game I just said, what the heck, I'm going to go for it."

In becoming the first quarterback other than Favre to start for Green Bay since September 20, 1992, Rodgers hardly seemed overwhelmed by the pressure of following a legend.

The team's first-round pick in 2005, who was anointed the starter when Favre retired - and then unretired - Rodgers finished with the second-highest completion percentage (81.8 percent) in history for a quarterback making his first start.

"I don't think he could have handled this whole situation better," Packers fullback Korey Hall said of Rodgers. "You can't imagine the amount of pressure he has on his shoulders right now and he went out and he was collected and calm. He played great, made good decisions, and I think he won the respect of a lot of people, and I think a lot of people have more faith in him now."

Will Blackmon returned a punt 76 yards for a touchdown and Ryan Grant rushed for 92 yards on 12 carries as the Packers (1-0) beat the Vikings for the fifth consecutive time under coach Mike McCarthy.

Atari Bigby squelched Minnesota's belated comeback by intercepting Tarvaris Jackson with 54 seconds to play.

"I was trying to get it out on time, but I threw it too high," Jackson said of the interception. "I need to check my mechanics on the film and see if my footwork was messed up. I feel like if I didn't throw an interception, we would have won the game."

Jackson was 16-of-35 for 178 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Second-year running back Adrian Peterson rushed for 103 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries for Minnesota (0-1).

"It was a tough loss; they all are tough. It is all about developing consistency," Vikings coach Brad Childress said. "We really lost this thing as a team - offense, defense, and special teams. Hats off to Green Bay. They did enough to be able to win."

Limited to 16 yards on 2-of-7 passing in the first 30 minutes, Jackson got the Vikings moving on their first possession after the intermission. He scrambled for 19 yards before hitting Bernard Berrian for 24 yards and tight end Garrett Mills for 23.

Former Packer Ryan Longwell cut the deficit to 10-6 with a 27-yard field goal with 10:52 to play in the third quarter.

Rodgers responded by hitting Donald Driver for an apparent 68-yard scoring pass, but the play was negated when guard Tony Moll was flagged for an ineligible man downfield.

The Packers got that back moments later when Blackmon returned a punt 76 yards to extend Green Bay's lead to 17-6 with 6:35 left in the third.

"Huge. That was a big play in the game," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. "Big plays are important. We talk about explosive gains all the time, especially in big time games."

Jackson brought the Vikings right back with a 15-play, 79-yard march, hitting Sidney Rice with a 23-yard touchdown pass on a 4th-and-1 to make it 17-12 after the two-point conversion failed.

But the Vikings could not get a needed stop by their defense, and Grant broke loose for a 57-yard run down the right sideline to set up Rodgers' 1-yard sneak.

"The way our offense is based, if I can break that tackle, that second-level tackle, usually some good things can happen," Grant said. "It's big number one, to open the season the way that we want, and get things rolling for us against a division team. You always want to get those wins."

Minnesota again put together a lengthy drive, moving 80 yards in 11 plays to get within 24-19 on Peterson's 3-yard run with 2:39 to play.

After forcing the Packers to punt, the Vikings got the ball back with 1:51 to play, but Bigby stymied the threat with his interception near midfield.

"We felt like we had them right where we wanted them," Bigby said. "They were down in a two-minute situation, and that's where we thrive."

After spotting the Vikings a 3-0 lead on a 37-yard field goal by Longwell with 13:35 left in the second quarter, Rodgers led the Packers on back-to-back scoring drives.

Rodgers electrified the crowd by hitting Greg Jennings with a 56-yard pass to the 6-yard line on Green Bay's first possession of the second quarter.

After three Minnesota penalties and two short runs by Grant, Rodgers capped the march with a 1-yard touchdown pass to Hall for a 7-3 lead with 10:07 left in the half.

On the Packers' next possession, Rodgers connected on a 25-yard pass to Driver to set up Mason Crosby's 42-yard field goal for a 10-3 lead with 3:21 to go in the half.

"I thought Aaron Rodgers played well tonight," McCarthy said. "Number one, I thought he managed the game, especially starting in the number of unfavorable down and distances that we had particularly early in the game with all the penalties."

Green Bay appeared poised to add to the lead just before halftime as Rodgers used his legs and arms to push the Packers into scoring position.

Rodgers had completions of 14 and 17 yards to Jennings and added a 21-yard scramble down the right sideline, but Crosby's 33-yard field goal attempt was blocked by Cedric Griffin as time expired in the half.

The first-half numbers for Rodgers were Favre-esque: 12-for-16 for 139 yards and a touchdown and four rushes for 35 yards.

"We got caught downfield by deep pass routes and he was able to sprint out, but I don't think it was the difference-maker in the game," Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway said of Rodgers. "He made some plays with his feet and we didn't get to him."








  • NFL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    MINNESOTA 0 3 3 13 19
    GREEN BAY 0 10 7 7 24 FINAL
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: NONE
    2ND QUARTER: MIN - FG, RYAN LONGWELL 37 YD, 1:25. Drive: 6
    plays, 51 yards in 2:57. Key plays:
    Peterson 11-yard run to Minnesota
    41; Peterson 34-yard run to Green
    Bay 25. MINNESOTA 3-0
    GN

    Sep 8 10:18 PM
  • 144
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 23 roots (Close Finish)

    Vikings 19, Packers 24  4th - 1:24Sep 8 10:15 PM


  • NFL
    TD MIN
    ADRIAN PETERSON 3 YD RUN
    (RYAN LONGWELL KICK)
    MINNESOTA 19
    GREEN BAY 24 2:39 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Vikings 19, Packers 24  4th - 2:39Sep 8 10:06 PM
  • 121
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 55 roots (Close Finish)

    Vikings 19, Packers 24  4th - 2:39Sep 8 10:06 PM


  • NFL
    TD GNB
    AARON RODGERS 1 YD RUN
    (MASON CROSBY KICK)
    MINNESOTA 12
    GREEN BAY 24 6:03 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Vikings 12, Packers 24  4th - 6:03Sep 8 9:55 PM
  • 66
    roots
    RUWTbot Took away 22 roots

    Vikings 12, Packers 24  4th - 6:03Sep 8 9:55 PM
  • 88
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 28 roots (Close Finish)

    Vikings 12, Packers 17  4th - 6:10Sep 8 9:54 PM
  • 60
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    bouch Added 5 roots

    Vikings 12, Packers 17  4th - 10:36Sep 8 9:41 PM


  • NFL
    TD MIN
    SIDNEY RICE 23 YD PASS FROM TARVARIS JACKSON
    (TWO-POINT PASS CONVERSION FAILED)
    MINNESOTA 12
    GREEN BAY 17 14:12 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Vikings 12, Packers 17  4th - 14:12Sep 8 9:31 PM


  • NFL
    END, 3RD QTR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    MINNESOTA 0 3 3 6
    GREEN BAY 0 10 7 17 END, 3RD QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: NONE
    2ND QUARTER: MIN - FG, RYAN LONGWELL 37 YD, 1:25. Drive: 6
    plays, 51 yards in 2:57. Key plays:
    Peterson 11-yard run to Minnesota
    41; Peterson 34-yard run to Green
    Bay 25. MINNESOTA

    Sep 8 9:27 PM
  • 55
    roots
    Jamesiae Added 5 roots

    Vikings 6, Packers 17  3rd - 3:18Sep 8 9:21 PM


  • NFL
    TD GNB
    WILL BLACKMON 76 YD PUNT RETURN
    (MASON CROSBY KICK)
    MINNESOTA 6
    GREEN BAY 17 6:35 LEFT, 3RD QTR

    Vikings 6, Packers 17  3rd - 6:35Sep 8 9:14 PM


  • NFL
    FG MIN
    RYAN LONGWELL 27 YD
    MINNESOTA 6
    GREEN BAY 10 10:52 LEFT, 3RD QTR

    Vikings 6, Packers 10  3rd - 10:52Sep 8 8:53 PM
  • 50
    roots
    alamowx Added 5 roots

    Vikings 3, Packers 10  HalfSep 8 8:37 PM


  • NFL
    MISSED FG GNB
    MASON CROSBY 33 YD ATTEMPT BLOCKED
    MINNESOTA 3
    GREEN BAY 10 0:00 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Sep 8 8:33 PM


  • NFL
    FG GNB
    MASON CROSBY 42 YD
    MINNESOTA 3
    GREEN BAY 10 3:21 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Vikings 3, Packers 10  2nd - 3:21Sep 8 8:13 PM
  • 45
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    McTool Added 5 roots

    Vikings 3, Packers 7  2nd - 10:07Sep 8 8:05 PM


  • NFL
    TD GNB
    KOREY HALL 1 YD PASS FROM AARON RODGERS
    (MASON CROSBY KICK)
    MINNESOTA 3
    GREEN BAY 7 10:07 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Vikings 3, Packers 7  2nd - 10:07Sep 8 7:56 PM


  • NFL
    FG MIN
    RYAN LONGWELL 37 YD
    MINNESOTA 3
    GREEN BAY 0 13:35 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Vikings 3, Packers 0  2nd - 13:35Sep 8 7:45 PM


  • NFL
    END, 1ST QTR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    MINNESOTA 0 0
    GREEN BAY 0 0 END, 1ST QTR

    Sep 8 7:40 PM
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    Vikings vs. PackersSep 8 7:05 PM
  • alamowx Pretty even split for the picks. Should be a good game...

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