GREEN BAY–The Packers rallied for a 23-14 win over the Minnesota Vikings and were awaiting the conclusion of the Seattle-Chicago game to know where they stand in the NFC North title race.
Minnesota held a 14-10 lead at halftime of today’s game at Lambeau Field, thanks to an 82-yard touchdown run by Adrian Peterson.
Two critical errors by Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder in the second half turned the game in the Packers’ favor. Morgan Burnett intercepted Ponder in the end zone when the Vikings had driven deep into Packers territory and were threatening to increase their lead, and then Burnett intercepted another Ponder pass when the Vikings had driven deep later in the third quarter. Both were unforced errors and followed long runs by Peterson.
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers slowly chipped away at field position and the Vikings defense in the second half. The turning point of the game might’ve occurred during a timeout, when Coach Mike McCarthy changed his mind on a fourth-down play and marched Mason Crosby out for a long field goal attempt. Crosby, battling a slump that had seen him miss from 53 yards and bounce one off an upright and over the crossbar from 30 yards earlier in the game, sailed his kick over the crossbar from 47 to cut the Vikings’ lead to 14-13.
That play seemed to give the Packers an emotional lift. After a 22-yard touchdown run by James Starks gave the Packers a 20-14 advantage, the Packers moved into position for a 31-yard field goal by Crosby that clinched the win.
Peterson nearly broke a 56-year-old Packers opponents record. He rushed for 210 yards; the all-time record is 223. Peterson averaged 10 yards a carry.
It was the persistent threat Rodgers and the Packers’ passing game posed that was the deciding factor in the game. Rodgers threw for a hard-earned 286 yards. He welcomed the return of Greg Jennings (four catches for 46 yards) but lost Jordy Nelson to a hamstring injury.
Ponder completed 12 of 25 passes for 119 yards and a touchdown.
At 8-4, the Packers will host the Detroit Lions next Sunday before heading to Chicago for a showdown with the Bears on Dec. 16. The Bears were in overtime with the Seahawks on Sunday when the Packers game ended. The Bears were 8-3 and the Packers would move into a first place tie with the Bears should they lose to the Seahawks.
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