Packer ‘D’ tunes up to turn off Vikings
Posted: Tuesday, November 15, 2011 7:01 pm
By CHRIS JENKINS
AP Sports Writer
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — So much for all that talk about Clay Matthews’ sack slump.
The Green Bay Packers’ primary pass rusher took down Minnesota Vikings rookie quarterback Christian Ponder twice, leading a defensive resurgence as the Packers blew out the Vikings 45-7 on Monday night.
“Tonight was no different than any other night for me,” Matthews said. “It was just the fact I was able to get home. (I’m) just putting pressure on the quarterback each and every week and if he holds on to the ball when I hit him, then so be it. If not, I’m still going to take a shot. It’s good.”
Matthews came into Monday night with only three sacks in the Packers’ first eight games, part of an inconsistent pass rush that has helped make the Packers’ defense susceptible to big plays.
But Matthews, Charles Woodson and the rest of the Packers’ defensive players showed they still can take over a game, limiting Adrian Peterson to 51 yards and a touchdown and holding Ponder to 190 yards passing with an interception.
“We’re mad,” Woodson said. “We’re mad about the way we’ve been performing. Not holding up our end of the bargain. The way our offense has been playing and carrying this team, we want to be a part of that too. We don’t want it to just be one-sided.”
At 9-0, Green Bay remains the NFL’s lone unbeaten team. And if the Packers can field a decent defense to go with its trademark high-octane offense, they just might become unstoppable.
“I think we’ve known that we can play at this level, it’s just a matter of getting it done,” Matthews said. “We have the same players, same coaching staff, same defensive scheme, it’s just a matter of putting it all together and that’s exactly what we did tonight.”
Green Bay’s defense came into the game giving up nearly 300 yards passing per game, second-most in the NFL. Their last time out, the Packers nearly blew a big lead in the fourth quarter at San Diego, holding on for a 45-38 victory.
“I felt as a defense we owed it to ourselves to play a game like that,” Woodson said. “Owed it to our fans, our team, especially our offense who’s been playing out of their minds this year. We needed a game like that. It feels good, but it’s still one game.”
Aaron Rodgers, meanwhile, turned in another one of the standout performances the Packers have come to expect from him, throwing for 250 yards and four touchdowns without an interception.
Rodgers comes closer to perfection than nearly anyone in the NFL most weeks, but even he isn’t ready to start pondering the possibility of a perfect season by the Packers.
Published in The Messenger 11.15.11