Eddie Lacy, Packers rout Vikings Thursday night


It didn't take long for the Green Bay Packers to restore some order to the NFC North. The division still goes through Aaron Rodgers and company until proven otherwise.

The 3-2 Packers trounced the Minnesota Vikings 42-14 on Thursday night, the second blowout against a division opponent in five days. Rodgers and Mike McCarthy answered the hand-wringing over their offensive production in the best way possible, with 80 points over the last two weeks against Minnesota and Chicago.

This was the Green Bay offense we've expected all season because it was finally balanced. Eddie Lacy topped his season high for rushing yards with 10 minutes left in the first quarter, eventually finishing with 105 yards and two touchdowns. The Packers' offensive line mauled Minnesota's front seven and Lacy did the rest, decisively hitting the hole and bouncing off tacklers at the second level. Rodgers only had 12 completions, but made them count for 156 yards and three scores. He didn't need to improvise Thursday; his throws were open and in rhythm.

Christian Ponder, Minnesota's last-minute replacement for injured rookie Teddy Bridgewater, never truly stood a chance (Mike Zimmer said after the game that Bridgewater will play Week 6 against the Detroit Lions). The Vikings' offensive line has been uneven all year, and they were steamrolled by the Packers pass rush. Mike Daniels led the way with four quarterback hits; the Packers put up a ridiculous total of 14 QB hits and six sacks. Complaining about Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers can stop for a week.

Ponder needs to get rid of the ball faster at times, but many of his errant passes came after quick pressure that no quarterback could deal with. Three consecutive turnovers from Ponder and running back Matt Asiata arrived in the second quarter, essentially ending the game. Rodgers was able to watch the final frame from the sideline, or the Packers could have eaten a 50-burger at home.

The game continues a string of Thursday night laughers, and was a reminder of how good this Packers team can be. They have dismantled two solid division opponents by 53 combined points. Before the year, we expected their defense to make strides this season. They have started to look more like a playmaking unit, with free agent pickup Julius Peppers looking like a steal. He looked faster than some wide receivers during a pick six return Thursday, and has outplayed Clay Matthews through five games.

The Detroit Lions remain in first place at 3-1, and they should have staying power. But the Packers have served notice that their third straight 1-2 start was no reason for panic. This remains a complete team with the most talented quarterback in the league. It took a few weeks, but they are playing like it now.

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