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01/06/2013 1:00 AM EST
Packers show off depth in 24-10 win over Vikes
GREEN BAY 24, MINNESOTA 10

By NANCY ARMOUR
AP National Writer

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) -- Deep on offense and scary-good on
defense, the Green Bay Packers were way too much for the
Minnesota Vikings.



Maybe everyone else in the NFC, too.



Aaron Rodgers, Charles Woodson and the Packers reminded everyone
of how dangerous they can be when they're at full strength
Saturday night, overwhelming the Vikings 24-10 in an NFC
wild-card game that was never really close.



"Our defense played great," Rodgers said. "Our defense tonight
played at a championship level and that's what you need in the
playoffs."



John Kuhn scored two touchdowns, DuJuan Harris added another and
Rodgers connected with an NFL playoff-record 10 receivers as he
threw for 274 yards in his first playoff victory at home.
Defensively, the Packers (12-5) finally managed to contain
Adrian Peterson and were all over Vikings backup Joe Webb,
pressed into service because of Christian Ponder's triceps
injury.



Peterson was held to 99 yards - an improvement after gaining 199
and 210 in the first two games against Green Bay. It was only
the second time in the last 11 games that he was held below 100
yards. Webb, who hadn't thrown a pass all season, was sacked
three times and off target all night. His only highlight was a
50-yard scoring pass to Michael Jenkins late in the fourth
quarter, but it was far too late for the Vikings (10-7).



"No disrespect to Ponder, but ... it's about one guy and that's
Adrian Peterson," said Woodson, who played his first game since
breaking his right collarbone Oct. 21. "Our main focus, whether
it was Ponder or Webb, was to keep 28 (Peterson) from getting
off. And if we were going to keep him from getting off, put the
ball in the quarterback's hands, whatever quarterback it was, we
felt good about what was going to happen."



With a little over a minute left, Packers fans began taunting
the Vikings (10-7) with chants of "Nah-nah-nah-nah ... goodbye."
The win snapped a two-game losing streak at Lambeau Field in the
playoffs, and sent the Packers to San Francisco next Saturday
for an NFC divisional game with the 49ers. The teams met in the
season opener, with San Francisco winning 30-22.



"A lot has happened since we played San Francisco," Packers
coach Mike McCarthy said. "We're a different team."



This was the third game in six weeks between Green Bay and the
Vikings, and second in six days. The Packers' loss in Minnesota
last weekend cost them the No. 2 seed in the NFC, along with a
bye this weekend, and left them looking - dare we say it? -
vulnerable going into the playoffs. But with Woodson back and
Rodgers having all four of his top receivers for, essentially,
the first time since Sept. 30, Green Bay looked like a team that
could make the kind of deep run it did two years ago when it won
the Super Bowl.



Rodgers used so many different options other NFL quarterbacks
must have been drooling. He went with Harris on Green Bay's
first scoring drive, mixed it up between James Jones, Tom
Crabtree and Greg Jennings on the second, and had 22- and
23-yard completions to Jordy Nelson before Kuhn scored on a
3-yard run that put the Packers up 17-3 just before the half.



And pretty much everyone got in on the fun on the last score, a
12-play, 80-yard drive that chewed up more than 5 1/2 minutes.
Rodgers connected with Jones on a 19-yard completion to put the
Packers in Packers territory, then connected with Harris for 14
yards two plays later to reach the red zone. Rodgers threw
incompletes on second and third downs, but just when the Packers
thought they'd have to settle for a field goal, the Vikings were
whistled for 12 men on the field, giving Rodgers another crack
at the end zone.



He found Kuhn for the 9-yard score, and the game was all but
over.



"That was tough. We were down seven and they went and scored and
they were coming out of the half, too, getting the ball, too,
and they got it and scored again," Antoine Winfield said. "Can't
do that against the Green Bay Packers."



Harris, who didn't play in the first game against Minnesota this
season because he'd only been elevated from the practice squad a
day earlier, led the team in receiving (five catches for 61
yards) and rushing (47 yards on 17 carries). Jennings and Jones
had four catches each and Nelson had three before hobbling off
late in the fourth quarter.



"We have some stuff to work on," Rodgers said. "We've got to
help our defense out more, close a team out like that. Tough
test next week back in San Francisco."



Hey, at least the Packers are still playing. That's more than
the Vikings can say.



Ponder was hurt last weekend when Morgan Burnett slammed into
him on a blitz. Though initially thought to be an elbow injury,
Ponder said it was actually a deep bruise in his right triceps.
It limited his flexibility along with his power and, though it
is better, there simply wasn't enough time to recover with the
short, six-day turnaround.



After testing the arm before the game, the Vikings decided to go
with Webb, whose only playing time this year was a couple of
handoffs at the end of a blowout of Tennessee in early October.



"I can play with pain. The biggest thing is the loss of
flexibility," Ponder said. "I couldn't get the ball in the
position to where I could throw it normally and lost a lot of
power and everything. It wouldn't have been wise to play."



It was the first time Buffalo's Frank Reich in 1993 a
quarterback had started a playoff game after not starting during
the regular season, according to STATS Inc. And, in the first
series at least, he seemed to have caught the Packers off guard.
That or they were too busy trying to bottle up Peterson, who
bulldozed them for 409 yards in their first two games, to pay
attention.



With what seemed like every Packers defender focused on
Peterson, Webb converted a third-and-3 with a 17-yard pickup.
His 5-yard run four plays later put the Vikings at the Green Bay
13. But Webb's first pass of the night went into the ground, and
the Vikings were forced to settle for Blair Walsh's 33-yard
field goal that gave them a 3-0 lead.



But the Packers quickly settled down and Webb and the Vikings
never stood a chance. Especially with Peterson not allowed to
roam free as he's done against the Packers in the past.



"The energy level was at an all-time high," Woodson said. "This
week, like last week, we buzzed around. But this week we made
the tackles, we didn't allow (Peterson) to get through the line
of scrimmage and get yards after first contact. We just kept
putting heat on them. That was the difference."



Notes: With two sacks of Webb, Matthews joined Reggie White as
the only Packers to have two or more sacks in two postseason
games. ... Minnesota had 157 of its 324 yards in the fourth
quarter, when the game was out of hand. ... Kuhn is the only
player in the NFL to score a touchdown in each of the last four
postseasons. ... Mason Crosby's 20-yard field goal in the second
quarter was his sixth straight in the postseason, a Packers
record. ... Vikings S Harrison Smith left the game briefly with
a left knee injury, but was able to return. Minnesota coach
Leslie Frazier said after the game he was fine.



---



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