Lacy, Packers grind past Vikings 24-21
Nov. 24, 2014
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Most of the chants from the crowd in Minnesota earlier this season went like this: "Teddy! Teddy! Teddy!"
This time the Green Bay fans took over: "Eddie! Eddie! Eddie!"
Eddie Lacy gave the Packers another big lift. Teddy Bridgewater and the Vikings couldn't quite keep up.
Lacy scored twice, on a run in the first quarter and a catch in the fourth quarter, and had season highs with 125 yards and 25 rushes to carry the Packers to a 24-21 victory over the Vikings on Sunday.
"He's a workhorse. We need him in the winter months," said Aaron Rodgers, who threw for two touchdowns and 209 yards on 19-for-29 passing while again avoiding a turnover for the Packers (8-3).
Those running plays between the tackles were working so well that Rodgers even surprised coach Mike McCarthy during a timeout by the Vikings with 2:31 left by lobbying for another one.
"I just kind of chuckled, because it's usually the other way around," McCarthy said.
Lacy and the offensive line delivered a 4-yard run on third-and-2 to take the clock to the 2-minute warning. One more first down sealed it for the Packers.
"One man can't tackle him, because he's just going to move his feet and he's going to fall forward every time," Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes said.
After Bridgewater's second touchdown pass of the afternoon, the Vikings were within three points with 3:23 remaining. Coach Mike Zimmer said he should've called for an onside kick from the 50-yard line, after a roughing-the-passer penalty on the Packers during the previous play.
"I figured they were going to run the ball three times, and I figured we could stop them," Zimmer said.
None of Lacy's carries was more demoralizing than those gains of 3, 5, 4, 5 and 10 yards when the Packers got the ball back late in this game. The 10-yard reception on a shovel pass from Rodgers earlier in the fourth quarter to finish an 11-play, 87-yard drive was a dagger, too.
"Bouncing off guys, spinning off guys and getting into the end zone. That's what Eddie does," right tackle Bryan Bulaga said.
Here are some key points from the game:
Lacy wasn't around in the locker room to speak to reporters about his stellar performance because he wasn't feeling well, the Packers said. Three of his six career 100-yard games have come against the Vikings.
Bridgewater mostly played again like a rookie, misfiring several times with high throws. Micah Hyde intercepted his pass in the second quarter near midfield, setting up a touchdown drive for the Packers. Charles Johnson was wide open on third down inside the 20 twice. Both attempts were wide of the mark, forcing the Vikings to punt in the first quarter and kick a field goal in the third quarter. Bridgewater said he was too jumpy early in the game out of excitement about playing Rodgers and the Packers.
"I just have to settle down and remain poised and just let the game come to me," he said.
McCarthy raised his regular-season record to 90-48-1 to pass Vince Lombardi (89-29-4) for second place on Green Bay's regular season wins list, still trailing Curly Lambeau (209-104-21). McCarthy is 14-4-1 with five season sweeps against the Vikings since arriving in 2006, including 9-1-1 in the last 11 games.
For the second straight week, Johnson was Bridgewater's go-to receiver, targeting him 11 times. Greg Jennings was the next closest with six. Johnson hauled in his first career touchdown pass, a 22-yard completion that tied the game at 7 in the second quarter, and finished with 52 yards.
Johnson was a seventh-round draft pick by the Packers last year out of NCAA Division II Grand Valley State. He wound up with Cleveland during that injury-ruined rookie season and was on the practice squad this year with the Browns when the Vikings signed him two weeks in.
So this was the perfect time for that first NFL score.
"It was pretty exciting for me. I'm not going to lie," Johnson said. "I've got to give thanks to the offensive line and Teddy for getting the ball to me. I wish we would've won. I would've rather had that."
The Packers, who beat Philadelphia 53-20 and Chicago 55-14 the last two games, avoided the trap against a struggling opponent with a game at home against surging New England next week. The Patriots beat Detroit 34-9, allowing the Packers to pass the Lions and take sole possession of first place in the NFC North.
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