Ponder, Vikings Make A Game Of It Against The Packers
Even the biggest Vikings fans knew chances were slim for a victory today with a rookie quarterback making his first start and a starting cornerback in jail. Christian Ponder showed some promise and it was a closer game than many expected. I still think Vikings coach Leslie Frazier made a mistake by punting the ball to Green Bay so late in the game, but what can you do.
Aaron Rodgers had some competition from fearless rookie Christian Ponder. The defending champion Packers still kept their cool.
Rodgers kept Green Bay unbeaten with three touchdowns and 335 yards passing, holding off the plucky Ponder in the rookie’s first start to defeat the Minnesota Vikings 33-27 on Sunday.
Rodgers completed his first 13 passes and finished 24 for 30, another near-unstoppable afternoon for him. Ponder was picked off twice in the third quarter by Charles Woodson, who almost grabbed a couple more interceptions, but he kept the Vikings in it the whole game after a 71-yard completion on his first play.
Adrian Peterson rushed 24 times for 175 yards and a touchdown for the Vikings (1-6), but James Starks put the game away with two big gains for first downs before the 2-minute warning and finished with 75 yards on 13 carries.
Mason Crosby had four field goals for the Packers (7-0), including a franchise record 58-yarder, delighting the thousands of Packers fans in attendance who made the trip across the border.
This rivalry is still fierce, as evidenced by a couple of skirmishes early in the game.
Vikings defensive end Brian Robison, frustrated by some unwelcome contact from Packers guard T.J. Lang during one second-quarter play, gave Lang a swift kick to the groin area, a caught-on-camera personal foul that drew a penalty and is likely to bring Robison a fine.
Ponder’s first foray against the Packers, despite the mistakes, showed flash and promise.
He went 13 for 32, but the kid from Florida State never looked rattled — including one third-down completion when Clay Matthews leveled him as he threw, drawing a disputed late hit call — and finished with 219 yards and two touchdowns.