Gregor’s Packer Analysis
Wild Card Weekend Recap
In this edition
Houston moves on to face New England after beating Cincinnati
Baltimore beats the Colts, making travel arrangements for Denver
Russell Wilson moves past RG3, Seattle moves 3 time zones again to Atlanta
The Packers beat the Vikings, off to San Francisco
The Houston Texans had been struggling at the end of the regular season losing 3 of 4, but are 1-0 in the playoffs after a win over the Cincinnati Bengals 19-13. The Texans limited the Bengals to 198 total yards and no offensive touchdowns. Arian Foster gained 140 yards himself for Houston. The Bengals haven’t won a playoff game since the 1990 playoffs. With the win, Houston goes back to New England. The Pats won easily, 42-14 in the regular season meeting there.
The Baltimore Ravens wanted to win one for Ray, and the defense came up huge in a 24-9 win over the Indianapolis Colts. Baltimore struggled on offense much of the game, including two Ray Rice fumbles. They put up 24, Joe Flacco threw for 108 yards in the first half, and 174 in the second. No TD passes in the first half, 2 in the second. Indy OC Bruce Arians was hospitalized before the game. The play calling of QB coach Clyde Christenson abandoned the run in the second half, even on third or fourth and short. Total yards were pretty close, 441 for Baltimore to 409 for the Colts. Indy ran it 30 times and threw 54. Yes, 84 plays is a lot of plays, and all they had to show for it was 9 points and a missed field goal. The Ravens will head to Denver. In the regular season meeting in Baltimore, Denver won 34-17.
The Seattle Seahawks fell behind 14-0 but scored 24 unanswered points to win 24-14 over the Washington Redskins at Fed Ex Field. In a game hyping rookie quarterbacks Russell Wilson of Seattle and Robert Griffin, III of Washington, the numbers favored Wilson. The knee injury didn’t do RG3 any favors, and finally in the 4th quarter his knee gave out. On a bad snap, he couldn’t get to the loose ball and his knee buckled. Early reports are several ligaments are damaged.
Seattle had 380 yards of total offense to just 203 total yards for Washington. After 2 early scores, the Redskins never threatened. Kirk Cousins came on late and looked pretty good, but his receivers didn’t do him any favors. Seattle had the ball about 10 more minutes, and was plus one in turnovers. The Seahawks need to go back to the Eastern Time Zone next week when they take on the Falcons in Atlanta.
The Green Bay Packers took the 2012 series 2-1 against the Minnesota Vikings with a 24-10 victory Saturday Night. The teams split during the regular season with each team winning at home. When the inactives were announced, the game was basically decided when Christian Ponder didn’t play. While Ponder hasn’t been great, Joe Webb hadn’t thrown a pass all season. It showed. He ended up 11 of 30 for 180 yards, 1 TD and 1 pick. It’s amazing he had 180 yards, with 50 coming on a TD pass to Michael Jenkins. He bounced numerous throws, and this isn’t basketball. He did a pretty good job running, with 68 yards on 7 carries, a 9.7 yard per carry average.
But the Vikings struggled on the road this season, losing 5 of 8 regular season games. And while Ponder has a pretty good completion percentage, passing yards have been light all year. The 8 road games have resulted in passing yards of 245, 111, 352, 44, 159, 119, 131 and 174 (an average of 167 yards per game). So while Ponder has the experience and probably wouldn’t have struggled as much, the facts are he hasn’t been good on the road. He has improved, and not having a number one receiver (Percy Harvin was the Vikings best receiver and he’s been out for weeks) has clearly limited Minnesota’s offense. But his first playoff game, on the road, and in the cold probably wasn’t going to go very well. The Packers were probably going to win regardless of the quarterback. They were definitely going to beat Webb unless they turned the ball over—a lot.
Aaron Rodgers played well, 23 of 33 for 274 yards and a TD. While the running game wasn’t great, the Packers stuck with it. And didn’t turn the ball over. The Vikings were minus three in turnovers, two fumbles and a pick.
Moving on, the Packers have Charles Woodson back. There was concern about some of the offense being available this week, but it’s too early to know if anyone is out officially. They’ll need everyone to play against the 49ers.