Published January 08, 2015
Minneapolis, MN (SportsNetwork.com) - Aaron Rodgers had two touchdown passes and Eddie Lacy scored twice as the Green Bay Packers edged the Minnesota Vikings, 24-21, in an NFC North battle on Sunday.
Rodgers went 19-for-29 for 209 yards while Lacy finished the game with 25 carries for 125 yards and a touchdown, along with two catches for 13 yards and a score for the Packers (8-3), who have won three straight and now sit atop the NFC North.
"He had a great game and made a lot of huge plays for us," said Green Bay wide receiver Jordy Nelson about Lacy. "He got two touchdowns, and the way him and the o-line finished off the game for us was impressive.
Green Bay came into the game tied with Detroit, but the Lions lost in New England on Sunday and the Packers now hold a one-game lead in the division.
The Packers entered the game after consecutive 50-plus point games, just the sixth team in NFL history to turn that trick.
"This week was a little bit more of a grind-it-out thing," said Nelson. "But we needed to see a game like this because if you want to win it all, you have to be able to win all sorts of games."
Teddy Bridgewater went 21-for-37 for 210 yards, two touchdowns and an interception for the Vikings (4-7), who have dropped their past two games.
"I'm proud of the way the guys fought today," said Bridgewater. "We fell short and didn't make enough plays to win this game, but the effort was there. We just have to continue to get better each week and be a consistent football team."
Each team punted twice in the first quarter, but Green Bay benefited from good field position on its third touch to go on top.
Starting at his own 46, Rodgers quickly found himself in a 3rd-and-10, but he connected with Randall Cobb for 29 yards to convert. A 16-yard catch from Andrew Quarless set up Lacy's 1-yard plunge up the middle for a 7-0 lead with 1:34 left in the first.
Bridgewater led the Vikings right back down the field on a 14-play, 74-yard march that he finished off with a deep pass to the right corner of the end zone where Charles Johnson came down with the ball for a 22-yard score.
Minnesota's next touch saw Bridgewater picked off by Micah Hyde to give the Packers the ball near midfield.
A 34-yard catch-and-run from Quarless got the ball to the 1-yard line, and the next play saw Rodgers toss the ball to the left corner where a wide open Richard Rodgers had an easy grab for a 14-7 lead with 5:23 left in the half.
The Vikings responded with a 39-yard field goal from Blair Walsh in the closing seconds of the half to make it a 14-10 game at the break. Johnson caught a 19-yard pass to set up the score.
Minnesota's second drive of the second half saw the team make it a one-point game as Walsh booted a 51-yard field goal with 6:42 to play in the third.
Green Bay answered with a field goal of its own, as Mason Crosby connected from 48 yards to cap a nine-play, 50-yard drive for a 17-13 lead with 2:41 to play in the third.
After stopping a Vikings drive at the end of the third quarter, the Packers went on a lengthy touchdown drive to put the game away.
The 11-play, 87-yard march saw Rodgers convert one third down with a completion to Nelson and use his feet to convert another third down with an 18-yard run. At the Minnesota 10, Rodgers used a shovel pass to get the ball to Lacy for a 10-yard score and a 24-13 lead with 8:34 to play.
Minnesota did get within three points as Bridgewater found Greg Jennings for a 5-yard score, and the 2-point conversion catch by Johnson made it a 24-21 game with 3:23 to play.
Lacy, though, was able to get four yards on a 3rd-and-2, and his 10-yard run on second down allowed the team to kill off the rest of the clock for the win.
Rodgers' second touchdown pass was his 30th of the season, the fourth time in his career he's hit that mark. Also, he has just three interceptions on the season ... The Packers lead the series with Minnesota, 57-48-2 ... Nelson led Green Bay receivers with eight catches for 68 yards ... Green Bay hosts New England next Sunday ... Minnesota welcomes Carolina next week.