Packers lead Vikings 14-0 after first quarter
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Randall Cobb returned a punt 80 yards for a touchdown, Aaron Rodgers threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to Greg Jennings and the Green Bay Packers led the Minnesota Vikings 14-0 after the first quarter of Monday night's game at Lambeau Field.
After the Packers' defense forced the Vikings to go three-and-out on their first possession, Cobb fielded a punt from Chris Kluwe and squeezed through a seam in the middle of the field. Cobb accelerated down the left sideline and danced the final few steps into the end zone, tossing the ball in the air as if he was shooting a basketball before doing a "Lambeau leap" into the stands.
It was the Packers' first punt return for a touchdown since November 2008.
Cobb, a second-round rookie wide receiver out of Kentucky, also had a 108-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the Packers' season opener against the New Orleans Saints.
Rodgers finally got the ball at the 9:55 mark in the first quarter and directed an 11-play, 70-yard drive that included conversions on third-and-8, to Donald Driver, and third-and-7, to running back James Starks.
Rodgers then finished the drive with a perfect pass to Jennings in the middle of the field for a touchdown, and the Packers led 14-0 with 5:02 left in the first quarter.
With the Vikings driving near the end of the first quarter, Charles Woodson wrestled a ball away from Visanthe Shiancoe for what initially was ruled an interception. Vikings coach Leslie Frazier challenged the call and it was overturned, giving Ryan Longwell a shot at a 47-yard field goal.
But the Vikings committed a penalty, and Longwell came up just short on a 52-yard attempt.
The Packers came into Monday night's game as the NFL's only undefeated team at 8-0. Including the playoffs, the Packers had won 14 straight games dating back to last season — the longest such streak in team history.
Rodgers has put together an MVP-type season through the Packers' first eight games, coming into Monday night's game completing 72.5 percent of his passes for 2,619 yards with 24 touchdowns and three interceptions.
But for all the brilliance of Rodgers and the offense, their play has been far from perfect on defense.
Through their first eight games, the Packers have been giving up an average of 299.6 yards passing per game — the second-most in the NFL going into this weekend's games. Green Bay has given up too many big plays, a combination of communication and coverage problems in the secondary and an inconsistent pass rush.
Their last time out, the Packers nearly blew a 21-point lead in the fourth quarter at San Diego, holding on for a 45-38 victory.
The Packers had a tough time in their Oct. 23 victory over Minnesota at the Metrodome, giving up 175 yards to Adrian Peterson and allowing the Vikings to get back into the game.
The Vikings welcomed back cornerback Antoine Winfield, who had been out since injuring his neck Oct. 2.
Minnesota lost its first four games to start the season, earning a reputation for blowing leads. But the Vikings have been playing better since Ponder took over for deposed starter Donovan McNabb, and Ponder earned his first career victory as a starter in a 24-21 victory at Carolina Oct. 30.
Minnesota was coming off its bye week.