GREEN BAY - The Packers scored on their first two drives of the game Sunday and that may have had people thinking maybe the old Packers offense was back. It was, just not in that way. Instead it was the return of the injury bug. First, Jordy Nelson goes down with an injury then they lost T.J. Lang and all of the sudden the momentum came to a screeching halt.
Fullback John Kuhn wouldn’t place the blame on the injuries but there’s not doubt they weren’t firing on all cylinders any longer.
"I think the rhythm was kind of broken when we couldn't get third downs,” said Kuhn. “We saw that in the first half and made our adjustments at halftime and then we came back a lot stronger."
One key in-game adjustment for the Packers was an emphasis on running behind rookie Don Barclay. The undrafted rookie free agent was pressed into action by T.J. Lang's injury.
The Packers first play with Barclay in the lineup, a run by James Starks, right behind Barclay. Barclay said the faith his team showed in him made a difference in how he performed.
"I think that helped me out a lot relying on the right side,” Barclay said. “You know me and Josh to get some push and we were and that helped me out in pass protection too."
Running back Alex Green knows what it’s like to be the new guy in the lineup. Green was sure to reassure his young teammate about how he was performing.
"You know we put a lot of pressure on him and he definitely stepped up. I told him on the field you're doing great and keep working," Green said.
Josh Sitton shared the right side with Barclay and left impressed by the way his line mate produced.
"It's a lot about confidence and he played confident, he played good and winning is fun," Sitton added wryly.
According to Sitton, running the football is also fun, and the Packers did it effectively eclipsing 150 yards on the ground and averaging over 4 yards per carry.
Mike McCarthy said the team planned on emphasizing the run game and that plan panned out.
"Our running game was part of our success today offensively,” said McCarthy. “The plan was to run the football coming into the game and get into some play action pass and we were able to do that."
Even Vikings defensive end Jared Allen had praise for the Packers play calling in the run game.
"They caught us in a couple of stunts that you know hats of to them. You don't anticipate them calling those plays," Allen said.
They were also able to reintegrate Greg Jennings who caught 4 passes for 46 yards in his first action in more than two months. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers was happy to have one of his top targets back.
"There were a couple plays where we were on the same page today and it was fun to get him back out there and still have the same feel that we had," Rodgers told the media Sunday.
Randall Cobb added, "We can do a lot more we have more packages when we have a guy like Greg and we can spread it out a little more and do some different things offensively."