Success in a post-Favre era? Rodgers that

GREEN BAY --Two of the most scrutinized quarterbacks in the NFL crossed swords Monday night at Lambeau Field in a game that could have revealed the future of the NFC North.

Packers' quarterback Aaron Rodgers celebrates during Monday's game in Green Bay. ASSOCIATED PRESS

GREEN BAY --Two of the most scrutinized quarterbacks in the NFL crossed swords Monday night at Lambeau Field in a game that could have revealed the future of the NFC North.

In the Packers' 24-19 victory over the Vikings, Aaron Rodgers' play gave the impression he might become the quarterback king of the division, while Tarvaris Jackson's play raised serious concerns about the Vikings' ability to contend.

Playing in front of the mostly receptive home folks, each of whom was holding a ticket with Brett Favre's picture on it, was Rodgers. It was his first NFL start, but it didn't mark the beginning of a new era as much as it officially closed an old one.

Even the most hopeful among Packers fans could not expect Rodgers' Packers career to come close to Favre's, but for one night at least, Rodgers was more than an able replacement.

The Vikings countered with Jackson, the player who would have been replaced by Favre had Favre been available.


Ultimately, it wasn't about Rodgers vs. Favre as much as it was about Rodgers vs. Jackson. If both of their teams are correct, this could have been the beginning of a long personal rivalry, a new age Bart Starr vs. Fran Tarkenton.

Rodgers looked a bit jittery at the start. He fumbled a snap on the first possession and wasn't helped much by an offense that committed six penalties on its first two drives.

Four of the penalties were called against the left side of the Packers' offensive line, whose responsibility it was to contain new Vikings end Jared Allen. So even when Allen wasn't making plays, his presence clearly was felt.

It was a sloppy effort from both teams, with the Packers committing 12 penalties for 118 yards and the Vikings chipping in with nine for 42 yards.

Rodgers and the Packers settled down with time, and he ended up with a 115.5 passer rating and a completion percentage of 82 (18 of 22 for 178 yards).

In the second quarter, he completed a 56-yard pass to Greg Jennings--it was a better catch than throw--that set up a 1-yard touchdown pass to fullback Korey Hall. On another second-quarter possession, a 25-yard pass to Donald Driver set up a field goal that gave the Packers a 10-3 lead.

Rodgers had a 68-yard completion that should have been a touchdown called back because guard Tony Moll was called for being ineligible downfield. They weren't hurt by it, because on their next possession, Will Blackmon took a punt back 76 yards for a touchdown and a 17-6 lead.

The Packers took a 24-12 lead when, two plays after a 57-yard run by Ryan Grant, Rodgers scored on a 1-yard QB keeper.


Rodgers' playing style was more like Jackson's than Favre's, except he was far superior to Jackson. Rodgers ran the ball eight times, with three of his runs resulting in first downs. Several of the runs were by design.

Jackson, meanwhile, lived up to his billing as the weak link of the Vikings. His 7.2 average per run was better than his 5.1 average per pass. He completed only 46 percent of his passes (16 of 35 for 178 yards) and he threw an interception to squelch the Vikings' last-ditch attempt to steal the game.

Jackson's shining moment was a 23-yard touchdown pass to Sidney Rice in the fourth quarter, cutting the Packers' lead to 17-12, but most of what the Vikings accomplished offensively came courtesy of Adrian Peterson (19 carries, 103 yards), whose 3-yard TD run with 2:39 to play made it 24-19.

Rodgers was the last player on the field after completing a television interview. When he ran off, those who were remaining in the stands cheered him as if he were wearing No. 4 instead of No. 12.

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