GREEN BAY, WIS. —
"Close," Ponder said of the decision not to play. "We went out pregame and threw a little bit, and just made the decision that it would probably be better off playing Joe with how limited I'd be."
It was the first time Buffalo's Frank Reich in 1993 a quarterback had started a playoff game after not starting during the regular season and, in the first series at least, he seemed to have caught the Packers off guard.
That or they were too busy trying to bottle up Peterson, who bulldozed them for 409 yards in their first two games, to pay attention. With what seemed like every Packers defender focused on Peterson, Webb converted a third-and-3 with a 17-yard pickup. His 5-yard run four plays later put the Vikings at the Green Bay 13. But Webb's first pass of the night went into the ground, and the Vikings were forced to settle for Blair Walsh's 33-yard field goal that gave them a 3-0 lead.
But the Packers quickly settled down and Webb and the Vikings never stood a chance. Especially with Peterson not allowed to roam free as he's done against the Packers in the past.
"The energy level was at an all-time high," Woodson said. "This week, like last week, we buzzed around. But this week we made the tackles, we didn't allow (Peterson) to get through the line of scrimmage and get yards after first contact. We just kept putting heat on them. That was the difference."
Like they did last week, the Packers got off to a rocky start offensively, going three and out after Harris dropped what looked like a gimme pass. But unlike last week, they didn't let it continue, scoring on four of their next five drives.