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Sunday’s Schematic Battle Goes to Zimmer

It is an old sport adage: “That’s why you play the game.” When the Packers play the Vikings you can throw out all the pundit predictions. Give credit where it is due; Mike Zimmer can still assess his talent and put his defense in the best scheme to stop his opponent. On Sunday, he threw away his defensive play book from the first Packer-Viking game and played to his defensive strengths, his safeties and linebackers. He game planned to take the Packers best playmaker, Davante Adams, out of the game and make the Packers defense stop the run.

He got some help from the Packers via penalties. The Packers committed 8 penalties which cost them yards, stalled drives, and kept the Vikings offense on the field, resulting in at least one touchdown.

The Packers lost the penalty battle, the turnover battle, and let the Vikings gash their defense for 174 rushing yards for a 5.1 yard average. The Vikings’ first four possessions produced 28 points. That is an all out fail for Mike Pettine’s defense.

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) looks to pass against the Minnesota Vikings during their football game Sunday, November 1, 2020, at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis.
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For Aaron Rogers it was a tale of two halves. In the first half, Rogers completed all but one of his passes and threw for two TD’s. His final line, 27 of 41 for 291 yards. Fourteen second half incompletions. Their first drive of the second half started with a completion, then offensive penalty, followed by four incompletions. Their second drive of the half included back to back holding penalties, two incompletions and a 2 yard scramble to avoid a sack.

While the Packer air attack stumbled in the swirling gusts of Lambeau Field, the Vikings RB Dalvin Cook had an historic performance. One hundred and sixty three running yards added to sixty three receiving yards and four touchdowns. Last time a RB put on a performance like that in a single game in the NFL, it was against this same Pettine defense in the NFC Championship game last year. Zimmer was able to analyze his prior loss to the Packers and dial up a winning game plan on Sunday. Packer fans are waiting to see if Pettine can do the same against San Francisco. If not, his coaching days for the Packers may be numbered.

Paul Edwards

Paul Edwards is a lawyer, victim advocate, writer, and long term Packer fan and Packer history enthusiast.



  1. Howard November 2, 2020

    I guess it now makes sense why Dillion didn’t play in the 2nd half. Positive test. So the NFL makes you do pregame tests, but do not know the results until after part of the game has been played! Something seems wrong with the timeline for that pre game procedure. Shouldn’t the test results be known before a team has to declare inactive’s for a game?

    1. Howard November 2, 2020

      Mistake on my part. Dillion did get a couple of plays on offense in the 2nd half.

  2. PF4L November 2, 2020

    If a decision on Pettine hasn’t been made already, that might be a problem in and of itself.

    1. Ferris November 2, 2020

      Just clean house on all people named Mike. Should have gone away with big Mike. Go ahead and clear out everyone named Mark too. Just to be sure.

  3. PF4L November 3, 2020

    There are two words that describe why Pettine is still hear….Mark Murphy.
    At least that’s the way i read it, from Murphy’s own voice.
    I don’t think McCarthy is gaining a positive reputation for his choices in Def. Coordinators. Not with Pettine and Mike Nolan.
    There is a reason some head coaches are known for successful coaching tree’s, and there’s also a reason McCarthy isn’t in those conversations..

  4. stiggy November 3, 2020

    Read an amazing post on reddit today where a guy broke down every big cook run. There are three components to basically every run that kills the packers and sadly ..short of trading for a Calais Campbell type..the issue is going to remain unsolvable.

    Basically what the vikings did is….blow up Dean lowery or rashan gary (whoever was playing end) with a double team…and some cases 1 v1 blocking.


    Allow the olb to easily run around the edge and run themselves out of the play a la clay Matthews….

    wait for the ilbs to either get swallowed up in blocks or just plain go to the wrong place …and bank on savage getting blocked by a wideout or simply missing a tackle.

    Literally every run play that went for a big gain worked that way. It’s also telling that pettine is throwing Clark at end on a lot of snaps…because lowery is such a liability nowadays.

    1. Howard November 3, 2020

      Stiggy I saw it a little bit different.The OLBs were not running themselves out of the play! The OLBs were holding there outside leverage against man blocks by TEs. The problem was the Smiths (P Smith main culprit) and Gary would not disengage from the block or crash down leaving a big fucking hole at the tackle area once Lowery (prime problem) was moved into the middle of the field. The OLBs would just stand their ground and show no urgency to disengage or collapse the hole. It happened so often it almost makes me believe it was part of the defensive game plan.
      I said it after the game that the ILBs were going to the wrong holes. There was also very little support from the DBs. I swear the Vikings ran the same play multiple times with very similar outcome.
      I think a big mistake was made when the inactive list was issued. If there was one player who was made for this type of game (high wind) it was Billy Winn. Winn can hold his ground in double teams and maintain run gap responsibility. Winn has shown it in his limited snaps. Winn may not be much in the pass game, but he does have as many passes defensed as Savage, Amos, Jones, and Redmond, each with one. Winn is still one pass defensed ahead of King who has 0!
      Now the question is who has final say on active and inactive players is it LaFleur? Or does Pettine make the call on defensive players? If it is Pettine Who makes the final call on defense I would take that responsibility away from him among other responsibilities like DC.

      1. stiggy November 4, 2020

        The thread i read this in confirmed your suspicions. The vikings basically ran the same play over and over. I messed up the translation a bit…but the post basically said preston smith was doing what he should…but it doesnt matter cause lowery was getting blown up so bad. They also blew gary up on one of the plays…granted it was via double team. Its gonna get even worse when teams dont single block lowery and realize they can just smash him 1 v 1 every play.

  5. PF4L November 3, 2020

    I saw the Michelin Man (P Smith) trying to run down Cook from behind. I’ll be honest…i had to giggle, it looked damn funny.
    Howard, i’m assuming that’s Pettine’s call, as i would assume it’s the same for all other Def. Coordinators, i’m guessing.
    I mean, if your not giving him that responsibility, then why bother employing him? which is quite possibly…your point.