Yesterday, I said “Everyone is expecting Green Bay to romp over the Vikings today“. That became an even more likely outcome just a few hours before game time, as the Vikings announced that starting quarterback Christian Ponder would be inactive with an elbow injury suffered in last week’s win. Backup Joe Webb would be the Vikings quarterback for the Green Bay game, not having thrown a pass since the preseason. After the game, it was made clear that the problem wasn’t pain, it was range of motion: Ponder couldn’t move his elbow enough to make the throws.
The Vikings got the opening kickoff and put on an entertaining drive that ended with a Blair Walsh field goal. Webb didn’t complete a single pass on the drive: it was all Adrian Peterson or Joe Webb running the ball. After the first drive, however, the Vikings went away from what had worked in the opening drive and were unable to move the ball consistently.
Jesse Reed at Bleacher Report:
Maybe we all took Christian Ponder for granted in 2012.
Joe Webb proved an invaluable lesson on Saturday night: The NFL is a quarterback-driven league, and it doesn’t matter if you have the best running back in the world; without one, you won’t win in the playoffs.
Webb started the game because Ponder couldn’t overcome an elbow injury he suffered in Week 17, and the Minnesota Vikings offense was a hopeless mess without Ponder.
As much as many (myself included) have ripped Ponder for his flaws, his value to the Vikings was made apparent in the worst way against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on Saturday night.
Webb was simply atrocious.
1500ESPN’s Judd Zulgad and Tom Pelissero: