NFC North Game Balls and Goats: Week 13

By
Updated: December 5, 2012

If he had a solid supporting cast, Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson might be a 2012 MVP contender. As it is, he wins the Water Cooler Sports NFC North Offensive Game Ball for Week 13.

Curtain call

If you can’t feel the tension in the air, you must have nerves of steel and a heart of stone. The atmosphere in this place is electric. The anxiety hangs heavily in the air. No one is laughing, no one is smiling, no one dares to look anyone else in the eye. They all eagerly await the announcement of the Week 13 NFC North Game Balls and Goats.

And suddenly, the camera flashes explode as the curtain parts and our emcee marches to the podium, opens the first envelope, clears his throat, and announces the first pick.

Game Ball: Offense

Proving yet again that he is a once-in-a-lifetime talent whose career is arguably being wasted with the Minnesota Vikings, running back Adrian Peterson ran wild against the Green Bay Packers. He rushed 21 times for 210 yards, an astounding 10 yards per carry, and one touchdown. He also caught a pass for 10 yards, finishing with 220 all-purpose yards — singlehandedly amassing 58.5 percent of the Vikings’ total offensive output. He now has 234 carries for 1,446 yards (an incredible 6.2 ypc) and eight touchdowns on the season. If he were on a team with a winning record, he would probably be a candidate for MVP. As it is, he is still a virtual lock for Offensive Player of the Year.

Honorable mention goes to Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson, who had 13 receptions for 171 yards (13.2 yards per catch) and one touchdown in a losing effort against the Indianapolis Colts. He now has 86 catches for 1,428 yards and five touchdowns on the year and is on pace to break Jerry Rice’s season receiving yardage record.

Game Ball: Defense

Green Bay Packers safety Morgan Burnett intercepted Minnesota Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder twice in the red zone, helping to blunt any momentum the Vikings were able to muster in that game. Considering the fact that Peterson was averaging 10 ypc, it’s conceivable that without those interceptions, the Vikings would have scored at least once and changed the complexion of the game. It was something of a coming-out party for Burnett, who hadn’t come up with any turnovers all year, although he did force a fumble against the Jacksonville Jaguars back in Week 8.

Game Ball: Special Teams

Veteran place kicker Jason Hanson connected on all four of his field goal attempts against the Colts, including one from 52 yards. At the age of 42, in his 21st season with the Detroit Lions, he has successfully kicked 25 of his 28 attempts on the season (89 percent), which is actually higher than his career accuracy of 82 percent.

A tip of the hat goes to Green Bay Packers kicker Mason Crosby, who kicked three of four field goal attempts (75 percent), missing his attempt from beyond 50 yards. Although it was by no means a stellar performance, it was hopefully a bellweather of good things to come. Head coach Mike McCarthy has stood by his hand-picked place kicker, even though Crosby has been in a massive slump most of the season, a gamble that needs to pay off if the Packers are to avoid losing a game after yet another errant Crosby kick.

Goat: Offense

At the rate he is going, Minnesota Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder is going to win the offensive goat of the 2012 season. He has been branded with the dishonor more times than any player in the NFC North, and he receives it yet again this week for his (lack of) performance against the Green Bay Packers in a game in which he did worse than the numbers indicate. He completed 12 of 25 passing attempts (48 percent) for 119 yards (4.8 yards per attempt), one touchdown, and two interceptions; his passer rating was a paltry 41.9. Tight end Kyle Rudolph was his only consistent target, catching six passes for 51 yards (8.5 ypc). In fact, Ponder didn’t complete a single pass to a wide receiver until late in the 4th quarter. It’s unfortunate that Ponder was unable to capitalize upon an excellent game by his star running back. Unless the Vikings are able to rectify Ponder’s deficiencies soon, they are going to have to seriously retool in the offseason.

Goat: Defense

The run defense of the Green Bay Packers was virtually nonexistent in Week 13. They allowed the Minnesota Vikings to roll up 240 yards on 28 attempts against them for an embarrassing average of 8.6 yards per carry. In their defense, they were able largely to shut down Adrian Peterson in the second half, but they were also greatly aided by the 11-minute drive — the longest by any NFL team this season — that the offense mounted to burn most of the 4th quarter off the clock. It’s not certain whether their inability to stop the run was a result of depletion in their defensive line and linebacking corps, or if it was a side-effect of a decision by defensive coordinator Dom Capers to focus on shutting down the pass. If was the latter, it was the right decision, since it’s a rare team that can win on the legs of an elite running back alone.

Dishonorable mention goes to the Detroit Lions defense, which was charged with protecting a 12-point lead over the Indianapolis Colts with four minutes remaining. Somehow they allowed quarterback Andrew Luck to lead not one, but two scoring drives and ended up losing by two points. It was emblematic of the entire 2012 Lions season.

Goat: Special Teams

Minnesota Vikings kicker Blair Walsh missed his only field goal attempt of the day. No one on that team besides Adrian Peterson could seem to do anything right in that game.

About the author(s)

Rourke Douglas Decker covers the Green Bay Packers beat for Water Cooler Sports. He resides with his family in the Twin Cities. He can be reached for questions or comments at . Connect with .

268 comments
Doctor ϟ Professor ☧
Doctor ϟ Professor ☧ moderator

lmfao! so apparently some Panthers fans at ESPN did some research and found BigAls profile xD

 

 

BearsSaveLives
BearsSaveLives moderator

Jeez, Packers, why you hate running backs today? Packers placed RB Johnny White on injured reserve with a concussion, ending his season.

JVince11
JVince11

Did you guys see that the New Orleans Hornets are officially changing their name to the New Orleans Pelicans?? The Saints owner Tom Benson also owns the NBA team and thinks the Pelicans would be better because it is the Louisiana state bird.

JVince11
JVince11

 

Here is the full article on what Schwartz said about Titus Young... not a lie or stretch of his words by BearsSaveLives once so ever.

JVince11
JVince11

:large

 

Jarret Boykin's Xmas Tree... literally.

JVince11
JVince11

Woodson is practicing this week.. and Grant will play this weekend....

BearsSaveLives
BearsSaveLives moderator

Schwartz with the sick burn:

 

According to Lions coach Jim Schwartz, Titus Young (knee, injured reserve) will undergo surgery "unless he doesn't show up for it."

BearsSaveLives
BearsSaveLives moderator

CMIII missed practice again this week. Good news for Lions, I guess.

niemerg1
niemerg1

these marketers, they get it

 

SDL
SDL

  

 

WTF is Big Al?

 

Doctor ϟ Professor ☧
Doctor ϟ Professor ☧ moderator

  you mean to tell me..

 

..that you thought that I wouldnt have already brought this up??

BearsSaveLives
BearsSaveLives moderator

  "Some reporters laughed, but Schwartz didn’t." Lovie Smith-style.

JVince11
JVince11

  In related news... Suh drives a car into a shopping mall in Houston.

Johnathan Wood
Johnathan Wood moderator

geez: 12 kids in a Toys-R-Us have 80 seconds to grab whatever they want.  The total?

 

Almost $20k.  

Kuato Face
Kuato Face moderator

  looks like my cat

 

JVince11
JVince11

But bad news always follows... Sam Shields returned to practice today too.

Maized and Confused
Maized and Confused

  He just had to take a day off to read the new Thor script before he starts filming.

LambeauOrWrigley
LambeauOrWrigley

  Sir, I respect you a great deal.  And it pains me to tell you this.  "Good news" and "Lions" are phrases IMPOSSIBLE to use in same sentence.

LambeauOrWrigley
LambeauOrWrigley

  NOW he looks like he is ready for his Tyler Perry movie camio.

BearsSaveLives
BearsSaveLives moderator

    Hey, report the whole story! He had a car full of kids and let them put their hands out the window and take whatever they wanted on the way through. 

JVince11
JVince11

  and they each got two video game systems and a TV/Entertainment center... 

Doctor ϟ Professor ☧
Doctor ϟ Professor ☧ moderator

  fun fact..this was made up of:

 

Young Ricky Williams' dreads

Ryan Grant's head/neck

James Starks' body.

SDL
SDL

    

 

Ahhh... not a South Park fan.  Funny stuff... just don't take time to watch it

 

Doctor ϟ Professor ☧
Doctor ϟ Professor ☧ moderator

      and then each child suh-kicked the cashiers groin as they walked out.

Johnathan Wood
Johnathan Wood moderator

    charity, Suh-style.  I like it.  

BearsSaveLives
BearsSaveLives moderator

      Oh, I thought he was talking about mine. Maybe I'll sell it to a competing twitter personality.

Johnathan Wood
Johnathan Wood moderator

      you should tweet the joke too, Maized, not just the actual quote.  

BearsSaveLives
BearsSaveLives moderator

Where can I see it on the twitters? I don't use them.

BearsSaveLives
BearsSaveLives moderator

    Titus Young gets surgery on wrong knee after lining up wrong on the operating table.

Johnathan Wood
Johnathan Wood moderator

      can't blame him for making fun of Young.  Young brought it on himself

MIBearFan
MIBearFan

    

Further evidence that Schwartz is an immature moron.

Johnathan Wood
Johnathan Wood moderator

    still should go on Twitter.  Could maybe add joke about him intentionally setting up as the doctor, or something like that

SDL
SDL

   

 

So:

 

high as a kite

 

Aging retread signed in desperation

 

and

 

Can't stay healthy

 

 

G & G
G & G moderator

    What balls?

MIBearFan
MIBearFan

    

He still couldn't run behind the current Packer line.