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No grading on Peterson curve

Dec 03, 2012 -- 10:11pm
 
Photo/Getty Images 
Adrian Peterson is one of eight running backs since 1960 to run for 200 yards and lose. 
 

GREEN BAY – Adrian Peterson may be the NFL’s best running back, but that doesn’t mean the Green Bay Packers’ failure to contain him in Sunday’s 23-14 victory over the Minnesota Vikings was inexcusable, according to coach Mike McCarthy.

When you miss as many tackles as the Packers’ defenders did against Peterson, who rushed 21 times for 210 yards, including an 82-yard touchdown, there's no defending the performance, McCarthy said. It was Peterson's sixth straight 100-yard rushing game, as his remarkable comback from last Christmas Eve's knee injury continued.

“I think that’s a terrible mindset to get in. I think we’ve been glowing for the respect we have for Adrian Peterson and rightfully so, he’s earned it in this league,” McCarthy replied Monday when asked if he'd grade the defense on a curve because of Peterson. “(But) I don’t care who’s in the backfield. You can’t go out and give up 200 yards rushing and say, ‘We stopped them 18, 19 times, but on these three runs he had 160. It doesn’t work that way. They all count, they all count.”

“Our season will be judged obviously over the whole season and we’ve definitely increased our tackling production, but (Sunday) was not where need to be. We had a couple times where we had two, three missed tackles on a play and we have to do a better job there.”

Nevertheless, the fact of the matter was that 153 of Peterson’s 210 yards came on three carries: The 82-yard touchdown, a 48-yard run that put the Vikings in scoring position before Christian Ponder’s end-zone interception, and a 23-yard run late.

“When you’re playing against an outstanding back, you have to be point on in your gap fits and your tackling,” said defensive coordinator Dom Capers, who then pointed out that Peterson had 57 yards on his 18 other carries. “Our missed tackles basically came on those three plays that he broke out of there. Things that I liked that we did, though, is if you could take those three plays out, I liked the way we played.

Capers praised his defense for making several stops on Peterson, including a critical third-and-1 stop, and for Morgan Burnett’s two interceptions that ended Vikings threats. But the unit’s inability to stop Peterson, whom they’ll see again in the regular-season finale on Dec. 30 at the Metrodome, was still an issue.

“I think that your calculation on this guy, you’ve got to adjust what you’re doing. You always have to take that extra step, you’ve got to make sure you wrap up,” Capers said. “Where some guys, you might be able to knock them on the  ground, you can’t with him because he’s too strong. That’s something that we’d prepared for and we knew. We put together tackling tapes of a number of people missing tackles, so it’s not the first time that he’s done it.

“Until you play the guy … that’s why I said before the game that it was going to have to be the second, third, fourth guy getting there. Unfortunately, a couple times, that didn’t happen.

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