GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Some thoughts at halftime here at Lambeau Field:
Three touchdowns have been scored in this game under questionable circumstances, and two were reversed by challenges. Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy hasn't always made the best decisions when it comes to throwing the red flag, but he was right to challenge when Percy Harvin stepped out of bounds at the 2-yard line before reaching over the plane. He had a tougher choice when Vikings tight end Visanthe Shiancoe made a diving 17-yard touchdown reception, but referee Scott Green's crew reversed what was a close call. The Vikings lost a net of four points on the two plays.
The third call was tight end Andrew Quarless' 9-yard touchdown reception, the first of his career. Replays suggested he was bobbling the ball as he fell to the ground, gaining possession when he was out of bounds, but the Vikings didn't challenge the play.
It's been an odd game for Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who threw two interceptions deep in Vikings territory. He completed 13 of his other 18 passes for 227 yards. The Packers clearly entered the game hoping to exploit rookie cornerback Chris Cook, getting three early passes for 90 yards to receiver James Jones as a result. But the Vikings quickly benched Cook in favor of veteran Frank Walker, who settled things down a bit. Still, the Packers finished the first half with a season-high 268 yards of total offense.
I don't have an official explanation for why Packers defensive end Cullen Jenkins didn't play in the first half, although Greg A. Bedard of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is reporting Jenkins aggravated his hamstring during pregame warmups. Apparently the injury came too late to deactivate Jenkins and put a healthy player on the 45-man game-day roster. Jenkins has been standing on the sideline in uniform but without his helmet. C.J. Wilson and Jarius Wynn have been playing in his place.
I had no problem with the Packers' decision to fake what would have been a 55-yard field goal attempt in the second quarter. The distance was at the outer reach of any place-kicker, and the way Tim Masthay has been going, a punt could have easily gone into the end zone for a touchback. If the Vikings were smart, they would have been clued in by backup quarterback Matt Flynn on the field. The Vikings weren't fooled, but the Packers didn't execute the play well. Flynn's throw was rushed by Vikings defensive end Jared Allen, who made quick work of Jason Spitz playing left tackle, and Quarless fell as he attempted to make the catch.
The Vikings continue to work Harvin all over the field, giving it to him three times out of the backfield for 41 yards. He and tailback Adrian Peterson have combined for 109 rushing yards on 17 carries.
How anti-climactic has Brett Favre's return to Lambeau Field been? I haven't felt the need to mention him until just now.