By Dan Pompei, Chicago Tribune reporter
9:12 PM PST, January 5, 2013
GREEN BAY — Bookmakers thought the difference between Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder and backup Joe Webb was three points, as the line moved from Packers by 8 to Packers by 11 Saturday when it was announced before the game that Ponder was inactive because of an elbow injury.
But the wild-card round game between the Vikings and Packers wasn't about the difference between Ponder and Webb.
It was about the difference between Aaron Rodgers and Webb.
Webb's decision-making, accuracy and touch as a passer was pathetic in a 24-10 Packers victory. He threw some of the ugliest passes of the NFL season, some more likely to take divots out of the field than land in the hands of Vikings receivers.
"They kind of threw him in the fire," Packers linebacker Dezman Moses said. "It's tough when it's the last minute, you're thrown in, you have to start and it's the playoffs."
Rodgers, who came into the game with the highest postseason passer rating in history at 105.5, coolly showed Webb how an All-Pro does it. He completed 70 percent of his passes and had a 104.9 passer rating, compared to Webb completing 37 percent of his passes and having a 54.9 passer rating.
The Packers advance to play the 49ers at 7 p.m. Saturday in San Francisco in the divisional playoff round. It will be a rematch of the season opener, in which the 49ers prevailed 30-22.
"It will be fun to go back home," said Rodgers, who grew up in Chico, Calif.
Rodgers and fullback John Kuhn put away the Vikings on the first series of the second half, as Rodgers threw a little screen pass to Kuhn, who ran it in from the 9 for a 24-3 lead.
Rodgers worked the two-minute drill before halftime masterfully, going 62 yards in five plays, the last of which was a handoff to Kuhn out of the shotgun formation for a 3-yard touchdown that put the Packers up 17-3 with 38 seconds remaining.
"He gives us an advantage in every game because of who he is, the quarterback he is," said Packers receiver Randall Cobb, one of 10 players to catch a pass from Rodgers on Saturday. "He always puts us in the best situations."
The Vikings offense never looked as good as it did on the first drive. The Vikes cut through the Packers' defense pretty easily, moving 10 plays and 53 yards before settling on a 33-yard Blair Walsh field goal.
The Packers held Adrian Peterson to 99 rushing yards on 22 carries after allowing him to rush for 409 yards in two regular-season games.
"Everybody was just making sure we were not too anxious to get to the ball where you gamble and get outside your gap," Packers outside linebacker Erik Walden said. "We made sure we stayed home and took care of our responsibilities."
Webb turned the ball over in the third quarter on a strip sack by Clay Matthews, then coughed it up again on the next drive, this time on a downfield interception by Sam Shields that was intended for Devin Aromashodu.
Rodgers did not have a turnover.
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