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Vikings Implode in Final 6 Minutes on Route to First Loss

Ouch ! Now I know what the Ravens and Niners felt like earlier this season. Even with the Horrible tripping call that looked remarkably similar to some of the calls you see certain home teams inexplicably get an the most inopportune moments that allow them to amazingly survive the day unscathed. But I digress……anyway, the point is…..that even with that call, and even with the Favre fumble returned for a touchdown immediately following……The Vikings STILL should have won the game.

Thanks to the amazing Percy Harvin kick-off return for touchdown and the ability of the defense getting the ball back quickly. Favre then skillfully led the team down the field for what ( at worse ) looked like a sure game tying Ryan Longwell field goal, but very possibly a game winning touchdown.

But Lightning struck again when Favre threw a pass that Chester Taylor couldn’t turn and react quickly enough to as it careened off his face and shoulder pads and fell directly into the Steelers laps and before you could say “ we’re still undefeated” the game was over.

Not one, but two defensive touchdowns in the last six minutes ! Now I am all over this team for it’s ability to stop the run. It’s improved pass rush and secondary. I love the offensive balance between Favre’s vertical passing attack and Peterson’s ground game. I think the receiving corps is light years better then last year’s version, particularly Sidney Rice who is becoming a force. ( Did you see that catch he made on the sidelines?

How did he actually reach his toes back over the field on the way down while still maintaining concentration to make the grab ? Watch the replay ! It is an amazing reception, reminiscent of the the great Cris Carter). I love Longwell’s leg and Percy Harvin’s legs. The defense forces turnovers, and the offense is stingy ( for the most part).

But here is what I don’t like – The Vikings give up way too many of those miscellaneous touchdowns. In week one vs. Cleveland it was a punt return. In the Green Bay game it was the Peterson strip returned for a TD. Against SF it was the field goal block returned for a TD. Last night it was a tipped interception and a QB strip fumble both returned for TD. These are breakdown reminiscent of a team that lacks discipline.

The Vikings don’t look to me like an undisciplined team, but the results are the results. It was going to happen sooner or later. It was bound to cost the team a game. But if they can adjust and tighten things up…..then this could be a blessing in disguise. It is the difference between being good, and being elite. It a lack of concentration, or focus or effort, but not of talent. It is inexcusable for a team this good to be so consistent at being inconsistent. This is not the type of thing that haunts teams like the Patriots, or the Colt’s or Giants or Steelers.

This defense is of championship quality. The offense is close to being in the top five. Special teams are getting stronger.

So, this morning I am imagining Brad Childress awoke to an unmistakable feeling of frustration. I am sure he is trying to brainstorm a way to fix this distressing pattern. Perhaps a feeling of hopelessness comes over him as he realizes that this may be something the coaching staff cannot fix. Maybe the players need to own this.
It was fun being unbeaten ! We all knew it would end soon, but it still leaves you empty. We were 6- 0 and we were so very sure this was the best Viking team – Ever ! Now, our dreams seem threatened.

Or maybe I should just relax and enjoy the fact that we are 6 – 1 with the Packers up next. A great game next week will practically wrap up the division and make us all forget the Pittsburgh game.

I don’t know…… Outside the leaves are turning colors, the autumn sun is shining and I find myself pondering the brilliant words of the great Curly Howard when he said “ I’m trying to think, but nothing’s happening ! “

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4 Responses to “Vikings Implode in Final 6 Minutes on Route to First Loss”

  1. […] Vikings Implode in Final 6 Minutes on Route to First Loss … […]

  2. Lost Viking says:

    As part of the reflection I was interested why the offensive production didn’t produce points. Vike O scored 10 points (while giving back 14)

    AD’s running stats from the game are pure. He wasn’t asked to run out the clock etc. AD’s 18 carries were 25% of Vike O plays. He gained 69 yards with the longest carry of 19. In contrast he caught 4 passes for 60 yards, longest 30. CT had one catch for < 10 yds. Is this significant?

    Part of the slow offensive start was attributable to running when it just wasn't there. As the game opened up AD became more effective. Part of this rests w/ O line responsible for blowing open running lanes. And AD was getting negative yardage on sweeps outside the tackles.

    Yet there were times during the game when O line did seem to have the edge over aggressive Steeler D. Late in 2nd qtr and 4th qtr on longer drives the Vike O line seemed to gain greater stamina. But the choice was to stay with passing game eg. 2 or 3 from the one.

    Maybe Vike should be passing more to open the run and running more as the passing opens up?
    Or should we be running more inside the red zone?

  3. JT says:

    I think it may be time to start looking at the free agency for an addition to the receiving corp. Maybe Marvin Harrison or Robert Ferguson… Favre always had positive “schism” with Ferg… Probably get him cheap too.

  4. Lost Viking says:

    There was much commentary on the importance of AD establishing the run to set up Favre’s play-action passing.

    Let’s look at just the 1st down plays Vike ran against the Steeler. There were a total of 39 Vike 1st down plays – 12 run and 21 passes. The 2 to 1 passing ratios seems very aggressive. First half though – my count was 6 running plays (5 AD) on 1st down compared to 7 pass plays. More conservative.

    How effective was 1st down playcalling? Well, in the first half neither AD’s running or Favre’s passing was at all effective on 1st down. The short 8 yard pass to open the game was the longest gain. Favre was 3 or 6 for 16 yds with one sack and only two balls thrown longer than 10 yards. Pretty pedestrian.

    Second half Vike opened with short passing game on 1st down. Three AD runs of less than one yard in the 3rd qtr. Best running came in the 4th. Farve 2nd half passing was more varied and you saw him clicking on 1st and 10 passing calls.

    The analysis suggests Vike could be more aggressive on 1st down calls earlier in the game. Defenses may be expecting either AD run or screen on 1st. Adrian is a rare player who doesn’t have to establish the running game to allow play action to be effective.

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