Sweet Undefeated Victory!
Now that was a GAME people. We’re down, we’re up, we’re almost down, we’re way up, and suddenly it’s the final 2 minute warning, Minnesota has the ball and there is only a 6-point difference in score. If the Vikings had been able to pull out one more touchdown, I would be writing a very different post today.
Lucky for me, they didn’t, and the Packers won 27-33, remaining undefeated as they go into their bye week.
To be honest (and to throw a bone to my Minnesota relatives), the Vikings had a much better showing in this game than the did in games past, thanks in part to rookie quarterback Christian Ponder, who was starting his first game ever (against the Super Bowl Champs remember–that’s ballsy Minnesota) and who did manage to impress with long throws and 2 touchdown passes. Big kudos also go to Adrian Peterson, that half-man half-steamroller who managed to trample the Packer defense even when they knew it was coming.
However, in traditional Vikings fashion, everything fell apart in the second half (though less so than in previous games–they actually managed to score again, which is encouraging). This week’s crumble was particularly unfortunate since the Packers tend to come back stronger and better in the second half. It’s simple science, people–based on these teams’ MOs, there was no way the Vikings could’ve won.
It also doesn’t help that the Vikings offensive strategy is apparently this:
1) Hand off the ball to Peterson.
2) Hand off the ball to Peterson.
3) Long pass to Jenkins.
5) Hand off the ball the Peterson.
6) Long pass to Jenkings.
8 ) Peterson.
11) Long pass to Shiancoe (when Jenkins’ foot is asleep).
You laugh? I’m not joking–that’s pretty much what it was. Even if Petersen is mowing down fools all over town, you’re still not going to win any games if you only use three people, especially against a defense like the Packers, who only start out slow because they are learning your weaknesses and preparing to slaughter you later. Seriously, if you want to beat the Packers defense, there is only one course of action: do one thing that works in the first half, and then do something COMPLETELY DIFFERENT in the second half. Throw out ALL the plays you used in the first half. If you can put in a whole new line of people, even better. Do anything and everything they are not expecting because if you just rely on whatever worked in the first half, it’s gonna be a slow, painful fall down to another Packer victory.
Then again…perhaps the one-dimensional offensive plan was due to Ponder’s rookie status: they either didn’t trust him with the ball, or he hasn’t learned to improvise yet. Maybe both–he did throw a couple interceptions in the second half, which means Woodson is up to…I think 800 picks for the season so far?
Regardless of a few hiccups, Ponder’s promise is undeniable. I’m interested to see what happens when Ponder faces the Packers again in a couple weeks. That additional experience for Ponder should instill some more faith in his coaches, and it should make for an even more exciting game, if you can imagine such a thing. After all–they ALMOST won this time.
But they didn’t. We did. Ha-HA!
NOTE: Since the Packers are on a bye next week, I plan to watch the Vikings-Panthers game instead. Two rookie quarterbacks, both of whom I’ve been really impressed with so far. Plus I don’t have to care who wins 🙂
Er, I mean–Go Vikes?!