Sunday, October 14, 2012

Disaster in Washington

Our Minnesota Vikings came out strong in the 1st quarter against the Washington Redskins. The defense stopped Washington early and often in the first quarter. The Vikings offense marched up and down the field on their first 3 drives but all the offense could muster were 3 Field Goals.

Autographed Percy Harvin Photo - 8x10That's when the disaster started. A prize fighter knows when to go for the knockout. In the case of the NFL, that would be touchdowns. So the Vikings were jabbing and going for body shots but not the knockout punch that was needed. Even 1 touchdown on the first 3 drives would have changed the outlook of the game.

With a 9-0 lead, the Vikings defense decided to take the 2nd, 3rd and the end of the 4th quarter off. Sensing that the Vikings didn't come to get the big score, Washington and Robert Griffin III (RG3) took it to the Vikings. RG3 made the Vikings defense look terrible.

The Redskins scored 17 2nd quarter points to take a 17-10 lead into half time. This is where the Vikings defense let the team down. This defense fell apart. Ponder did as well as he fumbled the ball late in the second quarter, deep in his own zone. That led to a Washington TD. 

Things weren't much better in the 3rd quarter. Both the offense and the defense fell apart. It was horrible. When it couldn't get much worse, Ponder threw a pick 6 early in the 4th quarter. I thought the game was at that point.

Up 19 points, the Vikings fought back and so did the defense. The Vikings came within 5 points before Purple defense totally embarrassed themselves and allowed RG3 to run through them, over them on his way to a 76 yard TD run. That was complete and utter garbage time for the defense. They blew their chance to give the Vikings a chance to win.

There's plenty of blame to go around and this game will hurt the Vikings. Everything was firing on all cylinders entering this game. This was a game that the Vikings were expected to win. This game could have taken the surprising Vikings to 5-1 and given he team a lot of promise.

I guess we shouldn't be too surprised. Maybe the real Vikings showed up today. Ponder threw a critical pick 6. The pass was over thrown and showed us what we remembered from last year. What's frustrating is that Ponder had moments of brilliance but also made a number of mistakes that cost his team a chance to pull out a victory.

I hope that this will be a learning moment for Ponder and won't derail his confidence. For a guy who made very few mistakes through the first 4 games, Ponder has reverted to being a turnover king. He threw 2 INTs last week and another 2 INTs today, to go with his fumble. Those INTs proved very costly to the Vikings.

The first one cost the team 6 points. The second one was at then end of the game, with little chance of winning. Ponder who had his team at the 3 yard line, threw another INT. While that didn't lose the game for the team, had he not thrown the pick 6, that INT could have been for the game winner.

I know it doesn't do any good to dwell on the would haves, should haves, could haves. If we did, we would have a sleepless night tonight. All in all, the Redskins capitalized on their chances. The Vikings didn't and made too many errors to win the game.

We can take a couple of positives from this game. Ponder and the offense can move the ball. Percy Harvin is a stat and a big play guy. Adrian Peterson isn't 100% healthy but has had some great moments. When Peterson is back to 100%, this offense will be amazing!  The defense had flashes of brilliance. If the Vikings can focus on those positives, they might be able to put a string of victories together. 

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