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 ! “