Cutsie! Cutsie! Stupid! This loss lies directly at the feat of both Bill Musgrave and Leslie Frazier. When head coaches stand on the other side of the statement, "Sorry ... we've decided to go in another direction", you have to look no further than the fourth quarter with 3:33 left on the clock. It's first and goal on the 6 yard line and there you stand with the greatest running back on the planet, with a bull dozer behind him.
Everyone on the planet, except our brain trust, is thinking we've got four downs to punch this thing into the end zone, as even if we fail on the first 3 tries, the likelihood that the ball would end up right on the 1" line, for that 4th down attempt, is almost overwhelming to even Ponder.
First down and Peterson gets the ball. He secures 2 yard where its now 2nd and goal from the 4. Then the red flag is raised. Chicago calls it's first time out.
Hello! Chicago is trying to preserve time. Look real hard at that score board. It's contains more than just points. You're playing not just the Chicago Bears ... you're playing the clock. Chicago can't give up the touch down as they'd be down by 10.
So maybe Adrian Peterson is injured. Maybe he's just in too much pain to carry the ball. Right! That statement alone is equivalent to calling Adrian Peterson a coward.
When Chicago called that first time out, Leslie Frazier should have huddled up with AD, Ponder and Musgrave to make 100% sure everyone was on the same page. Instead, Leslie Frazier allowed to many degrees of freedom ... like feeding out rope ... to hang himself. In that huddle Leslie Frazier's first words should have been, "Gentlemen, victory lies in not just defeating the Chicago Bears ... but in defeating the clock". Hello! This happens just about every week. "We are going to either cash in on pay dirt, thereby going up by 10, or we're going to eat as much clock as we can (before kicking that field goal). THE BALL STAYS ON THE GROUND". The next statement is a question, "Adrian ... can you go". If the answer comes back negative. "Then Toby must carry the load for us. No decoys in this pivotal moment. Otherwise, AD gets fed the ball till we secure either result."
We got neither!
Instead, what do we get. Musgrave tries to go for the kill shot. He goes for the quick easy hitter over the top, thereby risking the clock. There is no one to reign him in. What we get is Cutsie. What we needed was the heart of men ... not cutsie. We get an incompletion and Chicago gets the clock to stop. They preserve the time out. This was a huge mistake. This was a gaff to the power of "N". The most unimaginable gaff in the history of man. Regardless of whether Chicago actually uses that time out or not, or allows the 2 minute warning to expire instead, the result would be added pressure upon any resulting answer the Chicago Bears could come up with..
With that time out, Chicago moves down the field with authority ... because they have an ace in their pocket. Without that time out, the pressure builds and the momentum shifts. Without that time out, there is no margin for error.
This was a key victory on the road against one of our key division rivals. A ten point lead was staring us right in the face ... along with certain victory. Instead we get Cutsie-Cutsie-Musgrave and more mismanagement of the clock.
How did we get here? We grew up with Sir Francis Tarkenton ... who sits in the Hall of Fame because he was smarter than most. He understood how to control the clock. He understood that more often than not it wasn't the score, the play or the athletic move ... it was the clock that secured victory.
Today, what do we get. We've got coaches that are telling players to worry about executing the play ... about worrying about their job only. Forget the clock ... we'll take care of that.
Well gentlemen ... there are victories on that field ... and those victories are dependent upon time management and controlling that clock.
It's not acceptable to have someone scream at you ... whose responsible for time management where everyone is collectively pointing in every possible direction hoping that they can blame it on George Bush.
No gentlemen, this loss lies at the feet of Leslie Frazier, whose in danger of losing his job, because he has a renegade-out-of-control-Offensive-Coordinator ... hell bent upon being CUTSIE! CUTSIE! CUTSIE! Hey! We've all got a collective idea ... how about acting like men for once. Now let's see if you're man enough to admit your error by placing responsibility upon yourself ... making sure that you've learned something from it ... so that it never happens again ... or is, "I was wrong and I made a mistake", not in your vocabulary. The players deserve your apology and Musgrave needs to be publicly reigned in just by stating that, "I plan to insert myself in all end game decisions ... to make 100% certain we've got the time management part of the game ... nailed down."
Oh! By the way, a bunch of stuff that's not supposed to happen ... just keeps happening. You're supposed to be winning games easily. Toby touches the ball and you get the opportunity of winning by 10. Do it in the wrong order and Adrian looks just so run down and beat up ... well away from 9 yards per pop. Keep banging your heads up against the wall. You have no idea what you have.
So, how did Ponder look today? He had some things but is that good enough to win a championship?
The Viking Ghost Writer
Date: September 15. 2013