One might clearly say that yesterday's game versus the Bronco's was lost in the first quarter. Imagine Rick Speilman or Ziggy Wilf getting a call where he hears, "You know you've got a fine young team here, and you just might go home with a victory here, but I got to tell you that this kid Teddy Bridgewater is about to be taken apart piece by piece by this Bronco's defense ... and I can't do nothing to stop it." Which was quickly followed up with, "Call off the dogs and we'll find a way to glide this thing into a safe landing". 5 sacks plus hurries plus pressure plus the kitchen sink ... yeah this game was over in the first quarter.
Kalil and Fusco might be very good offensive lineman but it's clear they haven't played together very long where Denver's defense found it quite easy to confuse them on Sunday into making silly mistakes. Early on, Hank Stram could of described our right tackle as being caught up running a Chinese fire drill. Teddy needed you and you guys came up short as a unit and you needed nothing less than our center giving you a sharp jab in the chops in the huddle just to remind you a little bit of what it means to be a successful offensive lineman in this league. Too bad that neither Sullivan, nor Jeff Christie (Circa 1998) weren't there to apply that wake up call.
Maybe this isn't fair but when it comes to the question of first ballet hall of fame, you'll hear NFL MVP, Most rushing yards in a game, 2nd in yard as a rookie, Rookie of the year, 2nd in rushing for a season, and the list will go on an on however that's not going to be #1 in the minds of those casting that ballet, as their focus is going to be on Mr. Peterson's glaring omissions ... not on his obvious incredible successes. For first ballot consideration, your not going to be compared to Dickerson who holds the records that you were chasing ... you're going to be compared to Walter Peyton, Barry Sanders and Emmitt Smith. These guys, like Jerry Rice, were polished beyond reproach. What is going to be thrown into your face Mr. Peterson isn't going to involve your 4 year old son, which you stood your ground like a man, it will be something heinous in your eyes ... "He couldn't block anybody"! The words that will be attached to this statement was that you were either lazy or that you just didn't care and if the Vikings do not win a championship it will be attributed to your inability to polish your craft in regard to protecting your quarterback. These are truly ugly words ... the truth hurts ... but it will be better to hear these words now, before it is too late to correct it. It wasn't so long ago that you were known as someone that could cough up balls where you have proven to be ... "High N Tight". You were once foolish with the ball and now you are being fooled, and set up, by the NFL rushing elite. So your number isn't being called on this particular play however you cannot afford to take plays off ... you have to think head hunter first understanding that you may have to shed the "role-decoy" to protect Teddy. To keep it all in perspective, if it were McKinnon or Asiata, there is no question in their mind ... protect first ... decoy second, even if it means being late on an assignment. If you had a shoulder block as effective as either your hand shake or the finish of your runs ... the thought of fool would leave the camp ground for good.
So there's 5 minutes and 35 seconds left on the clock, which is running. The Vikings have 3 time outs and it's 4th and 2 in the red zone and Zimmer sends our kicker onto the field to tie up the game 20-20. There ... right there ... Mike Zimmer lost the game. So the answer is yes ... coaches do lose games. Firstly, our kicker had already missed a field goal in the game but that really didn't matter ... did it. Even if we make the kick, your about to give Peyton Manning roughly 5 minutes to march his offense down the field, to get into field goal position, with an excellent kicker, to win the game and that is exactly what he did. This is maybe the greatest quarterback to have ever played in the NFL and we're handing him the game. On 4th or 2, we should have called time out in the red zone where we should of taken our collective breath where some sanity should have come our way to understand that obtaining only 3 points on this drive will lose this franchise this game. Instead, we needed to give our offense the opportunity to make that first down understanding that we would either score 7 points on that drive or lose the game right there and then. Mike Zimmer's call to send in the field goal unit was a senseless absurdity. If you want to win games in this league ... it's time to shelve the kicker ... especially one that can't be counted on.
If we had scored 7 points, the victory wasn't guaranteed however Peyton Manning would have been forced to score a touchdown which was a much more realistic goal for our defense. They were capable of stopping Denver's offense in this regard but to be direct, it probably wouldn't have matter because whenever a flag was needed ... or better said, not needed ... it was there to prop up Peyton Manning.
Just look back at Peyton's touchdown pass. It is offensive pass interference if your eligible receivers are blocking when the quarterback's ball is in the air. That block cut two primary defenders from the left side of that end zone. Was that pass interference on Xavier Rhodes earlier on that same drive? I still can't see it. I guess when you can't play in this league any more, a little laundry (or no laundry) can go a long way.
The Viking Ghost Writer
Date: October 5, 2015