There is a reason why there's a big smile on Leslie Frazier's face ... Ponder finally got it ... but he is still clearly not an elite NFL quarterback. The efficiency of Ponder's first downs resulted in ... field goal, punt, fumble, punt, punt, punt, punt, punt, field goal, punt, fumble ... the report card of a dominant road defense due in primarily to drive efficiency. Last week versus the Rams, Ponder recorded 15 first downs with only four (4) 3 & outs with a drive efficiency of 50.2% due in part to heavily depending upon Red Zone field goals. This week versus the Texans, Ponder collected 19 first downs, with only one (1) three & out, with a drive efficiency of 152.2% due in part to the chip-in of Toby Gerhart and some running fool that recorded 48 ground yards on 7 attempts.
Although the individual performance of most, if not all, of yesterdays Viking's defenders was stellar, it was possible in part because those defenders were not made to run a marathon before playing the Texans. Yes, a man that doesn't even play a defensive down can have his hand in it. Every time there is a 3 & out, a defense faces "Deep-Cell-Depletions", which seriously drains their batteries. I know ... it sounds ridiculous ... but that's what team play is all about. Everyone chips in and everyone has an effect upon the outcome of any game.
In that 1998 championship game, one could point to many reasons as to why we lost that contest, however there was one significant reoccurring glaring "Denny Green Issue" that was the prime cause of that defeat. The #1 foe on any football field is not the referee's, although you might think so from time to time. It's not the team that you happen to be facing on that day. The prime #1 foe is the clock ... and it is always overlooked. "We never lost a contest ... we just ran out of time." During that final drive, before Gary Anderson's infamous kick, Robert Smith took carry after carry out of bounds, stopping the clock every time he did so. After that kick was missed, for the Falcon's to tie it up, they needed that time. If we had forgone a few of those yards, for keeping the ball in bounds, running that clock, the Falcon's would have been done. Dennis Green was the worst clock manager ever.
Yesterday, before the half ended, we're in the 2 minute offense. We just secured our 1st first down with the clock running. The Vikings gather in a regular huddle. Everyone takes their time getting to the line. It was like watching paint dry. Tick, Tick, Tick. Really! Really! I know ... we are playing for a field goal. Really! Really! Clock management is always the difference between champions and losers. Fran Tarkenton, Rodger Staubach, etc., were the best clock managers in the business. This clock management stuff has been happening, time & again, all season long. Watching the master Peyton Manning (old school Archie Manning) running the clock is like watching him steal candy from a baby.
Somehow this defenseless receiver rule has got to be resolved. There might be a time when the Ponder-Helium-Ball is a good idea but watching the defenseless Jarius Wright takes that helmet to helmet shot was clearly a violation of the new NFL rule. If first contact is made with the shoulder to the solar plexus, and that causes either a head snap or incidental contact with the helmet after the initial contact, that shouldn't not be either a penalty or subject to a fine. It's a clean hit.
The runners are starting to appear on the field. No NFL defense is geared to stop these runners, minus Harvin & Webb, that can Super Charge Peterson , on every step. Ponder got a glimmer of the unstoppable offense when the quarterback becomes a "runnin' fool". Toby's carries are still up-side-down but that overwhelming slam-it-up-power at the end sent a big message. Will this organization support Peterson in his quest to smash Dickerson's record by commitment to the Super Charge.
If you had a choice between Ponder-ing a new quarterback versus the World Wide Webb ... which one would you choose?
The Viking Ghost Writer
Date: December 24, 2012