Klint Kubiak’s Worst Mistake From the Detroit Game
The offense has been up and down to start the year. At times, they’ve been brilliant, looking both balanced and explosive. At other times, our offense has sputtered. We couldn’t adjust to the challenge Cleveland presented, and we have often been unable to sustain offensive success into the second half of games. Vikings OC Klint Kubiak still has some things to learn.
After reflecting on yesterday’s far-too-nerve-wracking victory, I’ve been coming back to one word to describe the offense: timid.
Why in the world did Klint Kubiak have us play so scared against the Lions? Alexander Mattison (if we overlook his late fumble) found success. Justin Jefferson was largely unguardable. Kirk Cousins looked sharp, especially when he was rolling out. We could have easily put up 30+ points if the play calling was more aggressive and we didn’t commit so many stupid penalties.
The offense was lousy, but it didn’t look like it was going to matter following a clutch 55-yard kick from Greg Joseph. Minnesota had a commanding 10-point lead with less than 5 minutes in the game.
The defense, to their credit, also did their part. Minnesota understood that Detroit needed to overcome their two-score deficit, so our purple friends very reasonably focused on generating pressure on Jared Goff. After some Swift gains, Minnesota’s defensive linemen found a way to get home. Danielle Hunter got a sack on Goff on 3rd & 13. On 4th and 15, D.J. Wonnum got a sack, sending Detroit back another 9 yards. Take a look at the plays:
The defense, in other words, did everything they’re supposed to. They stopped Detroit from moving down the field, instead forcing them to turn the ball over in their own territory.
With less than 4 minutes to play and starting from Detroit’s 34, Minnesota’s offense trotted onto the field. Klint Kubiak should have been looking for the knockout blow. At the very least, we need to kill the clock. These are the two options; instead, we did the exact opposite. In a mere 22 seconds, Minnesota gained three yards on two runs, threw an incomplete pass, and had a missed FG from 49 yards. Look, I get that Kubiak isn’t responsible for Joseph’s missed kick, but there’s a massive problem there.
We got no points and drained 22 seconds following our 3 yards of offense. Our QB is making $33 million and we have perhaps the best group of receivers in the NFL. What is there to be so scared of? Perhaps Zim told the young OC to be conservative with his play-calling, but we’ve got to have better options than what we saw on that drive.
We are at home and just got the ball back after the defense really stepped up. We need to fully take away any chance of Detroit coming back. Instead, we gain 3 yards and drain 22 seconds off the clock.
Week 5 was the worst game in Klint Kubiak’s still-young career. By the end, he’ll likely have much brighter days. Collectively, we ought to hope those bright days arrive sooner rather than later. At 2-3, we can’t afford to lose games that ought to be easy.