While it didn’t go as I had predicted (via the air) the Vikings still thoroughly dominated the Chargers on both sides of the ball Sunday to improve to a 2 and 1 record that feels like maybe, just maybe it should’ve been 3 and 0.
It was a weird game. Perhaps for the first time in my entire life, I was completely composed during the entire afternoon. I wasn’t nervous at all, in fact, I felt like taking a nap at halftime. That’s not just some generic attempt to prove how much of a fan I am. I literally am usually just a wreck. This team feels different.
We are built more than ever (in my lifetime) as a stout defense that actually hurts QB’s. We make high percentage throws and dominate upfront and on the ground. That began against the Lions and continued Sunday.
How did we do that?
Rivers entered the game with a league high 80% completion rate. While he still had a good 60%, he just never got comfortable. And how could he?
His offensive line entered the game as a banged up bunch, and ended the game half in traction. Rivers was wisely pulled to avoid any injury potential as the Vikings basically took advantage of a great situation.
For the second consecutive week the Vikings defense also gave a QB sore ribs. Second year sensation Barr came flying in on a late blitz with a well timed shot to the ribs, leaving Rivers stumbling around and apparently short of breath. Chargers coaches called a time out to avoid an injury time out, and Rivers collapsed again.
While some say they never want to see anyone hurt, I do. And, it’s amazing to have an uptempo, swarming defense that gets physical. I think the reason that I was so calm during the game was that (outside of 2 plays on their TD drive) San Diego had no big plays. For the second week we allowed next to no YAC. It also looked that if a player did break a tackle, 2 or 3 other Vikes would be there to finish the play.
With Xavier Rhodes getting knocked out on the TD drive by Blanton’s out of position shoulder, missing rookie CB Waynes got his first real playing time this season. He looked the part of a first round draft pick, but also had a lot of help had he needed it. Which he didn’t.
Anthony Barr added a sack and five tackles in a game where he showed why he was a top ten pick. He was a force. He seems like such a nice guy but when he puts the pads on he is a maniac. He could be the face of our defense for the next decade plus, and man, is that a great feeling. He also forced a fumble, and looked super happy (and by happy I mean mean) playing next to college teammate Kendricks who also had a great game.
All in all, our defense has proven that those who said it would outshine the offense were right. We looked mean, but disciplined. This is what I meant when I said that if we could eliminate penalties we’d give the offense a ton of opportunity and make every Sunday the longest day of our opposing teams’ lives. Let’s hope we can continue this streak against an again Peyton Manning, who has always had our number.
On offense AD continued to show why he is the best RB ever. He averaged 6.3 yards, and ended with 2 touchdown’s that could’ve easily been 3 or even 4. Which would’ve helped my draftkings, thanks a lot, Zack Line.
Teddy had his statistical worst game of the season, but he wasn’t really asked to do much. The first INT should’ve never happened, with Kyle Rudolph seemingly losing the ball in the sun on the play before a jump ball. He does seem to have a strange deep ball, where he flicks his wrist and puts a lot of air under the ball, perhaps under the pretext that Johnson and Rudolph both have physical mismatches in the red-zone.
Teddy ended the day with 54% completions, with 121 passing yards vs. AD’s 126 rushing. If we can win that way, I say keep doing it. But, going into Denver next week, I think we may need to air it out a bit more.
It was a great game, and a great continuation of week 2. We started the season about as poorly as one could, and have improved each week. The NFC North is now a 2 team race, with both the Lions and Bears starting at 0-3. While I am the type of guy who looks at a 2-1 record and bemoans the loss, it could’ve been exactly what Zimmer said it was. A blessing in disguise.
We have had a fire lit under us, our defense especially. Before I can make a full prediction I need to read up on Denver a bit more but I can say that Manning has a high probability of not leaving that game smiling.