One of my favorite movies is Patton, starring George C. Scott. Not The Last Days of Patton, that crappy
remake sequel CBS made 10 or 15 years after the original classic. Anyways, in the movie, right before the Battle of the Bulge, Gen. Patton is talking to his staff, and he says:
There's absolutely no reason for us to assume. . .that the Germans are mounting a major winter offensive. The weather is awful and their supplies are low. The Germans haven't mounted a winter attack since Frederick the Great. Therefore I believe that's exactly what they're going to do.
When I went over to pick up my Dad to come over to the house and watch the game, he gets in the car and says "Son, don't ask me why, but the Vikings are going to win today. They can't win on the road, they got a new coach, and there is no reason to believe they'll win. Which is why they will.
It was weird, because I felt the same way. I just knew they were going to win. Well, I didn't know, but I had a good feeling. Like Gen Patton and my Dad. And when I took him home, my Dad said, "well son, it's a Beautiful Day, isn't it? The Gophers won the pig, the Vikes beat the Redskins, and the Packers lost. I don't know what made me happier." A Beautiful Day indeed, Dad.
You love this town, even if it doesn't ring true. You've been all over, and it's been all over you. It's a Beautiful Day, don't let it slip away.
SMR, after the report.
Blue Chip Stocks:
Toby Peterson, Two Headed Monster RB. When Adrian Peterson limped off after his strong start, everybody went 'aww, CRAP!" Except you didn't say crap, did you? Did you? I didn't. Enter the Dragon, bitches. Toby Gerhart didn't break any big runs off, but that's kind of tough to do when you're carrying 8 guys on your back. Gerhart just wasn't going to be denied, and he seemed to get stronger as the game wore on. Peterson, before he went out, and then Gerhart ran with abuse in their eyes. They just took it to Washington, and although the black and white numbers of their statistics don't reflect it, it was as impressive of a running display I have seen from the Vikings this season.
Leslie Frazier, Interim Head Coach. Minnesota played inspired almost all day long, and they played with passion. And it was something I haven't seen from this team other than the last five minutes of the Arizona game. I understand the old saying of 'players play and coaches coach', but coaches motivate the players, either positively or negatively. At least for a day, Leslie Frazier motivated and lead this team...his team...to do something they haven't done in a year, and that was to win on the road.
Chris Kluwe, P. Kluwe is becoming as reliable as K Ryan Longwell. When Longwell comes out, like he did today, you know the FG is going to be good. When Kluwe comes out to punt, you know he's going to boom it and give the punt coverage team the best possible chance to make a play for minimal gain. Now, if only the punt coverage team would live up to their end of the bargain, we'd be in business.
Chad Greenway, Assassin. A picture paints a thousand words. But a YouTube clip is a bajillion times more awesome:
Heh. Think someone is making a case for a contract extension? Anthony Armstrong does.
The Entire Offensive Line. I have a theory, and it goes something like this: If you have two All-Pro lineman on your left side, and two guys that bust their ass but are less talented on the right side, you might get more results by running to the left when keeping it on the ground. Former coach (and this is a large reason why he's former, if you ask me) Brad Childress didn't like this theory, and consequently the Vikings were consistently finding themselves in second and long. Sunday, by running behind Steve Hutchinson and Bryant McKinnie, Minnesota consistently found themselves in manageable down and distance situations, and the whole playbook was open to them. And thankfully, the 'Brad Childress section' of run right, run right, throw 10 yards short of the first down was not implemented on Sunday.
The Entire Defensive Line: When Kevin and Pat Williams bring heat up the middle and collapse the pocket, Jared Allen and Ray Edwards usually reap the rewards. Backup DT Letroy Guion had a sack (from right up the middle), and Allen and DE Brian Robison also had one. What's that? Washington's offensive line is as bad as the Twilight saga? I don't care, you know why? Because Minnesota's defensive line has been getting schooled by crappy, mediocre, and good lines all season, and it was about time these guys dominated somebody. And dominate them they did: less than 30 yards rushing for Washington, 4 sacks, and consistent pressure on Donovan McNabb. Well done, boys.
Continuing to yell 'BOO!' when opposing receivers go for a catch. Was it me, or did Washington receivers drop about 11 passes thrown their way Sunday? Had they, you know, caught them, there would've been a lot of big plays for the Redskins, and the outcome might have been different. But they didn't, and it wasn't. Hooray for us!! I'm thinking that for Madieu Williams and Husain Abdullah Oblongata (copyright Chris Gates), yelling 'BOO!' is their best bet at good pass defense, because they couldn't cover a dead guy with a blanket.
Visanthe Shiancoe, TE. I was beginning to think that all the Vikings needed to do was run a bootleg with Shiancoe doing a waggle pattern all day long. It was money, and open, every time they went to it, except one time, late in the fourth quarter. But more on that later. On a day when the Vikings used their passing attack like they did early in 2009, Shiancoe's effort really stood out, and it was nice to see him involved in the passing game again.
I've been pretty brutal to the Vikings in not giving out Blue Chip awards when they get beat. So when they pull together and gut out a big win on the road, I think it's only fair to say there are no junk bonds. Are there things that need to be improved on? Of course. I mean, they're still 4-7, but today, no junk bonds.
Buy: Ryan Cook subbing for Anthony Herrera. Can we just all agree that Ryan Cook is no longer terrible? Is he going to be an All Pro? Probably not, but is he the false start liability he was in 2007? No, he is not. Cook was playing out of position as a tackle in 2007 and 2008, but has been decent in relief duty at center and guard.
Sell: Brett Favre airmailing throws...again. It wasn't nearly as bad this week as it was last week, but he overthrew at least two passes to Sidney Rice that I can think of. And that pissed me off, because I started Sidney on my fantasy team, and he only got me two points. That's some BS right there, fellas.
Buy: Asher Allen playing solid press coverage. Washington went 6/6, or something maddening, in their initial third down conversions, and they were still moving the ball pretty well. Pretty sure it was the second quarter, Redskins had a third down. Washington tried to set up a screen pass to their left, and Asher Allen chucked Santana Moss at the line of scrimmage and cut the play off at the knees. Textbook defense by Allen, and I hope after last week it's a turning point in his development, because he was okay on Sunday. Not great, but not horrid, either. Baby steps.
Sell: Pass coverage by the safeties. Madieu Williams and Husain Abdullah looked as bad as two human beings could, save for one play by WIlliams, and on that play he should have had the pick. Abdullah got burned on the Washington TD pass, and Williams got burned repeatedly all day. We're going to have to ride these horses until the end of the season, but the position will need to be addressed in the off-season.
Buy: Brett Favre having more rushing yards than Chris Johnson, at least for a day. I'm sorry, but Favre's mad dash to seal the game was AWESOME! Peterson flashed his million dollar smile from the sideline, Favre and the offense was fired up, and it was fun watching the Vikings. For whatever reason, that emotion has been missing, but I'm glad to see it return. And it makes me wonder if the move to Leslie Frazier had been made after the Moss waivers thing, would the outcome against Chicago and/or Green Bay been different, and would the Vikes have a realistic shot at the playoffs?
Sell: Jeff Dugan carrying the ball in short yardage situations. It seemed that on a day when Minnesota re-discovered that running to the right actually works with their tailback, using Dugan to try and get a yard by going straight up the middle wasn't the best call. It happened late in the fourth quarter, and Washington got the ball back with time to make a game winning drive. True, they didn't, but had the Vikes been able to keep that drive going and maybe get a field goal, I would've felt a lot more comfortable.
Buy: Cris Carter and Chris Doleman being named Hall of Fame semi-finalists: the fact that Carter isn't in is a crime against football humanity, and Doleman should get in. There is a lot of stiff competition facing CC and Doleman, but I hope Canton will be painted in purple come August. Again.
Sell: MRI's for AP and Ray Edwards. Although their backups played well on Sunday, if Minnesota is going to finish strong they'll need both Edwards and AP healthy and contributing. Here's to hoping that their injuries are minor, and they're both out on the field kicking Buffalo's ass on Sunday.
Sell: The defense not being able to get off the field on third down in the first half. I made a comment in the game thread that it seemed at one point that the Redskins had more third down conversions than they had third down opportunities, like they hit a couple of two for one specials or something. The Vikings defense couldn't get a good down and distance match-up, and Washington kept making plays. On their opening drive, they were 4 for 4 on third down conversions.
Buy: The defense shutting down Washington on third down for a good portion of the game. Yes, the Redskins started out 4 for 4, but ended the day 7-15, so they did a good job of adjusting and shutting down Washington for a good portion of the game. 7 for 15 isn't good by any stretch, but considering the hot start that the Redskins had coming out of the gate, it was a nice recovery for the defense.
It's been a good weekend of football for the state of Minnesota. On Saturday, the Gophers played inspired football, came together as a team under an interim coach, and won a game (and a rivalry trophy) that almost no one thought they could. On Sunday, the Vikings played inspired football, came together as a team under an interim coach, and won a game that not a lot of people thought they would.
Except me and my Dad.
And General Patton.