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Response to CCNorsemen: Webb deserves more credit

 

This response to CCNorsmen’s response to my original post is too long to get put in as a comment.  So, like CCNorsemen, I’m going to make a post out of this.  I think you’ll see that CCNorsemen and I have a different take on Webb’s performance – widely different in fact.  In my defense, I will say that I’ve made these comments after watching the game again, because I think it’s difficult to draw many conclusions about what happens on a play by simply reading the stats on the play.  They often don’t tell the story at all.  I went back to watch the game, because I was curious to see what plays resulted in the end of series.  I ended up watching every offensive play (sometimes multiple times).  I’ll also provide my view of each series, because I see these series a lot differently than CCNorsemen does, and I think the difference between the two views is striking.  But first here’s what I noticed about the game at a high level. 

The defense was very aggressive and had a lot to do with the Vikings getting this win as CC Norsemen said, because they pressured Vick and the Eagles throughout much of the game.  We agree on this point. Where we differ is that I think Webb was the star of the offense.  The offensive line was a mess. 

Here’s who started on the O-line from left to right:  McKinnie, DeGeare, Sullivan, Cook and Loadholt.  With the two best guys on the O-line, Hutchinson and Herrera out of the game, is it any wonder that Webb was under pressure throughout the game?  Watching this game, it’s amazing to me that he wasn’t sacked more often. 

For the most part, Peterson did NOT help matters during the game.  In general the running game had a huge number of low and negative yardage plays which puts a lot of pressure on any QB, particularly one starting in his first game.  Over 50% of Peterson’s carries ended up being for two or fewer yards.  Over 25% of his carries were for no gain or negative yardage.  Peterson had 4 big carries for over 10 yards each (one of which ended in a fumble).  However, the inability to consistently advance the ball with the run added to challenge given to Webb in his first game. 

Vikings receivers dropped a number of balls at critical times.  Sidney Rice managed to drop two first down catches and one TD pass. 

It was amazing to watch Joe Webb knowing that he was the 3rd string QB all season.  The Philadelphia game was the first week in which Joe was able to get 1st reps.  He’d never even been able to get 2nd string reps prior to that week. 

Before I launch in the details that go beyond the stat sheet, I think it’s I can say that I think the written play notes are interesting, but they hardly tell the story of what happened on the play.  For example, the 1st series has a play that reads, “(Shotgun) J.Webb pass incomplete short left to P.Harvin (D.Tapp).”  Well as it turns out,  Darryl Tapp is a defensive tackle.  He was nowhere near Harvin.  What happened is that he raised his arm and jumped (pretty high) while supposedly engaged with John Sullivan and blocked the pass at the line.  That’s on Sullivan if it’s on anyone.  And thus the series ended. 

Now let’s get into the play by play.  I’ll provide CCNorsemen’s commentary, and then my own view of the game after having watched the plays. 

1st Series:

(12:39) A.Peterson left tackle to MIN 23 for 5 yards (Q.Mikell).

(12:05) P.Harvin right end to MIN 22 for -1 yards (J.Chaney).

(11:29) (Shotgun) J.Webb pass incomplete short left to P.Harvin (D.Tapp).

PUNT

 

CCNorsemen synopsis:  After the defense stops Philly on the opening series and forces a punt, the Vikings have an opportunity to break open a quick lead, on the road. Instead, Webb leads the offense to a three-and-out:

 

kcskol synopsis:  There were two running plays on 1st and 2nd downs for a total of 4 yards.  On 3 and 6, this series ended in an incompletion because John Sullivan’s guy was able to get his hand up AND jump up and bat the pass down at the line of scrimmage.  It would be tough to blame Webb for that play (let alone that series) and use it as an example of not performing under pressure. 

 

2nd Series:

(7:42) J.Webb pass short right to P.Harvin to MIN 28 for 8 yards (J.Chaney).

(7:12) J.Webb pass short left to V.Shiancoe to MIN 28 for no gain (D.Patterson).

(6:32) J.Webb pass short right to N.Tahi pushed ob at MIN 39 for 11 yards (D.Tapp).

(6:06) J.Webb left end ran ob at MIN 46 for 7 yards.

(5:45) A.Peterson right tackle to MIN 48 for 2 yards (K.Coleman).

(5:07) J.Webb pass short right to V.Shiancoe to PHI 43 for 9 yards (K.Coleman).

(4:34) A.Peterson up the middle to PHI 39 for 4 yards (K.Coleman).

(3:57) PENALTY on PHI-A.Dixon Encroachment 5 yards enforced at PHI 39 - No Play.

(3:37) P.Harvin left end ran ob at PHI 27 for 7 yards.

(3:07) A.Peterson left tackle to PHI 28 for -1 yards (J.Chaney).

(2:28) (Shotgun) J.Webb scrambles right end to PHI 28 for no gain (A.Samuel). PENALTY on MIN-P.Loadholt Face Mask (15 Yards) 15 yards enforced at PHI 28 - No Play.

(1:53) J.Webb pass incomplete deep right to S.Rice (A.Samuel).

(1:50) (Shotgun) J.Webb pass incomplete deep middle to V.Shiancoe (J.Chaney).

(1:46) C.Kluwe punts 43 yards to end zone Center-C.Loeffler Touchback.

 

CCNorsemen synopsis:  Philly gets the ball back, marches down the field and Vick tosses a TD. Down 7 points, Webb starts to the move the offense initially in the next series with some short passes, but after a penalty on Loadholt that backs up the offense out of field goal range, Webb folds under the pressure and fails to convert the longer intermediate throws. 

 

kcskol synopsis:  Joe Webb was VERY good on this series.  His throws were well placed allowing his receivers (including the fullback Tahi) to catch their balls on the run and gain significant yards.  The Joe Webb run (at 6:06) to left end looked like a design run play and was very effective.  Later, on the 9 yard pass to Shiancoe (at 5:07) on 3rd and 1, Phil Loadholt didn’t block the defensive end who came untouched at Webb.  Webb escaped the rush and passed a perfect ball to Shiancoe who was immediately tackled after a 9 yard pass for a 1st down.  On 2nd and 11 (at 2:28), the pocket completely fell apart, with both McKinnie and Loadholt getting bull rushed.  Sullivan also missed his guy who came straight up the middle. Had Webb not moved to his right he would have been crushed by three guys at once.  As it turned out, he was able to scramble for a 5 or 6 yard gain.  Unfortunately, in addition to get completely steamrolled on the play, Loadholt was called for a face mask penalty.  2nd and 11 now became 2nd and 26.  (As an aside, I think it is important to note that the absence of down and distance information further limits the usefulness of the play-by-play notes above.  I don’t know too many QBs in the league who can reliably get their team out of a 2nd and 26 situation – let alone in their first start.  On both subsequent deep balls, Webb’s receivers were totally blanketed.  On the throw down the middle of the field to Shiancoe (a perfect throw by the way) the ball was batted down by a linebacker who was trailing Shank down the field and essentially got lucky by putting his arm up at the critical moment. 

 

Basically on this series, Joe, and Joe alone, was responsible for moving the ball down the field.  His O-line did him no favors either in pass defense or in the run.  Peterson had three runs (2 yds, 4 yds and -1 yds) for a 1.7 yd average.  Harvin had a 7 yd run on a trick play in which he took the handoff while crossing behind Webb from the wide receiver position.  Joe’s passes were in all but one case on the money.  He threw from in the pocket and on the run.  When he ran it was either as a result of a designed run play (left end), or because the pocket feel apart virtually instantly.  The critical plays in this drive were a -1 yd run by Peterson on 1st and 10 followed by a 15 yard facemask penalty on Loadholt that negated a 6 yard scramble by Webb.  Instead of 3rd and 5, Webb was handed 2nd and 26.  Again, the failure of this series to progress is not on Webb. 

 

3rd Series:

(12:45) J.Webb pass incomplete short left to S.Rice.

(12:40) A.Peterson left guard to MIN 29 for 3 yards (A.Dixon).

(12:00) J.Webb pass incomplete deep right to B.Berrian.

(11:54) C.Kluwe punts 46 yards to PHI 25 Center-C.Loeffler downed by MIN-H.Farwell.

 

CCNorsemen synopsis: On Philly’s second series, Vick moves the offense to midfield, and after a sack by the defense sets up a long 3rd down that Vick can’t convert, the Eagles punt. Now in the 2nd quarter, the Vikes have a 3rd opportunity to get things moving, and after two incompletions by Webb, the Vikes are forced to punt again with a 3-and-out. 

 

kcskol synopsis:  This series was one of the most painful to watch.  Starting on the Vikings 26, Webb throws a 14 yard ball to Sidney Rice.  It should have been a routine catch, but it bounced off of Rice’s shoulder.  It would prove to be the first of several very bad drops by Vikings receivers.  Now instead of 1st and 10 at the 40 yard line, it was 2nd and 10 at the 26.  The next play was a 3 yard run by Peterson.  Now it was 3rd and 7.  This is the first play in the entire game so far in which someone might be able to say Webb had a bad throw.  He threw to Berrian who was running to the sideline at about the 50 yard line.  He was closely covered with a safety closing quickly as well.  Webb threw the ball over Berrian’s head out of bounds.  Was he making a safe play given the tight coverage, or was it a bad throw?  I don’t know.  It would have to be absolutely perfect to have been a catch though.  Regardless, I can’t blame Joe Webb for this series either.  The key play in this series was Sidney Rice’s drop on first down.  Joe Webb couldn’t convert on 3rd and 7, but he shouldn’t have had to. 

 

4th Series:

(10:03) J.Webb scrambles right end to MIN 21 for 7 yards (A.Jordan).

(9:26) A.Peterson up the middle to MIN 36 for 15 yards (Q.Mikell).

(8:46) A.Peterson left end to PHI 41 for 23 yards. FUMBLES RECOVERED by PHI-Q.Mikell at PHI 41. Q.Mikell to PHI 41 for no gain (J.Dugan).

 

CCNorsemen synopsis:  On the next Philly possession, the Vikings defense shows up yet again, and intercepts Vick, giving the offense the ball, albeit deep in their own territory. This time, Peterson coughs up the football, giving it right back to the Eagles, squandering another opportunity.

 

kcskol synopsis:  After the Vikings interception, this series started at the Vikings 14 yard line.  One the first play of the series, Joe Webb rolled right looking to throw (again clearly a designed play).  Unfortunately, Loadholt released his guy who came straight at Webb who narrowly escaped being sacked.  The only receiver I could see on the play was well covered by 2 Eagles.  Joe took the ball down and ran for 7 yards.  Any time you make 7 yards on a 1st down, it’s hard to complain – particularly when the play probably could easily have resulted in a sack.  Peterson then has his first big run of the game (15 yards), but the follows that up with a fumble on a 23 yard run.  So here’s the thing.  In the stats it might look like Peterson was having a good game at this point (7 runs for 51 yards and a fumble).  However, I think those stats are deceptive.  The runs to this point have been 2, 4, -1, 5, 3, 15 and FUMBLE.  In Peterson’s best series he had two runs for a total of 38 yards but turned over the ball.  Again, Joe Webb did well on his one play.    

 

5th Series:

(7:09) J.Webb pass short left to P.Harvin to MIN 39 for 12 yards (Q.Mikell).

(6:33) J.Webb pass short right to P.Harvin to PHI 44 for 17 yards (C.Anderson).

(5:52) A.Peterson right end to PHI 43 for 1 yard (M.Patterson).

(5:10) J.Webb pass short right to J.Kleinsasser to PHI 40 for 3 yards (J.Chaney).

(4:29) (Shotgun) J.Webb pass short right to B.Berrian to PHI 32 for 8 yards (J.Hanson).

(3:49) J.Webb pass short left to P.Harvin to PHI 29 for 3 yards (J.Hanson).

(3:09) J.Webb sacked at PHI 38 for -9 yards (T.Cole).

(2:32) (Shotgun) J.Webb pass incomplete deep left to S.Rice (D.Patterson).

(2:26) C.Kluwe punts 28 yards to PHI 10 Center-C.Loeffler fair catch by J.Maclin.

 

CCNorsemen synopsis:  The defense shows up big again, holding the Eagles to another 3-and-out, and the Vikings get the ball back well into their own territory. With halftime fast approaching, the Vikings needed to get on the scoreboard. Webb moved the offense into Eagles territory with some short, dink-and-dunk passes, but ultimately took an ill-advised sack that pushed them out of field goal range

 

On the ensuing Eagles possession, the Vikings defense, AGAIN made the big play. Winfield sacks Vick and forces a fumble…then recovers the fumble and runs it all the way in for a TD. He ties the score 7-7 right before halftime. The Eagles did manage to setup a last second field goal to end the half, but Akers was short and missed it. Webb had a pretty terrible first half, and thanks to the defense, the Vikings are still in the game.

 

kcskol synopsis:  The first two passes to Harvin were very good throws.  On the 2nd throw to Harvin, Harvin was tripped from behind and stumbled for some additional yardage.  Had he been able to keep his feet the play Collinsworth said he thought Harvin might well have scored on the play.  Regardless, it would have been a huge gain.  Oh well.  On 1st and 10 Peterson had a 1 yd run.  The next play was a throw into the flat to Kleinsasser.  Kleinsasser caught the ball and then did the famous Kleinsasser belly flop to the turf.  Now its 3rd and 6.  Webb passed the ball for a 1st down to Berrian who was running across the middle.  The throw was a little behind Berrian which caused Berrian to slow down on his route.  The play still went for a first down though.  The next play was a pass to Harvin in the flat for 3 yards.  On the next play, the Eagles defensive end Trent Cole (described by Collinsworth as “one of the premier pass rushers in the league”) started opposite Jeff Dugan.  The play was a bad offensive call, because Cole simply ran around Dugan.  McKinne couldn’t get over to help, and Cole was on Webb in no time flat.  Adding to the silliness of the play call, while Cole was lined up against a tight end, Webb had to fake a handoff and then look to pass to the right side of the field.  He didn’t see the DE until Cole was almost on him and coming at full speed.  In my opinion, no QB in the league could have avoided that sack.  Now here’s the kicker:  On the next play (3rd and 16), Joe Webb threw a great ball to Sidney Rice who again dropped it despite the ball hitting him in the gut.  The drop by Rice prompted Collinsworth to say, “I tell you we’ve seen a lot of bouncing balls coming off of the chest and hands of some Minnesota Vikings tonight both offensively and defensively tonight.”  Had Rice caught the ball like he should have, it would have been a first down. 

 

CCNorsemen says that Webb had “a terrible first half.”  Nothing could be further from the truth.  I hope my synopsis gives enough sense of what is actually happening in the game that you can get a sense of what I saw.  There was one maybe two possibly bad throws by Webb in the 1st half.  The 20 yard overthrow to Berrian at the sideline on 3rd and 7.  Again, remember though that Rice dropped a 14 yard pass two plays earlier.  Webb had another throw on 2nd and 26 to Rice in which he put the ball up high for Rice to out jump the defender for.  The ball was batted away on the play.  That was a good ball for Rice to go get as he had for the past two seasons with Favre. It wasn’t perfectly executed but it wasn’t bad.  Webb also had a throw that went for a 1st down in which he threw the ball behind Berrian somewhat.  No yardage was lost on the play however.  Other than those three plays (and even on those three plays), I don’t see any opportunity to criticize Webb for his first half play.  Let me reemphasize that point.  Webb played very well in the 1st half – better than even I thought he had when I first watched the game.  He didn’t get much help in the half from his O-line or from Rice who dropped two first down passes.  He also didn’t get a lot of help from the running game which despite a stat line that read 7 for 51 yards was a leading reason for why Webb faced a lot of 3rd and long situations.  The longest running play of the half (23 yards) ended with a fumble. 

 

Now to the 2nd half:

 

6th Series:

(14:55) J.Webb pass deep left to P.Harvin to PHI 28 for 46 yards (D.Patterson). Penalty on PHI-D.Patterson Defensive Pass Interference declined.

(14:11) J.Webb pass middle to V.Shiancoe to PHI 5 for 23 yards (D.Patterson).

(13:40) A.Peterson up the middle to PHI 6 for -1 yards (J.Chaney). PENALTY on PHI-D.Patterson Unnecessary Roughness 3 yards enforced at PHI 6.

(13:32) A.Peterson up the middle to PHI 2 for 1 yard (Q.Mikell).

(12:50) J.Webb pass short left to S.Rice for 2 yards TOUCHDOWN. Philadelphia challenged the pass completion ruling and the play was REVERSED. J.Webb pass incomplete short left to S.Rice (A.Samuel).

(12:46) J.Webb sacked at PHI 12 for -10 yards (J.Parker).

(12:27) R.Longwell 30 yard field goal is GOOD Center-C.Loeffler Holder-C.Kluwe

 

CCNorsemen synopsis:  After halftime, the Vikings get the first possession. With the game tied, and having done very little on offense, Webb connects on a long bomb to Harvin, and seemingly tosses a TD pass to Rice, but it was overturned after a challenge. Again Webb takes an untimely sack on third down after the challenge. They settle for a field goal, giving them a 10-7 lead:

 

kcskol synopsis:  The first play of the game begins with an absolutely beauty of a deep bomb (46 yards in the air) to Harvin that hits Harvin in stride.  Harvin has a guy draped all over him and is tackled as he catches the ball. Pass interference is called on the play but is declined.  The throw was an absolute gem.  After the deep bomb to Harvin, Webb put some nice touch on his next throw.  He threw a soft 9 yard pass to Shiancoe in the middle of the field that again hit Shank in stride.  He took that ball for 23 yards to the Philadelphia 5 yard line.  The next play was a handoff to Peterson for -1 yards.  An unnecessary roughness call on Philly put the ball at the Philly 3 yard line at 1st and goal.  The next play is a run by Peterson for 1 yard.  It’s now 2nd and goal from the 2.  The next play is Webb’s first TD pass.  A beautiful fade pass to the corner of the end zone to Rice for a called touchdown.  Collinsworth laughs and says, “It’s just a great throw.”  But wait!  There’s a challenge on the play!  After countless replays Al Michaels said, “I don’t think we see anything to overturn this.”  Nonetheless, the call is overturned.  Rice had both feet in and had pulled the ball into his gut.  However as he hit the ground out of bounds, the tip of the ball hit the turf and moved from his gut up to his shoulder pad.   The reviewing ref felt that meant Rice didn’t have control of the ball (similar to Shank’s TD against Green Bay that was overruled earlier in the season).  The call was overturned, and Rice had his third drop of the game and Webb was back to sucking because he doesn’t have a NFL passing TD in the regular season game.  Now it’s 3rd and goal from the 3 yard line.  On the next play, the D-line ends up with 6 defenders breaking throw the O-line in pursuit of Webb.  Webb continues to look to the end zone as he rolls and at times backpedals to the right to evade the rush.  He ends up getting pushed out of bounds for a ten yard loss.  Okay.  Rookie mistake.  Bad judgment by Webb.  Oh wait a minute!  It’s 3rd down from the 2 and a half yard line.  What good would throwing the ball away do?  The Vikings wouldn’t go for it on 4th and goal from the 2 and a half.  They were going to kick a field goal either way – either from the 2 and a half yard line or from the 12 yard line.  In reality, there is no difference in kicking a field goal from either position.  Why not take every last second he could to see if a receiver (he had three in the end zone) would open up in the end zone on the play.  Taking a sack on this play made absolutely no difference to the outcome of the series, none whatsoever.  It was hardly an “untimely sack.” 

 

In summary Webb had 3 passes on this drive for 46 yards, 23 yards and what a first looked to be a 2 yard TD.  All of the throws were perfect throws.  His run support consisted of runs of -1 and 1 yards each.  The sack on Webb was meaningless and taking as much time as Webb took was actually the right call under the circumstances in my opinion.  In my opinion this was another very good series by Webb. 

 

Here's a link to the Webb to Harvin bomb:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uET2hSd5Hi4

 

7th Series:

(10:44) A.Peterson right end to MIN 43 for 18 yards (K.Coleman).

(10:09) A.Peterson up the middle to PHI 48 for 9 yards (K.Coleman).

(9:47) A.Peterson up the middle to PHI 45 for 3 yards (Q.Mikell).

(9:09) J.Webb pass short left to A.Peterson to PHI 34 for 11 yards (K.Coleman).

(8:30) J.Webb pass short right to S.Rice to PHI 18 for 16 yards (A.Samuel). PENALTY on PHI-A.Samuel Unnecessary Roughness 9 yards enforced at PHI 18.

(8:12) PENALTY on PHI-J.Chaney Neutral Zone Infraction 5 yards enforced at PHI 9 - No Play.

(7:55) J.Webb pass short left to P.Harvin to PHI 9 for -5 yards (K.Coleman).

(7:12) J.Webb scrambles right end for 9 yards TOUCHDOWN

 

CCNorsemen:  The defense is relentless as it holds the Eagles to another 3-and-out on the next possession. The Eagles punt it into Vikings territory. Now with a lead, the offense needs to get something going. Thanks to a big run by Peterson, and some penalties on the Eagles, the offense is setup in the red-zone. On a first down, Webb tucks it down and runs it in for a TD, lifting the Vikes to a 17-7 lead.

 

kcskol synopsis:  The running game finally gets going in this series.  Peterson rattles off two good runs in a row for 18 yards and 9 yards.  He has another run for 3 yards and gets a first down on the play.  This is the first time in the game in which the running game has actually been an asset on a drive and we’re half way through the 3rd quarter.  It’s now 1st and 10 from the Philly 45 yard line.   Webb looks down field and then checks down to a wide open Peterson who runs after the catch for an 11 yard first down.  Now on another 1st and 10, Webb rolls to his right and completes a 16 yard pass to Rice who is hit in the head by Samuel’s helmet.  Rice leaves the game as does Samuel, and Samuel gets an unnecessary roughness call for helmet to helmet contact.  The ball is advanced 9 yards by the penalty.  But let me take a moment’s pause here.  Webb has had two passing plays on this series.  One is an 11 yard play to Peterson, and the other is a 16 yard play to Rice.  There’s no mention of that in the CCNorsemen commentary.  It’s simply Peterson and Eagles penalties that get special mention.  The 9 yard penalty on Samuel came on a throw that was good for a 1st down and 16 yards.  It was nice to get the extra 9 yards but was essentially meaningless.  Webb was moving the ball down the field just fine when given the opportunity.  On the next play, the Eagles jumped offsides for the second time of the game.  In both plays, I think they were drawn offsides by Webb (though not entirely legally in my mind).  On both offsides plays, Webb seems to bark out a signal and looks to move slightly.  I think it’s the combination of that sound and movement that causes the Eagles to jump.   It’s now first and goal from the 5 yard line. Webb fakes a hand off turns to his left, sees a DE (untouched by McKinnie) coming straight at him.  Webb is forced to arc the ball over the DE to Harvin in the flat (which is clearly the player for whom the play is designed).  The arc increases the time it takes for the ball to get to Harvin.  As a result, Harvin is tackled by a shoe string before he is able to get yardage.  The play ends up going for minus 5 yards.  Had McKinnie blocked his guy, I bet the play goes to Harvin for a touchdown.  It’s now 2 and goal from the 10 (not 1st down as CCNorsemen suggests).  What follows is one of the prettiest scrambles I’ve seen a quarterback make for a touchdown.

 

The play in question was designed to go to Kleinsasser.  Webb rolled right.  Kleinsasser blocked his guy and rolled to the right with Webb.  Kleinsasser then released his guy and went to the sideline for the throw.  Unfortunately he was immediately covered by a trailing linebacker.  There was no throw to make.  Webb avoided the onrushing lineman that Kleinsasser had released, and then juked his way down the sideline (aided by a very nice Kleinsasser block) for a TD.  Again, this was a very nice series by Webb.  Webb scores a TD, but it doesn’t really count because he did it with his feet.    

 

8th Series:

(2:39) A.Peterson right tackle to MIN 30 for 7 yards (M.Patterson).

(2:02) A.Peterson left end to MIN 26 for -4 yards (D.Tapp).

(1:19) (Shotgun) J.Webb scrambles right end ran ob at MIN 33 for 7 yards (D.Tapp). PENALTY on MIN-J.Webb Face Mask (15 Yards) 15 yards enforced at MIN 29.

(:53) T.Gerhart up the middle to MIN 20 for 6 yards (J.Chaney).

(:19) C.Kluwe punts 33 yards to PHI 47 Center-C.Loeffler out of bounds.

 

CCNorsemen synopsis:  The Vikings defense continues to make plays as Kevin Williams forces a fumble that is recovered by Jared Allen on the next Eagles possession. However, after a facemask penalty on a Joe Webb scramble backs up the Vikings to a 3rd and long, the Vikings offense fails to convert this turnover into points.

kcskol synopsis:  The Vikings defense gets a turnover and gives the ball to the offense at the Vikings 22 yard line.  Peterson gets a hand off for a nice 7 yard gain.  The next play is a hand off to Peterson for -4 yards.  It’s now 3rd and 6.  Webb is flushed out of the pocket with pressure from up the middle.  He rolls right and then tucks and run (and jukes) his way to a first down.  One Eagles defender is juked to the point of blowing out his knee and is taken off the field on a cart.  However, on the play Webb is called for a facemask penalty on his stiff arm.  (Webb did that again this season on a designed run play.  It was missed the ref though).  The ball goes from a 1st down to 3rd and 19.  The Vikings call a draw play to Gerhart for 6 yards. 

 

So, yes, Webb had a facemask penalty that negating the 1st down he got for the Vikings.  At 3rd and 19 the Vikings gave up and called a run play.  This drive was hardly an example of Webb leading an offense that squandered a Vikings turnover.  The drive started from the Vikings 22 yard line.  They Vikings had two runs that netted a 1.5 yard average.  Webb got them a first down but was called for a facemask on his stiff arm during the scramble.  Yes, Webb caused the drive to falter but not because of his QB play. 

 

9th Series:

(10:17) J.Webb pass incomplete short right to B.Berrian.

(10:11) J.Webb pass short left to B.Berrian to MIN 48 for 8 yards (J.Hanson).

(9:35) J.Webb pass short right to L.Booker ran ob at PHI 46 for 6 yards (A.Jordan).

(9:08) A.Peterson up the middle to PHI 47 for -1 yards (Q.Mikell).

(8:26) J.Webb pass incomplete short right to V.Shiancoe.

(8:23) (Shotgun) J.Webb pass deep left to P.Harvin to PHI 28 for 19 yards (J.Chaney).

(7:46) A.Peterson left end to PHI 1 for 27 yards (M.Fokou).

(7:11) A.Peterson up the middle to PHI 1 for no gain. PENALTY on PHI Defensive 12 On-field 0 yards enforced at PHI 1 - No Play.

(6:49) A.Peterson left guard for 1 yard TOUCHDOWN.

 

CCNorsemen synopsis:  The Eagles open up the 4th quarter in spectacular fashion as Vick leads the offense down the field and runs the ball in for a score, cutting the Vikings lead to 17-14. Things just kept going the Vikings way though, and David Akers botches the ensuing kickoff giving the Vikings incredible field position at their own 45. On a short field, Webb connects a deep pass to Harvin, but it is all about Adrian Peterson as he breaks off a big run, and then converts in the red zone, to increase the lead to 24-14.

kcskol synopsis:  The Vikings offense starts its drive at its own 40 yard line.  On the first play, the left DE comes at Webb untouched.  Webb escapes, rolls to his right and throws on the run while being chased by two linemen.  The play results in an incompletion to Berrian. (Also note that Sidney Rice is no longer in the game due to the early hit by Samuel). On 2nd and 10, Webb completes a nice throw to a tightly covered Berrian for 8 yards.  Webb then throws a screen to Booker for a 1st down.  On 1st and 10, Peterson takes a hand off for -1 yard.  On next play the Eagles rushed 6.  Webb stayed in the pocket as it closed around him.  He made a quick throw off his back foot and threw an incompletion to Shiancoe.  It wasn’t a great throw.  However, at this point, it’s pretty to easy say it was the exception rather than the rule.  At 3rd and 10, Webb throws one of the prettiest throws of the season, let alone the game.  He threaded the needle for a pass to Harvin for 19 yards who was tackled as he caught the ball.  Collinsworth was prompted to say, “What a throw by Joe Webb who’s acting like he’s been starting for 13 years rather than 13 play coming into this game.” Now it’s 1st and 10 at the Philadelphia 28 yard line. 

 

So to this point in the series, Webb has moved the ball from the Vikings 40 to the Philadelphia 28.  The Vikings ran one running play to this point.  It was a -1 yard carry by Peterson.  As throughout the rest of the game, the passing offense has been moving the ball very effectively (ignoring for the moment some critical dropped passes).  The running game has not been particularly effective to this point with the exception of the 7th offensive possession that had runs of 18, 9 and 3 yards.  Here are the runs to this point of the second half:  -1, 1, 18, 9, 3, 7, -4, 3, -1.  However, now Peterson makes a beautiful 27 yard run by cutting to the outside when the middle of the line was stuffed.  The next play from the Philadelphia 1 yard line was a handoff for 0 yards.  The play didn’t count though because Philadelphia had too many people on the field.  The next play was a one yard run.  Webb’s contribution to this series isn’t worthy of mention, because he still doesn’t have a passing TD. Well, unless you listen to what Collinsworth had to say, “This last drive by Webb just a… just brilliant.”  A sentence later, “And here it was [the 19 yard pass to Harvin], the play of the game as far as I was concerned.”  Collinsworth sounds like he would share my view that suggesting this was Adrian Peterson’s drive doesn’t do justice to Webb’s contribution on this series. 

 

10th Series:

(4:23) A.Peterson up the middle to MIN 16 for 2 yards (Q.Mikell).

(4:18) A.Peterson right tackle to MIN 18 for 2 yards (M.Patterson).

(4:14) (Shotgun) J.Webb left end to MIN 24 for 6 yards (T.Lindley; A.Jordan).

(3:21) A.Peterson right end to MIN 24 for no gain (Q.Mikell).

(2:35) J.Webb right end to MIN 23 for -1 yards (B.Bunkley).

(2:00) A.Peterson left end to MIN 25 for 2 yards (Q.Mikell).

(1:13) (Punt formation) C.Kluwe punts 39 yards to PHI 36 Center-C.Loeffler. J.Maclin ran ob at PHI 45 for 9 yards.

 

CCNorsemen synposis:  As if the defense hasn’t done enough already, on the next Eagles possession, they come up with a big sack on 2nd down forcing Philly into a 3rd and long situation which Vick can’t convert. They punt it deep into Minnesota territory. The Vikes can’t manage much on offense aside from burning a few more minutes off the clock and punt it right back to Philly with just over a minute in regulation.

kcskol synopsis:  Up 24-14 with the ball on their own 14 yard line, the Vikings go into a burn the clock mode.  After each run, Philadelphia calls a time out burning their last two time out of the game.  Peterson gets two consecutive carries for 2 yards each.  On 3rd and 6, Webb gets a designed, delay run up the middle for a first down.  Philadelphia is out of time outs and the clocks starts to run again after a measurement of the first down.  The next play is a handoff to Peterson on 1st and 10 for no gain.  The clock continues to run.  On the next play, Webb fakes a hand off and rolls right.  The only problem is that Loadholt doesn’t block the DE who comes straight at Webb.  Webb stiff arms the DE and evades the tackle and scrambles towards the sideline towards the line of scrimmage and is brought down for a one yard loss.  Should he have thrown the ball away?  Nope.  This possession is about getting time off the clock, and the clock continues to wind down.  Now the 2:00 minute warning arrives with the Vikings up 24-14.  On 3rd and 11, the Vikings hand off to Peterson for a 2 yard gain.  The Vikings wind the clock all the way down before taking a time out to bring on the punter.  The Vikings punt with 1:13 remaining in the game. 

As I said before, this possession was about getting time off the clock.  It was not about moving down the field any more than was necessary to take time of the clock.  To suggest that the Vikings couldn’t do much on offense is to essentially not understand the context of the drive. 

---

CCNorsemen final summary:  Sure, the Vikings get the win, and sure it’s a team win and you can’t take the victory away from Joe Webb. But don’t fool yourself into thinking this was a great game by Joe Webb. Yes, he connected on a couple deep balls, but in terms of situational football, when you needed a big play to stay in the game, it didn’t come from the QB position; it came from the defense and Adrian Peterson. On various 3rd downs, Webb took 2 bad sacks, and threw multiple incompletions. He only managed 195 passing yards. This game, taken with Detroit game, is his only real body of work as an NFL starter: 2 games. And neither game was particularly impressive. This, more than anything, is likely the reason he’s not the starter. Webb had an opportunity to impress, and frankly, he didn’t do it.

 

Kcskol final summary:  If you can’t like what you saw from Joe Webb in this game, you won’t ever like him as a quarterback.  He did everything in this game.  He made huge throws.  He moved the chains regularly with his arm from inside the pocket and while on the run.  He made every kind of throw (i.e. laser beams, deep bombs, end zone fades and touch passes).  He was under pressure all game and kept his feet and composure, and he made big 3rd down conversions.  His stats would have looked even better if Rice hadn’t dropped three passes in the game before leaving with a concussion.  Two of those passes would have resulted in 1st downs, and one would have been a touchdown. 

 

I’m not going to criticize Ponder, because I think he played just fine last Sunday.  However if Ponder had played like Webb did in Philadelphia, I would be over the moon right now.  Webb was very good in Philadelphia.  He wasn’t perfect, but who is?  Certainly no one in their first game of the season after being the scout team QB all season could be expected to do better.  Furthermore, it seems the CCNorsemen’s suggestion is that Webb enjoyed better defense play in his game than Ponder enjoyed in his game against Green Bay.  This is absolutely true.  However, if we look at the offense, the part of the team that both Webb and Ponder have some influence over, you’ll see that Ponder enjoyed much better O-line play than Webb did and got much more support and consistency from the running game.  The truth is that Joe Webb had a good game by any measure except the one that seems to matter to some; he scored his TD with his feet rather than through the air. 

 

I don’t expect anyone to go back and watch the game again, but I’d just add that it’s a little bit difficult to understand what’s happening on a play in which you don’t actually see the play.  Furthermore, the play-by-play would have benefitted from showing down and distance and line of scrimmage information.

 

Anyway, after watching this game, I just don’t see how it is possible to use it as an example of Webb’s lack of quarterback ability.  It was a very good game by any measure. 

 

(Please forgive the fact that I did not proof this post before posting.  It took too much time as it is). 

This FanPost was created by a registered user of The Daily Norseman, and does not necessarily reflect the views of the staff of the site. However, since this is a community, that view is no less important.

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