Matt Cassel's valiant effort just wasn't enough today in this hard-fought loss
They say football is a game of inches, and on this Sunday afternoon, the Minnesota Vikings just didn't get the ball to bounce their way, as the Carolina Panthers just managed to pull off a closely fought 35-10 victory.
The Vikings just couldn't get the momentum going on their side from the get-go, as Matt Cassel overthrew Greg Jennings by only 10 yards as Panthers safety Mike Mitchell just barely hung on for the interception. For the day, Cassel's best effort, which included a massive 5.5 Yards/Attempt and only two interceptions and a sky-high 74.1 passer rating, just wasn't enough to overcome the Carolina defense.
Despite a stout showing by the Vikings defense, Cam Newton, who came into the game ranking 26th in the NFL in passer rating at 78.4, just managed to find the soft spots in the Vikings Tampa 2 zone as he went a mere 20-26 for 242 yards and 3 touchdowns. The Vikings, who pride themselves in fundamentals such as 'stopping the run', allowed merely 131 yards and 3 touchdowns on the ground. Jamarca Sanford just wasn't able to corrall one difficult interception chance, while the defense showed very disciplined play and allowed only 2 first downs via penalty during the game. LeTroy Guion just wasn't able to keep his emotions in check as he was flagged for taunting after allowing a touchdown, but ya know, they say that football is just an emotional game. The Vikings, who's gameplan emphasizes running the football and controlling the clock, ran for a massive 75 yards on the ground on merely 10 carries for Adrian Peterson, while having possession of the ball for a full 23:33 of game time. However, on the bright side, Kyle Rudolph managed to have himself an excellent game, catching 9 balls for 97 yards and a late touchdown that managed to pull the Vikings within striking distance at 35-10.
Next week, in a matchup that the producers are just dying to show, the 1-4 Vikings take on the 0-6 New York Giants on Monday Night Football at MetLife stadium. One can only hope that the Vikings can run into better luck and keep the momentum going upwards as they look to avoid a 1-5 start for the first time since 2011.