"You never get a second chance to make a first impression".
That was the first thing my Communications 101 professor told me in my very first class my very first day at Ohio State. It's quite possibly the only thing I learned my freshman year, other than my couch could, in fact, hold enough change to get me a case of Pabst Blue Ribbon.
And all the PBR in the world couldn't erase the latest first impression Christian Ponder and the Minnesota Vikings gave us at Ford Field on Sunday. A combination of a bad offense, a poorly conceived game plan, and a defense that was about as effective as trying to open a can of paint with a ketchup bottle combined to put the Vikings on the short end of a 34-24 score. It was just a bad day all around, wasn't it, Mr. Powter?
Sometimes the system goes on the blink
And the whole thing turns out wrong
You might not make it back and you know
That you could be well oh that strong
And I'm not wrong
So where is the passion when you need it the most
Oh you and I
You kick up the leaves and the magic is lost
Cause you had a bad day
You're taking one down
You sing a sad song just to turn it around
You say you don't know
You tell me don't lie
You work at a smile and you go for a ride
You had a bad day
You've seen what you like
And how does it feel for one more time
You had a bad day
You had a bad day
Your 'why did I even get out of bed' SMR follows.
Blue Chip Stocks:
Jerome Simpson, WR: LOLWUT...but seriously, yeah. So I could go two ways on this. One direction is that if you're putting Jerome Simpson in as a blue chip, you're in a world of hurt. The other one is that it's nice to see Simpson become a legitimate member of the offense. Since everything else on offense was pretty much a shitshow, let's go with the latter. He displayed great hands, made one good catch on the sideline, one GREAT over the shoulder catch downfield that lead to a TD that got the Vikes to back within three, and was, for one day at least, the most reliable Vikings receiver in uniform.
Blair Walsh, K: Another solid performance for the second year kicker from Jawjuh. Walsh extended his NFL record for consecutive kicks beyond 50 yards by nailing a 52 yarder in the third quarter. And although the Lions drove up and down the field like they were doing seven on seven drills, it wasn't because of Walsh, as none of his five kickoffs were returned.
Adrian Peterson, RB: So when Peterson took the first carry 78 yards for a score, I laughed. I thought 2,500 was a matter of when, not if. Yeah, maybe not so much. 17 more carries netted only 18 more yards, he was held to under 100 yards rushing, and the Vikings never got the running game going.
Cordarrelle Patterson, WR: So, I need to ask a question here. Patterson brings some undeniable talent to the offense...so why in the name of Norm Van Brocklin was he not utilized more? He caught one pass for 10 yards, and with the Lions selling out on the run with Peterson, I would think he might have had an opportunity to make some money on the edges. And on one kick return he brought deep out of the end zone, I think he was an ankle tackle from housing it.
La dee doddy everybody on the defense. Riley Reiff is not a great left tackle, and at the end of last season he was about as effective as Rick Reilly. Their starting right tackle, Jason Fox, went out early and didn't return...and Matthew Stafford felt about as much pressure as a newborn grandkid trying to impress their grandparents (HINT: there is no pressure). When you add the fact that Detroit apparently used C4 explosive to blow holes in the lines for Reggie Bush to run through, it was one of the worst performances by the defense in a long time. Seriously, there was rumor going around the Vikings locker room before the game that Bush had the plague, because no one went near him all day.
Christian Ponder, QB: Yeesh. I don't know where to begin. His receivers bailed him out more than once on poorly thrown balls, for every good decision he made two bad ones (seriously, what the hell was that interception in the second quarter?), and he showed zero sense of urgency when the Vikings needed to score quickly late in the fourth quarter. His first pick was on Simpson, as it was right in his hands, but the other two were just bad throws. A good performance today could have gone a long ways to shut up a lot of his critics. Today's performance did just the opposite.
Buy: Only 5 penalties for 52 yards. The sign of a well disciplined team is not being penalized a lot, and the Vikings, for the most part, were a lot more disciplined than the Lions. However...
Sell: Those back breaking penalties in the fourth quarter. Okay, the one on Xavier Rhodes seemed like a load of crap, but the one that was just a back breaker was the completely legitimate personal foul on Letroy Guion. It was 3rd and 18, ball near midfield, Vikings only down by three with plenty of time left. Stafford's throw was way off, but the penalty eventually lead to what was the game clinching score. Awful penalty there.
Buy: Xavier Rhodes and Josh Robinson. I actually thought they played well, for the most part. Rhodes was one on one with Megatron more than once, and he held his own. Robinson did okay as well, and the secondary as a whole wasn't awful. Except, you know, when trying to bring down Reggie Bush, who last I looked, is still running.
Sell: Erin Henderson over Desmond Bishop. Yeah, Henderson had that jump ball interception, but he was out of position all day. And when Bush came by, he gave him a cup of water, waved, and let him keep on going.
Buy: Using draws and quick hitters to try and loosen up the defense for Peterson. I have no issues using screens and draw plays to try and loosen up the opposing defenses to try and get Adrian into some open field. THe Lions did a great job bottling up Peterson, and those kind of plays generally do the trick to reverse that trend. HOWEVER...
Sell: Using draws and quick hitters to try and loosen up the defense when you're down by 10 with 4 minutes to play. Seriously, what the hell were the Vikings doing? Even though the chances were remote for a comeback win, Ponder has a history of doing just that, and the Lions were doing their damndest of trying to give that game to the Vikings all day. Yet, instead of throwing downfield, the Vikings play sequence was 3 yard run to AD, 6 yard pass to Rudolph in the flat, LOLWUT sack THE ONE THING YOU CAN'T DO IN THAT SITUATION, volleyball tip pass and first down to AP, OHMYGODADEEPPASS that went incomplete, short pass, short pass, run, short pass, short pass, LOLANOTHERINTERCEPTIONJUSTSHOOTME. Not one of those plays went over 10 yards. Not. One.
If that's the Vikings hurry up offense, kids, we're doomed. Doomed.
Don Glover Quote of the Week:
It was some point in the fourth quarter, and Matthew Stafford was just picking the Vikings apart. My father was pretty frustrated with the pass rush.
Dad: "The Vikings must have made a new rule that they're not allowed to put on a pass rush this year."
Well Dad, I can't disagree with you there.
0-1 sucks, and the Vikes are off to Chicago, where they never, ever play well. They better next week, or 0-2 will be even worse than 0-1.
Keep the faith.