No catchy title for the post-game rants yet. . .I'm sure I'll think of something eventually, but if anyone has any suggestions, they'll be taken under close consideration by me and my staff. And by "staff," I really mean "my wife and my two puppy dogs, if they decide they want to sit still long enough to help out."
(The puppy dogs, I mean. . .not my wife. She doesn't have that problem.)
Well. . .the good things about Sunday's game might outnumber the bad this week. . .but the magnitude of the bad cancels out any good that might be mentioned here. As per usual, let's start out with
WHAT WAS GOOD
The defense - The Vikes came into this one with the 31st ranked pass defense in the NFL. They allowed 6 completions, 34 gross passing yards (24 net), and intercepted Rex Grossman 4 times. Yeah, they get a gold star. I realize that Rex Grossman sucks and might be the
worst second-worst starting QB in the league right now, but the Vikings have a long history of making bad quarterbacks look like world-beaters, and they didn't allow Grossman to do that on Sunday.
As far as the run defense, they had the nerve to allow about 25 yards more than their average on the year. Of course, that means that they gave up a whole 83 yards rushing as opposed to their usual 50 or so. They also managed to force 3 of the 5 turnovers coughed up by the Bears. All in all, you can't really blame this one on the defense. Nope, not one bit. They weren't turning the ball over 5 times in this one.
(Happy place. . .happy place. . .)
The rush offense - If I told you prior to Sunday's game that the Vikings were going to go into Soldier Field and put up nearly 200 yards on the ground, you would have been looking to have me committed. But, that's exactly what they did. . .192 rushing yards at an average of 5.5 yards per carry. Chester Taylor put up 99 more yards on 17 carries, making him the first Vikings' RB since Michael Bennett in 2002 to break the 1,000 yard mark. Ciatrick Fason (who?) contributed 75 yards and a TD on 11 carries after Taylor left the game with a rib injury. The Vikings took a very good defense and pretty much ripped them to shreds on the ground. With anything resembling a competent quarterback, Minnesota probably could have won this game by 20 points.
(Anger. . .building. . .must. . .find. . .more. . .positive. . .)
Viking quarterbacks not named Brad Johnson - After Johnson was through crapping the bed on Sunday afternoon (i.e. right after he threw his fourth INT of the day to a wide open Brian Urlacher), Brooks Bollinger replaced him at quarterback. Bollinger took a couple of sacks on his first series, and his second one wound up in a safety when Ciatrick Fason decided that he'd run sideways in the end zone rather than straight ahead. On the next one, however, he led the Vikings on a very impressive 11 play, 89 yard touchdown drive. Unfortunately, Bollinger suffered a shoulder injury on a third-down play on his next drive (that came after the Vikings recovered a beautifully executed onside kick).
And on Minnesota's next (and final) drive, everything stopped. . .and the clouds parted. . .and a ray of sunlight shone on Soldier Field, if only for a minute. Because into the game at quarterback came the future. . .#7 in your programs, but #1 in your hearts. . .Tarvaris Jackson.
And damned if the kid didn't look pretty good out there. He completed a screen pass to Fason to start things off. After an incompletion, he hit Billy McMullen for 7 yards, which brought up a fourth down. On 4th and 4, Tarvaris scanned the field, avoided the rush. . .and threw the best damn pass thrown by a Vikings' quarterback since Daunte Culpepper was run out of town by some idiot coach. The pass hit Jermaine Wiggins right between the 8 and the 5 on his jersey for a 24-yard gain and a Viking first down.
Yes, he fumbled on the next play and turned it over. But, my friends, we have seen the future at quarterback. And it looks awfully damn bright from where I sit.
Oh. . .and did anyone notice that the Vikings' receivers didn't look so terrible when Bollinger and Jackson were throwing the ball around out there? I guess the ball is easier to catch when it doesn't take an hour and a half to reach its destination.
Well. . .I'd love to stop there, but I'm afraid we can't.
WHAT WAS BAD
Brad Johnson, the worst fucking starting quarterback in the entire National Football League - Seriously, you've got to be kidding me with this shit.
Another 4 interceptions for Brad Johnson this past Sunday, bringing his season totals to a blistering 8 TDs and 14 INTs. Almost half his touchdowns this year came in what is now clearly a completely fluke performance against Arizona last weekend. Throw in the fumbles he's lost (and lord knows how many THAT is), and he's easily the worst starting quarterback in the NFL. There's not even a close second.
With a competent quarterback, this team could be at least 8-4. . .maybe even 9-3 and leading the NFC North instead of at 5-7 and looking forward to draft day already. But no. . .Brad Childress, in his infinite wisdom, hitched his wagon to a 38-year old washed-up has-been and ran a rehabbing 29-year old QB. . .one who, two years earlier, had set the single-season record for yards from scrimmage. . .out of town on the proverbial rail.
Brad Johnson has single-handedly held this team back from being a contender. Yeah, blame the damn receivers all you want. . .like I just said above, they didn't look too bad when they had real quarterbacks throwing the ball their way. This guy had better be nowhere near the Vikings' roster next season. Hell, if he starts next WEEK, I'm not sure if I'll even watch the game, because I'm tired of watching this level of ineptitude. I'd rather lose while having Tarvaris Jackson learning on the job than lose while having Brad Johnson continue to make idiotic decisions and single-handedly piss this season down the drain for Minnesota.
Brad Childress - Yeah. . .thanks for pulling Brad Johnson about six games too late. Enjoy your off-season. . .go ahead and make plans for January. . .it's not like you're going to be playing football that month or anything.
Special teams - Devin Hester managed to elude approximately 18 different Vikings on his way to a 45-yard punt return for a TD. Chris Kluwe, who had been getting better over the past couple of weeks, was pretty bad. . .only averaged 31 yards a punt. Yep, not good at all.
And, mercifully, that's all for now, folks. Have a good rest of your Tuesday night, and keep on checking the site for more news, analysis, and other random fun.