''That's the biggest point of the game,'' safety Ryan Clark said. ''You have the best running back in the world and you don't give it to him. They're saying they can't beat us running, and that's a major statement when you have the guy they have back there.''
Of course, after an offsides penalty gave the Vikings a fresh set of downs at the one yardline, Adrian Peterson was given the ball on first down but wasn't given any touches on second and third down. It hasn't been quite as easy to complain about the offensive playcalling as it once was, but that sequence of plays sticks out like a sore thumb. When you have the best running back in the NFL, keeping the ball out of his hands makes the type of statement that Clark articulated. If you can't trust your running game in that situation, you're sending a message.
Now, in the interest of being fair and balanced, here is Kevin Seifert's take:
If you want to quibble, you could argue the Vikings erred by not handing Peterson the ball four times on the goal line during a third-quarter possession. You know I never hesitate to question Childress’ decisions, but in this case I wasn’t offended. Even Peterson said: “Well, I did get two cracks at it.”
The Steelers have one of the NFL’s best run defenses and they weren’t giving up much Sunday. Peterson’s first two plunges into the line, one negated by penalty, netted nothing. Favre, meanwhile, entered the game as the NFL’s top red-zone passer.
I have to disagree. Seifert would have a point if we're talking about Joe Running Back. But when you have the league's best runner, the ball belongs in his hands when you're in these sorts of situations.