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Stock Market Report: Bills

The more things change, it seems, the more they stay the same.

Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

For 57 of 60 game minutes, the Minnesota Vikings were either tied with or lead the Buffalo Bills, including the entirety of the third and fourth quarters. Of course, they lost on the last offensive play of the game when Kyle Orton hit Sammy Watkins for the game winning score with two seconds left. I can handle losing; I'm a VIkings fan, after all. But I hate watching Minnesota lose games...heck, GIVE AWAY games...they should, and could have won.

But I've seen this dance far too often, and when the Bills converted that 4th and 20 on their last drive, I saw it happening just the way it did. And when it was over I needed to be sedated. Didn't we, Mr. Ramone?

Twenty-twenty-twenty four hours to go I wanna be sedated
Nothin' to do and no where to go-o-oh I wanna be sedated
Just get me to the airport put me on a plane
Hurry hurry hurry before I go insane
I can't control my fingers I can't control my brain
Oh no no no no no

Twenty-twenty-twenty four hours to go....
Just put me in a wheelchair, get me on a plane
Hurry hurry hurry before I go insane
I can't control my fingers I can't control my brain
Oh no no no no no

Twenty-twenty-twenty four hours to go I wanna be sedated
Nothin' to do and no where to go-o-o I wanna be sedated
Just put me in a wheelchair get me to the show

Hurry hurry hurry before I go loco
I can't control my fingers I can't control my toes
Oh no no no no no

Your SMR that's pretty good until the last minute follows.

Blue Chip Stocks:

Jerick McKinnon, RB: Coming into this game, the Bills had the best running defense in the NFL, giving up less than 70 yards a game on the ground. All McKinnon did was go for 103 yards on 19 carries, leading a ground attack that chewed the Bills up for 158 yards. He's taken over the starting job at running back, and although he's not going to fill the shoes left by Adrian Peterson's absence, we're finding out that once AP's time in Minnesota is over, the Vikings running game should be in good hands.

Anthony Barr, LB: Barr is making a strong case for Defensive Rookie of the Year, and had another fantastic game against the Bills--10 tackles, two fumble recoveries, broke up a pass, and was generally the Tasmanian Devil from the Looney Tunes cartoons--a mini hurricane that was all over the place. This kind of game is starting to become routine for Barr, and as exciting as that is for us as Vikings fans, I hope it's scaring the Hell out of the rest of the NFL.

Everson Griffen, DE: I'm not trying to be a braggart when I say this, but I've been on a bunch of radio spots and podcasts between free agency and today, and in all those interviews, well, let's just say I wish I had a nickel for every time I was asked if the Vikings made the right call in keeping Griffen and letting Jared Allen walk. After today, when Griffen had 3.5 sacks and was an absolute beast on the outside, I'm pretty sure I won't be asked that question anymore. On the season, Griffen now has seven sacks. Meanwhile, in Chicago, Allen has one, and saw his playing time drop today against the Dolphins.

Blair Walsh, K: We really haven't talked about Walsh much this year, but once again we got a reminder as to why he's one of the best kickers in the NFL. He was 3/3 on field goal attempts, including a 55 yarder right before the half that might have been good from 65. In Buffalo.

Solid Investments:

Greg Jennings and Jarius Wright, WR: Last week the Vikings offense couldn't get untracked for a few reasons, and one of them was receivers not being able to make easy grabs on the few opportunities Teddy Bridgewater had to throw the ball. Today, that wasn't the case, as both Jennings and Wright made some clutch grabs to keep drives alive.

Xavier Rhodes, CB: If Rhodes makes the play on Sammy Watkins at the end of the game, he gets a blue chip stock, but one bad play can't overshadow what was otherwise an exceptional game. He had a pass defended, was solid in coverage, and is rounding into a top flight, #1 CB.

Mike Harris, G, and Joe Berger, C: Early in the game, both C John Sullivan and RG Vlad Ducasse went out with injuries, and Harris and Berger were forced into the game. Both played well, as evidenced by the Vikings 158 rushing yards, especially Harris. Harris had never played guard before, ever, at any level, but was forced into the position when Ducasse went out, as the Vikings had no more offensive linemen dressed. He did a very good job, all things considered, and with the way the rest of the regular linemen have been playing, might be worth another look.

Junk Bonds:

Matt Kalil and Phil Loadholt, T (and in this case I think the T could mean turnstile): So as encouraging as Harris and Berger were, Kalil and Loadholt were just as discouraging--again. Last week, you could make the argument that three or four of Bridgewater's eight sacks were on him. Today, I can think of only one where Teddy held on to the ball too long; the rest were on the line. Loadholt and Kalil had a brutal two play sequence in the fourth quarter that, in reality, ended up being the difference in the game. After a 14 yard pass to Jarius Wright, the Vikings had a first and goal on Buffalo's seven yard line. Kalil and Loadholt gave up consecutive sacks, and now the Vikings were facing a 3rd and 23. Norv Turner called a draw play, the Vikings kicked a field goal, and instead of being up 20-10, they were only up 16-10.


Buy: Teddy Bridgewater for about half the game. There were times when Bridgewater looked like he had command of the offense. He made smart decisions, good throws, and he played a large part in the Vikings sustaining drives and eating the clock. He shook off an early funk and a couple of bad picks to have a decent game, and he also threw his first career TD pass, to WR Cordarrelle Patterson. And it came on the heels of a bad pick that lead to a Bills TD that put gave them a 10-7 lead.

Sell: Teddy Bridgewater for about the other half of the game. That said, I need to recalibrate what my expectations are for a rookie quarterback. Yeah, he's gonna be good, but he's also going to make some bad throws. Like he did today. He had two picks, and his second one was one he was baited into throwing by Bills CB Leodis McKelvin. It was an out pattern, and it looked for a minute like Adam Thielen was open, but McKelvin was waiting and jumped the route. It set the Bills up deep in Vikings territory, and they converted on the next play with a TD pass from Orton to Watkins.

Buy: The defense for 59 minutes. Last week it was the first drive, this week it was the last drive. For about 58 minutes, the VIkings defense was chaos and mayhem for the Bills. The harassed and harried Kyle Orton, the Bills couldn't really move the ball on the ground, and they set up the offense with good field position on more than one occasion.

Sell: The defense on the last drive. Oh, but that last drive. The Bills went right down the field, converting a 4th and 20 in the process on a play where Chad Greenway couldn't cover TE Scott Chandler. 4th and 20.As good as this defense can and will be, the breakdowns at critical moments are still happening, and this game was a flashback to 2013, when the Vikings lost five games in the last five minutes.

Buy: Creating four turnovers. The Vikings had an interception and three fumble recoveries. The first one was on Buffalo's first drive, and the fumble created by Chad Greenway stopped the Bills at the Vikings 25. They also forced a fumble on Buffalo's second drive, this time at the Buffalo 25, which the Vikings converted into a field goal. Robert Blanton intercepted Orton as the Bills were near midfield with under two minutes to go, and the Vikings were able to get into Walsh field goal range. Their final turnover occurred on the Vikings 25, as the Bills were driving again. Everson Griffen sacked Orton, forced a fumble, and Anthony Barr recovered, ending what would've been at least a gimme field goal.

Sell: Only scoring six points off of those turnovers. I could understand the two turnovers not turning into points, as they stopped scoring drives. And I can even accept only getting a field goal at the end of the half after the Blanton pick. But when you're given a gift by the defense that essentially starts you in the red zone, getting a field goal there is unacceptable. On third and five, Norv Turner called a Matt Asiata run up the middle, and it seemed that the Vikings were playing it safe, not to turn the ball over and settle for a field goal as opposed to going for the end zone. At the end of the day, it cost the Vikings the game.

Don Glover Quote of the Week:

"Well, the Vikings have some good players, but they still need some help."

So we move on to Tampa Bay, and our old friends Lovie Smith and Leslie Frazier. Interesting fact--the Vikings have never won in Raymond James Stadium. Ever. Even the 1998 juggernaut team that went 15-1 got the 'one' there.

Just something to think about.