I don't want to hear about bad calls or non-calls by the refs. Blaming referees for a call, or a non-call, is a loser's lament, and it makes you seem like whiny-ass Michigan fans after the OSU game Saturday. You're better than that. We're better than that. Refs suck everywhere. Suck it up and overcome, and prepare to win in spite of bad officiating, not because of it.
Yeah, it was an obvious blow to the head to QB Sam Bradford on the two point conversion, but in all honesty guys, it should have never come to relying on referees to make a call. The Vikes played a whale of a game defensively, and Dallas made exactly two plays all night. The Minnesota Vikings are an inept team offensively, made critical errors at the most inopportune times, and even if every call had gone their way, they still wouldn't have won this game with as bad as the offense is playing. And now a 5-0 start has been torn asunder to a 6-6 record, seemingly everyone is hurt, and Mike Zimmer's out of commission.
It's an absolute worst case scenario. A nightmare, if you will. Welcome to my nightmare. Right, Mr. Cooper?
Welcome to my nightmare, I think you're gonna like it, I think you're gonna feel you belong.
A nocturnal vacation, unnecessary sedation, you want to feel at home 'cause you belong.
Welcome to my nightmare whoa, ho, ho, ho...
Welcome to my breakdown.
I hope I didn't scare you.
That's just the way we are when we come down.
We sweat and laugh and scream here.
'Cause life is just a dream here.
You know inside you feel right at home, here.
Yeah, Welcome to my nightmare yeah, hey, hey, hey...
Welcome to my nightmare!
I think you're gonna like it!
I think you're gonna feel you belong!
We sweat and laugh and scream here!
'Cause life is just a dream here!
You know inside you feel right at home, here!
Welcome to my nightmare hoo, hoo, woo, hoo...
Welcome to my breakdown...
Your 'where did it all go wrong' SMR follows.
Blue Chip Stocks:
Kai Forbath, K: Forbath was 3-3 on his field goal attempts, and let's face it...if Blair Walsh is still on this team, he misses at least one of those kicks, if not more, and the last second drama is moot...because there is no last second drama. Yeah, Forbath doinked one off the upright, but it went in, and that's all that matters. Walsh would have gone all Nuke LaLoosh on that kick and hit the bull, more than likely. It's nice to have a serious deficiency on this team fixed and corrected. If only there was a way to fix the offensive line...
Danielle Hunter, DE: A Herculean effort by the defense was led by Hunter. On a night where they only gave up two big plays the entire game--the deep bomb to Dez at the end of the first half, and the TD pass off of the Adam Thielen fumble--the Vikings defense played an almost textbook game against Dak, Zeke, and Dez. Hunter was everywhere, and had two big sacks that both came at key moments in the game.
The Running Game: This game was, without a doubt, the best running performance by the Vikings all season. They made positive yards on almost every carry, and the line gave the backs running lanes. Jerick McKinnon had 41 yards on nine carries, Matt Asiata had 30 yards on six carries, and even Sam Bradford broke containment and made like a slightly wounded gazelle running like hell to avoid a lion on the Serengeti Plain. Hey, he made a first down on the play, and it was kinda glorious in a 'holy crap what did I just witness' kind of way.
Sam Bradford, QB: Speaking of Bradford, the guy took a lot of shots in the pocket, stood tall, and made a lot of throws. He finished 32/45 for 247 yards and a TD, and was let down by receivers and his offensive line more often than not. For all the self destruction the Vikings offense committed on Thursday, it wasn't Bradford that pushed the button.
Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks, LB's: I thought Kendricks and Barr played as good a game as they have all year. Gap discipline against Dallas was essential, and the ability to laterally pursue and string out a run was paramount. With just a couple exceptions, the Vikings defense, anchored by Barr and Kendricks, didn't let Dallas make a big play, and did a great job of containing Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott all night.
T.J Clemmings and Jeremiah Sirles, T: I can't recall NFL players shooting themselves in the foot so much since Plaxico Burress went to a nightclub. EVERY DAMN TIME the Vikings had some momentum, or an opportunity to get into the end zone, the offense committed a crippling penalty. Occasionally it wasn't Sirles or Clemmings that was flagged, but invariably it was. And we haven't even gotten to their game performance, which was as nuanced and entertaining as watching toddlers finger paint. As much as you want to like what they show you, it sucked. You know it sucks, no matter what direction you turn the paper it's going to continue to suck, and you swear to God and anyone else who will listen that if they shove another goddamn finger painting in front of you to fake praise, you're going to wad it up in front of them and set it on fire. And then you'll set yourself on fire.
And that would still be a better option than sitting in front of a TV and watching three hours of visual seppuku that is the Minnesota Vikings offensive line, 'led' by Jeremiah Sirles and T.J. Clemmings.
Special Teams, except Forbath: Adam Thielen had a brutal fumble that cost the Vikings dearly, Cordarrelle Patterson muffed a punt return, and Jeff Locke was silently protesting the release of Blair Walsh by all of a sudden kicking like shit all night long. It was an uncharacteristically bad performance overall, from just about everyone, especially Locke. His punts had more bad English on them than a Kevin Hart stand up routine..
Charles Johnson, WR: Johnson had yet another big drop, and anyone who wants to try and say he's a legitimate NFL wide receiver to me, please save your breath. I don't want to hear it, because he isn't. At this point, Johnson could catch the game winning TD in the Super Bowl in one hand while simultaneously catching a falling baby off the top deck of the stadium in the other while doing the Skol Chant with both hands, and I wouldn't want him back on this team next year.*
*Okay, if he did that I would totally want him back next year. It would be the David Tyree catch on steroids.
Buy: Adam Thielen the wide receiver. As a receiver, he gets better and better every week. He catches everything thrown his way, has incredible awareness and body control near the sidelines, and seems to come up with clutch catches right when the offense need them the most.
Sell: Adam Thielen, punt returner. But sweet baby Jesus can we not have him return punts anymore? He makes me more nervous than a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs, and he had a critical turnover deep in Vikings territory that the Cowboys immediately converted to a score.
Buy: The refs missed the penalty on the two point conversion. I said this at the opening--the refs blew that call. We all saw it, and it should have been a personal foul and a do over on the two point conversion. But it wasn't called, the Cowboys recovered the onside kick, and the Vikings lost. It sucked.
Sell: The Vikings lost the game because of that missed call. The Vikings had so many opportunities to win this game that blaming it on the officiating is a loser's lament. In the first quarter, the Vikings had a 1st and 10 at the Dallas 21. Holding call moves it back to the 31, kills the drive, and Vikings have to kick a field goal. Third quarter, Vikings on the Dallas 18, 3rd and 4. Sam Bradford throws a gorgeous pass to where only Kyle Rudolph can catch it...and Rudolph drops it. Vikings settle for a field goal. 4th quarter, Vikings force a turnover and they have a first and 10 on the Dallas 19. A false start and Laquon Treadwell mental error that cost them a first down, and the Vikings have to settle for a third field goal.
It was a shitty call, I get it. But man, this offense simply cannot overcome a negative down and distance situation, like 1st and 20, or a second and 15, they just can't. And it seems that almost every time they have something going, they do something colossally stupid, and they find themselves exactly in the down and distance disadvantage they can't afford.
Buy: Sam Bradford taking shots downfield. I said on Roughing The Podcast that if ever the Vikings were going to take some deep shots it was going to be this game, and we would know in the first drive or two if they were going to try and stretch the field. They did, throughout the game, and it was nice to see.
Sell: Taking those downfield shots with Charles Johnson and basically everyone but Stefon Diggs. Maybe Diggs was still hampered by injury, and if that was the case, it was understandable. But when you're taking your deep shots with Charles Johnson and Adam Thielen,who isn't going to beat anyone in a straight line go route, you're not going to have success. And there were a few times on Thursday where it seemed like Bradford had time in the pocket, yet checked down and didn't throw deep when he might have been able to.
Don Glover Quote of the Week:
There was a point in the second quarter where the Vikings were just kind of flubbing along on offense. And they had a third and long, like third and 10 or something ridiculous like that. So Bradford drops back, and sets up in what looks to be a solid pocket. He goes through his progressions...and uncorks it five yards behind the line of scrimmage to Matt Asiata, who immediately gets dropped for a loss. 4th and a mile, the Vikings have to kick, and my Dad and I just look at each other in disgust. My Dad shakes his head and says
'Well son, I guess it's time to play stupidball.'
Yeah Dad, it was time to play stupidball. All night long.
6-6, playoffs pretty much a pipe dream at this point, and no first round pick. I sure hope we don't lose to Jacksonville next Sunday or shit's gonna turn into The Purge in Vikings Land. See you next week.