NFL Week 4 Recap: Flick of the Switch

Cousins, Vikings' offense stalls against Browns' pass rush |

Going into the game, I figured it'd be a decently high scoring game, 28-21, something like that. And when the Vikings stormed down the field and scored on a long well-called, well-executed drive, that was exactly the game I thought we were going to get.

Boy, how first impressions can be deceiving. That was the lone bright spot of the day, as the Browns would adjust, and the Vikings did not and ti showed throughout the day. The Kirk Cousins of the last 3 weeks disappeared and was replaced by the good ol boy that he normally is, and it's not hard to understand why. The O-Line got mollywomped all day, and it was perhaps the worst game, that I've seen, of O'Neill. He got rounded repeatedly and they were able to get pressure up the middle with ease.

The play-calling, as I feared, got worse and more conservative. They kept calling for screens passes, and none of them worked. Dalvin Cook played injured, and that showed as he wasn't explosive at all, aside from 1 play that knocked him out of the game until the final few drives. Mattison came back down to earth, as did Conklin. Justin Jefferson looked good, KJ Osborn looked good, Thielen came out flat. The feeling that I got from the Seahawks game (a sense that we were going to win no matter what), was replaced by the feeling that we could not win, no matter what.

Case in point, in my mind at least, was the final 3 plays we had. We had 12 second left. That's enough for at least two plays, maybe 3 depending on how the ball if thrown, and one the first play, Kirk floated a ball over the receivers head, costing us 5 seconds. On the next play, Kirk threw it to Conklin for a 5 yard checkdown. Let me repeat: With the game on the line, and us needing to get a TD, Kirk threw a 5-yard checkdown. And why'd he do that? Well, he claims that he was getting pressured and that he didn't want to throw an INT.


That's the pocket about half a second before he throws it to Conklin, who's just beginning to cross the LOS. As you can see, he's not getting pressured when he goes to throw. He has a few feet in front of him to move up, so he should be able to do that to evade the guy coming around the edge, who's a good few feet from him, with Hill pushing him. Kirk had time, but decided to checkdown instead of taking a shot at the end zone. I'm completely against check-downing in this situation, as it does nothing then take away space that the defense has to cover, and when we're in dire need of a touchdown, we need him to take a shot. But, he was worried that it might get intercepted. With the game on the line and we need a TD to have a chance to tie it, he doesn't want to take multiple shots, because he's worried about getting picked off. In the post game conference, both Cousins and Zimmer said that they would have a shot. One shot. They were in a position to have potentially 3, but they were focused on having just the 1, and to me, that's an issue.

Now, there was a bit of controversy at the end when Thielen gets body blocked away from the ball, and people have been saying that should be called, and I disagree. Thielen wasn't close to the ball, and there were 3 Brown defenders in between him and the ball. That's why you take multiple shots, because they might not call that the first time, but the second or third, they might. When you put all your eggs in one basket, you need perfection for it to work. If they had tried another throw, could they have got a touchdown or a PI call? Maybe, maybe not, but it's the idea of 'we don't want to take that risk' is what I'm tired of. There are time to be conservative, and time to take risks. We were taking risks when we should be conservative, and being to conservative when we should take risks.

It was an outcome I expected, but I at least thought that we'd look good. Instead, we looked like dogwater. Players that did not look like that are Blake Lynch, who made a few plays in the limited reps he got. Cam Dantzler finally got some expanded reps, and it looked like he deserved to be the CB3. KJ Osborn is our WR3, and Jefferson showed he was our WR1. Everson Griffen and Danielle Hunter look good out there as well.


Week 4 Predictions:

Here were my predictions for the 4th Week of the NFL Regular Season. I only picked one game to switch from what I had, and it was:

Ravens vs Broncos

Now, if Teddy hadn't gotten knocked out of the game towards the end of the 1st half, the Broncos might've been able to come back, but the Ravens ended up killing them and coming away with a victory.

  • Revised Prediction: 0-1
Notable Games:


Bears vs Lions

Our two division rivals duked it out on Sunday, and for a decent amount of time, the Bears looked good, while the Lions looked horrible. However, the Lions started to claw back in the 2nd half, and I think this is an important note to make. The Lions will play us tough. We'll probably win next week, but the Lions will make it harder on us than they have in the past. I expect a game where the Vikings gets up 17-0, and win 23-20.

Jets vs Titans

The first true upset of the year, the Jets defeated the Titans in OT, and it's rather surprising. As I've said before, I think the Titans are a similar team to us, and I think Vrabel is a better coach. Yet, this is a trend that's been the case for the weaker teams, they've played good teams tough. And I think there is a chance the Lions will get an upset win against us on Sunday.

Chargers vs Raiders

The Chargers are the team to beat in the AFC West, as they've beat KC and Gruden's Raiders. Coming into the season, I felt that the Chargers were going to be the winners of that division, with KC in as the 5th seed, and I think they've met my expectations so far.


Week 5 Predictions: