Can't Knock the Cassel
Oh man … There was a moment in the game with about two minutes left where I was certain we were going to hit that 0-4 mark. I thought FOR SURE we were going to let another team drive it down our throats with little time left on the clock for us to respond, and we were going to hit that 0-4 mark. We were going to be well on our way to that top draft pick, the #Tank4Teddy dream was still alive, and it was going to be an epic meltdown throughout the entire bye week.
But then Ben Roethlisberger get all droppy.
With a strip sack with second left on 3rd and goal, DE Everson Griffen finally decided to show up this season and secure 34-27 a win for the team. It was exhilarating and exciting and confusing and disappointing in so many different ways, I don't even know how to respond. Those are always the types of games the Vikings lose, and so they won one, which was cool, except that no one really thinks Matt Cassel's appearance is the future of the team, so dammit, we really could use a loss against a team that sucks, to secure that top selection in 2014. Man, it's just always so hard to be a Vikings fan, you know?
Mushroom Stamp of Approval
So who gets the credit? Well, we're highlighting Matt Cassel's Wife here, who stepped in in Ponder's injury absence and showed flashes of making the offense click like it hasn't all season with Ponder at the helm. But realistically, the defense played better too, albeit marginally. The defensive line looked better, especially Jared Allen, who had one of his "17 sacks in one game" games that help inflate his stats every year. But Shariff Floyd looked good too, as did Erin Henderson. Even Andrew Sendejo played well thanks to Jamarca Sanford's injury. But those guys end up being pieces in a cog of a unit that has blown choad all year long, and almost blew it again, at which point we wouldn't even be talking about Cassel's great performance. So … Point being, nice job Matt on being better than the worst quarterback in the NFL, but the rest of you guys on defense are still on watch, deal?
UH OH!! QB CONTROVERSY??!
Realistically, no, there shouldn't be. Ponder is awful, and if we want to lose for draft picks, we start him. If Leslie Frazier wants to try and keep his job, than he will smile kindly at Ponder on the bench and ride this Cassel ship the rest of the season. AND, when you have your star running back Adrian Peterson respond to the question "Who should be the starting quarterback during your next game?" with "What do you think?", I'd say your days as Vikings QB are probably numbered. And that's probably for the best. If Frazier keeps starting Ponder, he'll end up losing the locker room, and likely his job, and I doubt he wants to do any of that. The only question remains, are more people going to understand that if we shift from Ponder to Cassel, we don't really lose anything in the Starting-Quarterback-Wife category? Good looking out, Matt Cassel.
The IT List
Since we finally won a game, we get to highlight our select few people who are on the IT List this week, or, our list of people we don't want to immediately kick out of the airplane doors on the flight home. This is such a weird feeling, because usually I'm writing this as a "Shit List" of people who piss me off, so this is clearly a new venture for me. Bear with me then:
Jerome Felton: That drug addict returned to the team and helped make some ridiculous blocks for Purple Jesus. On Peterson's second run, the hole the offensive line and Felton opened up was as big as the holes in our own defense. It was amazing. Welcome back, you no-name fullback!
Greg Jennings: So you're telling me if you have a QB on your team who is halfway competent, star receivers can actually do some successful things? No way! I would imagine Ponder can't use the "Not enough weapons" excuse anymore, too.
Chad Greenway: I'm still a bit frustrated with him this year on his coverages, but credit where it's due. Greenway had 10 tackles, one sack, a pass defended, and an interception that was throw like an arrow through his stomach. I can't be mad at that.
Marcus Sherels: That little go-getter! I don't even know if he did anything (Box score says punt return), but there was one moment where I say him and Josh Robinson as the starting cornerbacks out there and I wept inside at the lack of talent in our backfield. But I still like Sherels.
Nipples and Notes
Lots of other cool London events happened in this week's unfortunate win, so let's break it down:
– Jared Allen had a nice game, and there was a stunt him and Greenway ran that led to a sack (or a hurry, I don't remember) and it was one of the moments I've ever actually paid attention to the war in the trenches and was like, "Ah, yes, of course, that is why you would run that play like that" and for a second, I felt like a genius.
– But I am pretty sick of Jared Allen not getting sacks on sacks on sacks, even against teams that are mediocre. He's supposed to be an All Pro DE, right? Stop getting beat by lazy and fat left tackles from the Bears or Lions, even if you are double teamed. My expectations for you are much higher and unrealistic, OK?
– Did Andrew Sendejo actually play pretty well? I feel like he did, and I don't know how to feel about that. Is Sanford's job in jeopardy?
– I did not see Desmond Bishop on the field, or AJ Jefferson. Did either play? Is that why we won?
– Can't over look Blair Walsh's missed field goal towards the end. That made a pretty big difference, obviously, and it was so out of character. We can blame it on the Jeff Locke hold, right? That's the only reasonable explanation.
– Josh Robinson led the team in tackles for Sunday's game. I promise you it was not because he was the best played on the field, but rather, because the Steelers were like "OH YEAH, THROW AT THAT DUDE, PLEASE" and for the most part, it worked out for them. He probably should go the Marcus McCauley route this offseason.
– I love Xavier Rhodes breaks on balls in the air. The first time he did it, it was an amazing pass deflection. The second time, he got burned on the final drive and it hurt us. But he'll learn. I'd much rather he be aggressive and AWESOME rather than passive and Chris Cook, you know?
Fist Pump for Haiku
After three losses,
Only one solution left …
Form Vikings Voltron!
Well, we won our first one. At this point we should probably just try to win the rest of them like a normal football team, right? I mean, maybe we just played the three best teams in the NFL already for our losses, and we're set now to run the table? I mean, the Browns won again on Sunday, so, think about that.
Up next, my favorite week of the season … BYE WEEK! So much nonsense. Stay tuned. And enjoy the win, I guess.