September 20, 2010

Vikings put themselves deeper in the hole

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 09:35

I didn’t see yesterday’s game . . . and it sounds as if I missed a really disappointing viewing opportunity:

Sunday’s loss came down to missed opportunities for the Vikings, who wasted Adrian Peterson’s first regular-season 100-yard rushing performance since last Nov. 15 against Detroit.

The stats indicate this was a one-sided game — in the Vikings’ favor.

They ran 72 offensive plays to 46 for the Dolphins. They had 364 total yards to 226 for Miami and controlled the ball for 35 minutes, 48 seconds.

But when faced with crucial situations, the Vikings failed. They converted five of 14 third-down opportunities and were unsuccessful on three of four fourth-down attempts. The Vikings brought the ball into the red zone five times but came away with only one touchdown.

Favre threw three interceptions — one more than all of last season at home — and committed a crucial fumble in the third quarter, recovered by Miami linebacker Koa Misi in the end zone for a touchdown and a 14-0 Dolphins lead.

Tom Powers wonders how long it’ll be before the team (or the fans) reach for that panic button:

The magic is gone. Or at least it has been misplaced.

Brett Favre and the Vikings’ offense had labored all game Sunday at the Metrodome. But with 1:42 left, they took the field, trailing by four points, 55 yards from victory. Favre has made a career out of situations such as these. And not one soul from among the sellout crowd for the season’s first home game had dared move toward the exit. This was Favre time.

On the sideline, coach Brad Childress felt confident. Despite watching Favre occasionally misfire against the Dolphins and watching a sub-par receiving corps struggle to make plays, he was convinced something good was about to happen. He could sense it.

“You do,” he agreed afterward. “And we had a timeout left.”

Not this time. What in the past would have been a final, glorious Vikings touchdown drive fizzled. The last play was a raggedy-looking short pass toward Visanthe Shiancoe over the middle. Then the Vikings walked off the field, heads down, staring at an oh and two record after their 14-10 loss to the Miami Dolphins.

Somewhere in Vikings Land there is a big red button just waiting to be pushed. Then sirens will wail and buzzers will bellow. Then it officially will be time to panic. Can that button be pushed after just two games?

So, Brett Favre has now had his post-pre-season workout . . . will he be back in synch with his receivers next week? It took three regular season games last year, against weaker opponents than the first two this year. The defence is in late-season form: they’ve been doing more than their share of the fighting, it’s the other guys in the passing attack who haven’t been picking up the slack.

Bernard Berrian is making a case for him not being with the team next year: this was his big opportunity to prove that he’s a number one receiver, but he’s not making the case (Powers is even harsher, “Bernard Berrian is about as useful as a hood ornament”). Visanthe Shiancoe once again was the leading receiver, and Adrian Peterson had his best running performance in more than a year . . . but the wide receivers didn’t show up on the stat sheet.

It’s not impossible for the Vikings to right the ship and sail on to a division title . . . it’s just the next thing to impossible at 0-2 with the Packers doing everything right.

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