Quotulatiousness

December 4, 2017

Vikings defeat Atlanta 14-9 to boost winning streak to eight games

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 03:00

On Sunday afternoon, the Minnesota Vikings visited Mercedes-Benz stadium in Atlanta to play the Falcons. Many commentators were expecting a high-scoring game, but both teams’ defences played at a very high level, keeping the score low and the tension high. Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes may still be a bit hobbled by a leg injury he’s been nursing, but he still did a great job of taking away the other team’s top receiver — in this case the excellent Julio Jones. Jones ended up catching two passes of the six Matt Ryan threw in his direction for only 24 yards. Case Keenum had a down first half, but a much better second half to finish with 25 completions on 30 attempts for 227 yards and two touchdowns, one to Jerick McKinnon and the other to Kyle Rudolph. Keenum is now 8-2 as a starter since taking over for Sam Bradford in week 2.

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February 7, 2017

I pity the Atlanta fans, but they’re reliving the Vikings fans’ emotions from the 1998 NFC Championship

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 05:00

For the record, I disagree with this take from the Minneapolis Star Tribune: I hated Atlanta for about two seasons (at most) after the demoralizing 1998 NFC Championship game outcome. (However, I still hate the “Saints”…)

The Atlanta Falcons, leading by a touchdown (and two-point conversion) 28-20 in Sunday’s Super Bowl, reached the New England 22-yard-line with less than 5 minutes to play after a remarkable catch by Julio Jones along the sidelines. At that point, all Atlanta *probably had to do, at the very worst, was run a few plays that didn’t lose yardage, attempt a reasonable field goal using a pretty much automatic kicker, and watch the time melt away while New England pushed uphill in desperation against a two-score deficit. If that set-up sounds familiar, dear Vikings fans, it should. Eighteen years ago in the NFC title game, the Vikings led these very same Falcons by almost exactly the same score (27-20) and pushed into Atlanta territory in the closing minutes *probably needing just a field goal from a very accurate kicker to salt the game away. (*Probably in both cases because you never know, but still). And, of course, we know what happened in next in both cases. Last night, Atlanta ran a series of plays that pushed the ball backwards — a sack and a penalty being the most damaging — and got driven out of field goal range. Instead of a Matt Bryant try — he missed just three field goals all year, and only one from inside 50 yards — the Falcons punted. New England predictably took that gift, marched down the field and tied the game. The Patriots then won in overtime. In the NFC title game following the 1998 season, Gary Anderson — who hadn’t missed a field goal all season, a fact that is seared into our brains and adds to the pain — missed his try wide left. Atlanta used that gift to march down the field and predictably tie the game. The Falcons then won in overtime. Vikings fans who secretly (or openly) have been wishing for some sort of revenge for that moment 18 years ago found it Sunday, albeit courtesy of a Patriots team that plenty of fans love to hate.

The Daily Norseman‘s Ted Glover offers words of comfort to ailing Falcons fans:

Not a lot of fanbases could mentally process what happened to the Falcons and come out sane on the other end. Vikings fans have been doing it since the 1960’s. And we’re here to help

Dear Falcons Fans,

Hi. I’m kind of at a loss for words for you guys, but I want you guys to know that you’re not alone. As Vikings fans, we’ve been there. Yes, every year one team loses the Super Bowl, and it sucks, but rarely is a loss this brutal, a collapse this complete; a disbelief this consuming that leaves you in a stupor. And right now it’s a feeling you don’t think you’ll ever get over. You’ve probably even considered cheering for another team after last night.

that’s just reactionary and stupid. You’re a Falcons fan, and you don’t change fandom because of one game. Even if that game was last night.

They say time heals all wounds. ‘They’ are wrong. Some things you will not ever get over, and this will be one of those things. And that’s okay. But time does put distance between what happened yesterday, and as the years pass, time also adds perspective, and will give you an appreciation of what was one hell of a 2016 season.

Even though there’s no way you believe that right now. I understand. I am a fan of the Minnesota Vikings, and processing sports grief is what we do. If I may have just a couple minutes of your time, I think we can help.

Right now you’re feeling a mix of grief, anger, and disbelief, and it’s all justifiable. Virtually no one blows a 25 point lead late in the third quarter, and never on football’s biggest stage. Seriously, how rare was this feat?

That’s just brutal. And in the Super Bowl. Reading that, you’re pissed off all over again, and you think back to one or two plays that, if they go the other way, you win the Super Bowl. After Julio Jones’ eleventy third ridiculous catch, all you had to do was run the ball three times, kick a FG, and it’s over.

But that didn’t happen. And the Falcons lost. And it might have been the worst loss in NFL history, certainly in Falcons history. I’m going to be brutally honest with you, and you might not want to hear this, but this game will gnaw at you for the rest of your life, and you’ll never truly get over it. Most games, yeah, eventually you move on and shrug your shoulders over.

But there are moments that you will never, ever truly put aside, and it doesn’t matter how many championships or big games your team eventually wins.

January 24, 2017

“After a drab regular season and shoddy postseason, the NFL owes us a dramatic Super Bowl”

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 03:00

Jim Souhan on the survivors of the AFC and NFC title games last weekend:

The New England Patriots will play in the pre-Minneapolis Super Bowl. Tom Brady will try to become the first quarterback and Bill Belichick the first coach to win five Big Bowls.

The historic implication: With a victory over the Atlanta Falcons in two weeks in Houston, the Patriots can prove themselves one of the most dominant franchises in NFL history, if not all of sports.

They will face a franchise, Atlanta, which lost its only Super Bowl appearance, after upsetting the Vikings in 1998. The Patriots will be expected to win, perhaps will be expected to dominate, and yet the most interesting aspect of episodic dynasty is that they rarely dominate in the games that have made their reputation.

In six Super Bowls featuring Brady and Belichick, the Patriots never have won or lost by more than four points. Their composite score in those six games: 135-129.

In Atlanta, they will face an offense that has surrounded star receiver Julio Jones with worthy skill-position threats, which enabled quarterback Matt Ryan to have his best season, one in which he probably will be named the league MVP.

Belichick is known for taking away an opponents’ best weapon, but the Falcons’ dominance and health, combined with the Patriots’ Super Bowl history, hints that Super Bowl LI will be dramatic.

December 7, 2016

NFL time is weird

Filed under: Football, Humour — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 03:00

Dave Rappoccio on the least likely event that just apparently happened in the NFL:

What I think is funny is an irony that I don’t think anyone else has picked up on yet. Andy Reid, a coach with quite possibly the worst reputation for time management on final drives, now effectively, in a way, holds the record for fastest game winning comeback drive in an NFL game.

It is. It’s the fastest. The only way a comeback can be faster is if the exact same thing happens but the guy runs to the endzone slightly faster. There is no way to score a faster comeback. Extra Points or conversion attempts do not take time off the clock. Effectively, the Falcons, despite scoring the go-ahead touchdown…were never actually ahead. When the clock started again, the Chiefs had the lead. The Falcons lead was maybe a minute of real time, but in game time sits in a weird vacuum between dimensions, never to be found. This is the fastest game winning drive in NFL history, and the man who owns it couldn’t call a timeout properly if his lunch date depended on it. Andy Reid, a man who is so baffled by clocks he’s still trying to understand how daylight savings works, owns this record. This might low-key be the most amazing thing that happens all year. Sometimes football can deliver in ways you’d never expect.

November 30, 2015

Vikings beat Atlanta 20-10 to move to 8-3 on the season and first place in the NFC North

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 04:00

Adrian Peterson was the engine that kept Minnesota in this game (29 carries for 158 yards and two touchdowns) … with more than a bit of help from a stout defence that didn’t give up a touchdown until the final two minutes. Atlanta committed enough mistakes to cripple their own scoring chances, including a Terence Newman interception in the Vikings end zone.

Minnesota’s defensive secondary was missing star safety Harrison Smith who injured his knee in a collision with Newman in last week’s loss to Green Bay and rookie first round cornerback Trae Waynes. Despite that, Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan didn’t seem to test the deep secondary much during the majority of the game. Even more puzzling was that pattern continued after Andrew Sendejo, the Vikings’ other starting safety, left the game with an injury to be replaced by Robert Blanton (Antone Exum, Jr. got the start in Smith’s place). On the other hand, linebacker Anthony Barr was everywhere, notching tackles, a strip-sack, a forced fumble that prevented a touchdown, and a dramatic pass break-up. I imagine his Pro Football Focus rating this week will be pretty gaudy.

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September 29, 2014

Vikings beat Falcons 41-28 in Teddy Bridgewater’s first start

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 08:12

The Minnesota Vikings have had a carousel at quarterback for the last few years: at the most important position on the field, the team has been unable to find consistency. This year has already seen three quarterbacks playing all or part of a game, but yesterday’s first career start for rookie Teddy Bridgewater gave Vikings fans a glimpse of something potentially great. On Twitter, Rick Gosselin noted that Bridgewater is only the fourth quarterback to record 300 passing yards and win his first NFL start since 1980.

Despite the margin of win, yesterday’s game was much closer than it needed to be because the Vikings defence was unable to get off the field on third down far too often, and communication breakdowns in the defensive secondary led to big plays for Atlanta. After a good series to start the game, the Vikings seemed to lose focus and Atlanta’s receivers were open too easily — fortunately for the Vikings, several passes were dropped or the score might well have been reversed.

Dan Zinski posted his immediate reaction to the game at The Viking Age:

Nothing good can come the Vikings’ way without some kind of negative note sneaking in there. The Vikings beat up the Falcons on the scoreboard 41-28 Sunday, but there were plenty of negative notes.

The biggest, ugliest negative was the injury to Teddy Bridgewater. The rookie QB was having a very strong day when he hurt his ankle on a run and was forced to leave the field on a cart.

The good news is that x-rays came back negative and Bridgewater is reported to only be suffering from a sprain. Still, the sight of Christian Ponder finishing out the game at QB did not exactly do a lot to inspire happiness in fans.

Thankfully the Vikings were well in control of the game by the time Ponder was forced to come in. Things didn’t look so rosy earlier when the Falcons were tearing up the Vikings’ defense and scoring seemingly at will.

Huge defensive breakdowns plagued the Vikings throughout the first half and third quarter. Captain Munnerlyn and Robert Blanton were primary offenders as the Falcons rolled up 28 points on Mike Zimmer’s D.

Bridgewater’s favourite target in the passing game was Jarius Wright (who had his first 100-yard receiving game), while running back Jerick McKinnon (first 100-yard rushing game) did most of the damage on the ground: the three are familiar with one another from the time they spent working together on the second team. In general, the Vikings got very good results from their reserves in this game: not that the injured starters weren’t missed, but the team showed it still has good depth.

At the Daily Norseman, Christopher Gates heaves a sigh of relief:

As fans of the Minnesota Vikings, the last two or three weeks … well, it’s been pretty rough in the land of the purple and gold. Between having to keep up with the injury list and having to, seemingly, keep one eye on the police blotter, it has been a pretty big downer.

And I don’t know about you all, but starting at about 3:30 Central time on Sunday afternoon … I forgot all about all of that. Every damn bit of it. I forgot about Adrian Peterson’s ongoing situation. I forgot all about Kyle Rudolph and Brandon Fusco and Matt Cassel being injured. I forgot about the fact that, in their previous seven quarters of football, this team had scored all of nine points.

The reason I forgot all about those things is because, early on in Minnesota’s game against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday afternoon, I had the calming realization that this team is going to be just fine.

This team put together one of the most impressive offensive performances that we’ve seen around these parts in a while, and it was put together, largely, by guys who are barely old enough to have a drink after the game. We finally got to see some repetitions for running back Jerick McKinnon, and he responded by racking up 153 total yards on 18 touches, including a 55-yard run that was incredible to watch.

November 28, 2011

Vikings fall short (again) against the Atlanta Falcons

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , , , , — Nicholas @ 08:27

Yesterday’s game had some great work by Percy Harvin, fewer rookie mistakes from Christian Ponder, and random guys pulled in off the street playing in the Vikings’ secondary. Okay, that last part isn’t quite true, but when you’re playing your fourth-best corner against the opponent’s number one receiver (at least, until he leaves the game with a shoulder injury), and your third-best safety (until he leaves the game with a hamstring pull), it’s going to be a long, long day for the defence.

In traditional Viking style, Harvin entered the record books, but not in a good way: his 104-yard kick return is almost certainly the longest in NFL history that didn’t conclude with a touchdown.

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