December 18, 2017

Cincinnati Bengals blown out by the Minnesota Vikings, 34-7

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

The Minnesota Vikings, having finished a tough set of road games, returned home to Minneapolis to face the Bengals with the NFC North title on the line. The Vikings got some much-needed reinforcement along the offensive line, as right tackle Mike Remmers and centre Pat Elflein were able to return after missing time. Tight end Kyle Rudolph was also active, although he didn’t see much action during the game. The very first play was a sack of Case Keenum by Geno Atkins, but after that the Bengals didn’t show a lot of life.

Other than the win itself to clinch the NFC North, the high point of the game for me was when Teddy Bridgewater came in during the fourth quarter to finish out the game. I’m not lying: tears. Sadly, he didn’t do well (unsurprising after so long out of the line-up), throwing an interception on his first passing attempt (which the Bengals eventually turned into their only points of the day) and having the receiver drop his second pass that would have extended a drive — oh, and losing rushing yards on those kneel-downs to end the game. Vikings twitter reacted as you’d expect:


August 13, 2016

Vikings beat Bengals 17-16 in first preseason game

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 11:51

Football is finally back in town … well, preseason football is back, with its usual assortment of splashy plays and mistakes/miscues/pratfalls. Last night’s game in Cincinnati wasn’t broadcast in my area, so I had to depend on Twitter updates and the game summary at Vikings.com to keep up with the action.

The first quarter didn’t follow the script from the inter-team practices earlier in the week (where the Vikings clearly dominated the scrimmages) as the Bengals kept the Vikings off the field except for a brief and inglorious three-and-out featuring the very worst characteristics of last year’s offensive line. Three snaps and three pressures on Teddy Bridgewater, including a sack by Geno Atkins, and the Vikings were done for the remainder of the first quarter. The Bengals took advantage of the Vikings defense, moving the ball with relative ease but not quite being able to turn that into points. No score at the end of the first quarter with a huge disproportion in yards and time of possession for Cincinnati.

Late in the first half, the Vikings finally got the ball back and Teddy Bridgewater and the first team offence did a much more creditable job of moving the ball and recorded the first points of the night on a 49-yard pass to Charles Johnson (but the Bengals had been pulling their starters by this point). Bridgewater ended the night completing 6 of 7 passes for 92 yards and the TD.

The Vikings extended their scoring after the Bengals tied it up with a 51-yard field goal from Blair Walsh and a rushing TD from C.J. Ham.

Mike Nugent brought the score to 17-10 with a field goal for the home team, and some terrible tackling on a punt return allowed Alex Erickson to run 80 yards for the TD. The Bengals elected to try for two points to win (and avoid an overtime period on a hot, steamy preseason night), but the attempt failed to keep the score at 17-16.

Update: One nice thing from that otherwise forgettable first offensive series was Teddy Bridgewater keeping a play alive by stiff-arming Geno Atkins and completing the (short) pass:

January 16, 2014

Vikings officially announce the hiring of Mike Zimmer

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 08:46

It took a bit longer for the team to get an official announcement out, but they confirm that Mike Zimmer is the new head coach of the Minnesota Vikings:

Mike Zimmer was hired as the 9th Head Coach in Vikings history on January 15, 2014. A veteran defensive coordinator, Zimmer enters his 21st season on an NFL sideline, the past 14 working as defensive coordinator for Cincinnati (2008-13), Atlanta (2007) and Dallas (2000-06).

Zimmer has been a part of 11 playoff teams in his NFL tenure and teams that have won 7 Division titles. He coached the Cowboys DBs when the team won Super Bowl XXX over Pittsburgh after the 1995 season. Zimmer’s Bengals defenses since 2008 have ranked in the NFL’s top 10 in total defense 4 times, climbing to #3 in 2013. Since 2011, the Bengals ranked #2 in the NFL with 139 sacks (46.3 per season) and have allowed 18.8 points per game, ranking #4 in the NFL in points allowed. The 2013 Bengals posted 20 INTs, the 5th-best mark in the NFL.

Zimmer’s arrival in Cincinnati for the 2008 season signaled a franchise turnaround on the defensive side of the ball. The Bengals notched top-10 defensive rakings in 2009, ’11, ’12 and ’13 after only cracking the NFL’s top 10 once in the previous 18 seasons before Zimmer joined the team. During his tenure, Zimmer coached DT Geno Atkins as he became one of the top DTs in the NFL, earning consensus All-Pro honors in 2012 and Pro Bowl berths in 2011 and 2012. In 2013, LB Vontaze Burfict continued his rise from a rookie free agent in 2012 to a Pro Bowler in 2013. Atkins became the 1st Bengals defensive lineman since Tim Krumrie in 1988 to earn a Pro Bowl trip and Burfict was the 1st Bengals linebacker to be honored since Jim LeClair in 1976. Over the 2012 and 2013 seasons the Bengals had 4 different players earn AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors- Michael Johnson, Carlos Dunlap, Atkins and Burfict.

Zimmer led top-10 defenses for Dallas in both a 4-3 and 3-4 scheme. The 2003 Cowboys defense led the NFL with only 253.3 yards per game allowed. During Zimmer’s tenure in Dallas as DBs coach (1994-99) and Defensive Coordinator (2000-06) the team ranked in the top 5 of NFL scoring defense a total of 6 times. The 1995 Cowboys hoisted the Lombardi Trophy in Super Bowl XXX with a win over Pittsburgh and one of Zimmer’s pupils, CB Larry Brown, won the Super Bowl MVP award with a pair of INTs in the game.

Update: Judd Zulgad highlights a key difference between former coach Leslie Frazier and new coach Mike Zimmer:

January 12, 2014

Vikings schedule second interviews with two head coach candidates

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 10:53

The Minnesota Vikings have moved on to setting up second interviews for at least two of the head coaching candidates they’ve talked to:

Numerous sources are reporting that both Todd Bowles, defensive coordinator of the Arizona Cardinals, and Mike Zimmer, defensive coordinator of the Cincinnati Bengals, will be getting second interviews with the team this week. Zimmer’s interview is reportedly going to be “early next week,” according to our friends from Cincy Jungle, while no date … firm or otherwise … has been floated for Bowles’ potential second interview.

The third finalist is presumed to be San Francisco 49ers’ offensive coordinator Greg Roman. Rick Spielman and company were in Charlotte today to interview him, the last day they could do so. If the Niners defeat the Carolina Panthers and advance in the post-season, the Vikings wouldn’t be able to interview him again until the week before the Super Bowl. If the Niners lose, one would assume that Roman’s second interview would be sometime next week.

Arif Hasan has a compendium of information on all the known head coach candidates the Vikings have interviewed. This is from the section on Todd Bowles:

Currently the defensive coordinator for one of the league’s top defenses, Todd Bowles is quickly gaining buzz among fans and within coaching circles as a potential head coach and like few candidates was actually a fairly fine player in the NFL. The Cardinals are doing well with Bowles for now, but it’s unlikely that they’ll be able to keep him for long.


Bowles is not particularly married to a specific type of front, whether 3-4 or 4-3 and has operated in multiple types of defenses with different gap concepts, from one-gap, to hybrids, to pure two-gap defenses. He’s shown a slight preference for tight man coverage, though focuses less on using the coverage to disrupt timing and more on finding ways to prevent outlet passes from appearing for opposing offenses.

This is in part due to the small amount of data that people have about the types of schemes he prefers—he hasn’t been a DC recently for very long.

From what seems evident, Bowles strives to create situations favorable to the player instead of maintaining scheme integrity, but doesn’t fully embrace the “adapt the scheme to the talent” mantra that has been so popular for fans and sportswriters (notably, neither did the other top DVOA defenses this year: Seattle, Carolina, Buffalo and Cincinnati), in that he prefers schematic soundness to maximizing success for every individual player.

There’s little doubt, however, that Bowles prefers to be aggressive more than anything else and seems to employ more one-gap principles than two-gap principles in his defenses.

This is from the section on Mike Zimmer:

Mike Zimmer has recently become a hot name in coaching searches, and it’s easy to see why: even with a defense missing its two best players (Geno Atkins and Leon Hall), Cincinnati had a top five defense and entered the playoffs despite spotty quarterback play.


Zimmer’s teams have been marked by an ability to recognize talent no matter the source and putting them in positions to perform, from first-round draft picks like Leon Hall, to undrafted free agents like Vontaze Burfict — both of whom are at the top of their position. Players like Vincent Rey (UDFA), Geno Atkins (4th-round pick) and others from nearly every round have made key contributions for Zimmer over the years.

The belief that Zimmer is an excellent defensive coordinator is very true, although I think overstated (I would put more stock in Wade Phillips or Rob Ryan, for example). Zimmer is considered a 4-3 specialist, but that probably pigeonholes him.

This year, he’s used more players in the same base formation to do different things. It would be correct to call Zimmer vanilla in his personnel deployments (the Bengals barely, if at all, used personnel outside of 4-3-4 or 4-2-5) but incorrect to say he doesn’t use situational players, rotate or find creative uses of his personnel. Interestingly, he was forced to run a 3-4 with the Cowboys, and that likely influenced how exactly he runs his defense.

December 23, 2013

Bengals slice, dice, and gut woeful Vikings in Cincinnati

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 09:23

After all the nice things I quoted about Matt Cassel yesterday morning, it was probably inevitable that he’d have a bad game in Cincinnati against the Bengals. What wasn’t inevitable was that everyone on the team not named “Cordarrelle Patterson” would also have a bad game at the same time. Ted Glover at the Daily Norseman sums up the pluses and minuses for his weekly Stock Market Report:

Blue Chip Stocks:

Cordarrelle Patterson, Jack Of All Trades: At some point during the game, maybe early in the third quarter, the only reason I kept watching this game was because even in a blowout, Patterson got my attention. Now, let’s not kid ourselves, I had no illusions about him making one ridiculous play after another to give the Vikings a miraculous victory, but he is, right now, the only decent threat the Vikings have on offense, and every time he touches the ball, he could go the distance. With Adrian Peterson hurt, the Vikings QB situation a Shakespearean tragedy, and the defense easier to score on than a horny hooker, Patterson is literally the only reason I will tune in and watch the Vikings season finale next week. At least, finally, the Vikings are trying to feed him the ball. It only took three months.

Solid Investments:

I got nothin’: Rhett Ellison had a couple nice catches, I suppose. Jarius Wright made a nice play on his 36 yard TD catch. So maybe those guys, I guess. I’m open to suggestions.

Junk Bonds:

Pretty much everyone not named Cordarrelle Patterson: This was a whole lot of bad, and as poor an overall game effort since the Seattle debacle. Matt Cassel was inept, as was the Vikings running game other than Patterson on the edge, as was the Vikings offensive line. On defense, the Vikings pass rush stayed in Minneapolis, the linebackers were awful, but the secondary was even worse. Seriously, there was not one unit, other than the Vikings kickoff return, that had a game that remotely close to bad. Seriously, just to get to bad they needed to take an escalator, then an elevator, then get shot out of a cannon into the arms of a Sherpa guide that could’ve lead the way on the final assault to the bad summit.

Jim Souhan avoids blatantly walking back his pro-Cassel comments of yesterday by concentrating on the woeful, can’t-stop-anyone defence:

At halftime of the Vikings’ loss to the Bengals on Sunday, monkeys riding dogs herded goats into a pen.

If the Vikings secondary had been asked to do the herding, those goats would have busted out of Paul Brown Stadium, stolen a case of whiskey and commandeered a paddle boat down the Ohio River.

A 42-14 loss filled with mistakes, turnovers, blown coverage and general aimlessness may have ended even idle conversations about Leslie Frazier and Matt Cassel, as two months of competitiveness segued into an afternoon of pratfalls.

In a week, the Vikings likely will be looking for a new coach and a franchise quarterback. To get this team back to the playoffs, the brain trust will also need to add a few quality defenders, but only at the positions of defensive line, linebacker, cornerback, safety and coordinator.

The Vikings offense may be one player away.

The Vikings defense needs a squadron — a gaggle, a pride? — plus herding lessons.

The team has allowed an NFL-worst 467 points this year. If the Detroit Lions score 18 points next Sunday at Mall of America Field, the Vikings will break the franchise record for most points allowed — 484 in 1984.

Too often, Vikings defensive backs look like mimes. They make familiar motions but didn’t seem interested in objects.

I don’t know if the game broadcast was available in the Toronto area, as our power went off about an hour before kick-off and wasn’t restored until about half an hour after the game was over. I followed the updates on Twitter, but by the end of the first quarter, I decided I was better off sitting and reading a book rather than watching the disaster unfold in Ohio.

September 10, 2011

NFL quote of the day

Filed under: Football, Humour — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 10:55

At the Daily Norseman, Eric J. Thompson puts the awful situation for both Ohio NFL teams in perfect perspective:

BROWNS over Bengals: Can we just have Ohio State replace one of these two teams already? Or would the Buckeyes’ salary put them over the cap?

I’m not a great prognosticator (I’m already 0-1 on the season — the Saints let me down against the hated Packers), so you can take these picks for exactly what they’re worth (i.e., very little):

  • Atlanta – @Chicago Sun 1:00pm
  • @Cleveland – Cincinnati Sun 1:00pm
  • @Kansas City – Buffalo Sun 1:00pm
  • Philadelphia – @St. Louis Sun 1:00pm
  • @Tampa Bay – Detroit Sun 1:00pm
  • @Jacksonville – Tennessee Sun 1:00pm
  • @Baltimore – Pittsburgh Sun 1:00pm
  • @Houston – Indianapolis Sun 1:00pm
  • @Arizona – Carolina Sun 4:15pm
  • @San Diego – Minnesota Sun 4:15pm
  • @San Francisco – Seattle Sun 4:15pm
  • New York (NYG) – @Washington Sun 4:15pm
  • @New York (NYJ) – Dallas Sun 8:20pm
  • New England – @Miami Mon 7:00pm
  • @Denver – Oakland – Mon 10:15pm

Favourites listed first, home team marked with “@”.

Powered by WordPress