Vikings need to learn a lesson from this win
Vikings need to learn a lesson from this win - NFL News - FOX Sports on MSN
I hate to be picking on a team that is 6-0 right now, but what we have seen from the Vikings this season is that if Jared Allen and his friends up front don't get to the quarterback early and often, their pass defense is going to get lit up.
We have seen the lowly Lions, the Packers and now the Ravens, with second-year quarterback Joe Flacco, hurt them big time in the passing game. I mean they very easily could have lost to the Ravens. Steve Hauschka, or whatever his name is, missed a field goal he should have made.
Conversely, Brett Favre is living the good life. Never in his career has he been 6-0. I mean his legend grows, the superlatives grow. I just hope he answers the questions after the game and gets the heck out of there. No need to dwell on this one.
You can learn from your wins. And, here's the deal, the Vikings better learn from this one. A young quarterback put up three touchdowns on them in the fourth quarter. Now, the Vikings have to say to themselves that they can never back off from their offensive game. They played conservatively there in the second half, trying to milk a win at home.
I have to think that Brad Childress said, "Let's not put the ball in the air and run the football. When you throw, bad things can happen like interceptions and returns for touchdowns."
But how did the Vikings get their lead on Baltimore? By throwing the football.
They have to put games like this away. Put it away, put it away and go for it. They didn't do that and it almost cost them. I mean, when teams do that, a lot of times they end up losing.
I've been there as a quarterback. It's easy to say, "Let's kill the clock and get a win. We got it." And invariably the other team lights it up and now you're scrambling like Brett was in that fourth quarter.
I am impressed right now with Favre; he's just playing great. He's got all his receivers involved and you can tell they are busting to get open. I know how great Adrian Peterson is as a runner, but it's always easier to create your passing offense than your running offense because you have a lot more players helping you.
Peterson, if you have eight defenders up, it's hard for him to run. But it's much easier to throw against that same defense.
What it looks like they are doing in Minnesota with their wide receivers is they are saying, "I have to catch this ball." Visanthe Shiancoe's first touchdown was a turnaround, twisting catch. I know how receivers think. They are telling themselves, "I got to catch this one to keep his confidence up in me. The alternative is that Brett is going to throw to someone else next time." And this is all benefiting Brett. I mean, his receivers are making some great catches.
For the most part, Brett is gunning it in there and making all the throws. His 58-yarder to Sidney Rice was right on the money and that put the Vikings in winning field-goal range.
Still, this was a very impressive win because I loved Baltimore at the beginning of the season. The Ravens have lost three in a row now, but they are still a quality team. But a great defense doesn't give up 30 points. I guess neither one of these defenses is great anymore. Too many flaws in both of them. Primarily, Baltimore's defense is getting older and if it wasn't for Minnesota's State Supreme Court upholding that StarCaps case on Kevin and Pat Williams, the Vikings probably wouldn't be undefeated right now. I am a little surprised with how poor their secondary is playing right now.
I thought Baltimore lost their identity there at the start of the season by becoming more of a passing team. Luckily, they got back to running the ball in the second half and Ray Rice had a big day. So, maybe, Baltimore isn't that bad off being 3-3. They could have found the right offensive mix today. Just look at the Saints and how much they run and all that does is set up the passing game.
Only a couple teams that threw the ball all the time ever won a championship. I guess you could say the St. Louis Rams with Kurt Warner and then Indianapolis with Peyton Manning, they won throwing the ball. But both of those teams had a very good running back like Marshall Faulk or Joseph Addai. Now, neither one of those teams won the Super Bowl throwing the ball all over the field, but that's how they got there.
That's why both Minnesota and Baltimore have to stick to being balanced whenever they can. I know that's the offensive belief of both of these teams.
Balance brings in the whole offense. It allows for play-action and bootlegs.
Just look at the Saints, they are running it 160 yards a game. Today, Drew Brees throws for four touchdowns against the Giants, the game's so-called No. 1 defense. But the Saints continue to run the football with Pierre Thomas, Mike Bell and Reggie Bush. They have been running more than they throw all season long. Just look at their game against the Giants: 39 rushes and 30 passes. Most fans would think that's a misprint with a 48-27 score.
What Sean Payton is doing there is opening up his playbook with the constant threat of the run. I am really fascinated by that.
It used to be that great defenses beat great offenses, but that isn't happening that much in the NFL anymore. And what's the explanation for that? Well, because of the rules that continually favor the offense, the ones that allow the receivers to run all over the place, the rules that quarterbacks need to be protected the way they are, this is a different kind of football right now. I know it's more fun to watch and it's better for the ratings, but NFL football is a lot different these days than what it was when I played.
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