Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The Morning After...

Here are my thoughts...

Brian Belichick + Tom Brady > Brad Childress + Brad Johnson - I know this isn't much of a shocker but there has not been a truer statement typed on this blog than the equation shown above. Belichick's game plan was perfect and it was perfectly executed by Tom Brady. Childress' gameplan was not as good and even if it was we never would have known because of the flawful (I know I made that word up) execution by Johnson. If Brad throws 2 TD passes instead of 2 of his INTs this game is VERY different in the 4th Qtr. But he didn't and it wasn't.

Joe Theismann is terrible - I love ripping TV/radio guys and this one is almost as easy as ripping Joe Sensor. Theismann rips the Vikings for getting burned by Brady when they blitzed. OK, I can agree on this. We blitzed, Brady hits us where were vulnerable and New England looked good. Then in the same possession for the Pats, Joe rips the Vikings for only rushing the 4 down linemen, saying that if you don't put pressure on Brady he'll pick you apart. I'm not sure what the 3rd option is that Joe would suggest the Vikings defense choose but I'm sure there was something in that brain of his. Obviously the Vikings D was getting picked apart but it wasn't for lack of trying new things, New England was just one step ahead every time.

4th and 11, KICK THE FG - OK so this maybe isn't what is taught in Coaching 1o1, but the deal is that I was down 2.5 points in my fantasy league and I had Longwell. This compounded my frustration with Brad's red zone INTs and late in the 4th Qtr when you are NOT going to make a comeback just get some points to hit double digits. Really this game as all about ME and nothing else.

Don't forget this equation - So this may be a math heavy post but... Patriots + refs > Vikings. How on earth do you figure that Wiggins did not catch that pass? How does a mutual hand check become defensive illegal touch but a Patriot DB grabbing Williamson's right arm is nothing? Tough for the Vikes top win when the league tells the officiating crew which team they want to win before the opening coin flip (and who won the coin flip, that's right New England).

OK, so this game was ugly and for the first time we were underprepared and did not execute the intended gameplan. I'm changing the grades a little bit this week.
Basically everybody got an F, but I want to single out a few players/coaches.

  • Mike Tomlin - this is not an indictment on anything other than this single game. Tomlin has been very good this year and our D is the reason we went into this game 4-2. But this game was the perfect reminder that he is a young defensive coordinator and he his fast track to becoming a head coach is not as greased as it was appearing. This was the first game this year where it appeared the opposing offense changed their method of operation to counter our defense. Other teams seemed to tweak and just try to out execute us. New England ran on their first play, lost 4 yards then put us on our heals for the remainder of the game. We could not make the necessary adjustments to stop them.
  • Brad Johnson - If there was a grade below F he would have received it. There is a lot of national media talk about how the Vikings should give Johnson a raise. His team is 4-3 and has beaten some very good teams but Brad has not played very well in most of those games. All 3 losses have some very poor decisions by Brad that were significant contributions to the loss. Brad has to show me more to prove that he should be paid more. He is paid and is asked to not lose the games for us and that is all that he has done. Also, was Bollinger in there because of an injury to Brad, the game was out of hand or Brad was benched?
  • Napoleon Harris - I have been hard on Napo at times but praised him when he played well. Napo seems to be the kind of player that when the pressure turns up or the lights get brighter he comes up short. When the opponent is weaker or less is expected of him he certainly outperforms. Last night Napo was a step behind more often than not.
  • Bryant McKinnie - Mt. McKinnie was brutal last night. I have felt for a couple years now that he has been slightly overrated and now after his monster contract extension coupled with last night's performance I am officially putting him in the overrated column. Bryant was beat way too often last night, he has to shore up his game.
Bright spots on a dark night.
  • EJ Henderson - while I was not impressed with Napo, EJ seemed to be the defensive MVP last night. He was moving faster than usual and was in position more often than not. Forced fumble and a big sack of Brady even late in the 2nd half when much of the team seemed to be waiting for the clock to hit 0:00 so they could go home. But EJ was still playing hard.
  • Darren Sharper - Sharper was ready to play. He closed on receivers, hit hard and was doing his part to try and stop the New England offense.
  • Mewelde Moore - the punt return was the spark we needed to get back into this game (until the kick return unit and the defense gave up what momentum we had). And on offense he did as much as he could when given the opportunities. Get that kid a sticker for his helmet.
The best part about that game is that it is OVER. We can move on. In all fairness New England has been playing great football for a few weeks now. They took a couple games to get going but they are hot right now. Getting dominated like we did disappointing, but it wasn't like we lost to a poor or even average team. With that said if we want to be considered more than just a 1 and done playoff team this was the kind of game we needed to be competitive.

But we are moving on. Hopefully there will be some more room on the bandwagon for a couple weeks. We have the easiest schedule in November and this can easily go from 4-3 to 8-3 and in control of playoff destiny. Bring on the niners!

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