Monday, October 15, 2007

Vikings v Bears Recap

"This ain't college, Rook!" That was what Peanut Tillman had to say to Adrian Peterson (the MN version) early in the 1st quarter. Good call, Peanut!

Really this game came down to the following equation...

Purple Jesus > Devin Hester

The rest of the parties involved were just average.

OK, so maybe we need a little better analysis than that, but if you are just skimming the blog, that is all you need to know. We'll start with the grades....

QB (B+) - this was TJax best game as a pro. The sad part his he didn't top 150 yards and completed fewer than 40% of his passes. With that said he made 1 huge play to Williamson to give us a TD that nobody was counting on. He also did not turn the ball over, which goes a LONG way towards winning a ball game. And his numbers would be much better were it not for some dropped passes by Sydney. But he also missed a few guys including Richardson on what would have been a huge play (it not a TD) late in the 2nd qtr. Overall a solid game but nothing to get excited about.

RB (A+) - not much needs to be said about what Purple Jesus did on the field. A few viking records were broken and all in all he pretty much carried the entire team to the W. It should also be noted that Taylor had a decent game as well. 83 yards isn't anything special but he got stronger as the game went on averaging 3.3/carry through 3 qtrs and finishing the 4th with 4.3 including 2 runs of 12 or more.

WR (C+) - Williamson's TD is the lone bright spot today. He ran a good route, got behind the coverage and most importantly caught the ball. But apparently South Carolina receivers have trouble catching NFL passes as Sydney Rice dropped a few balls that would have helped sustain drives. TJax put the ball where it had to be a number of times and it was just plain dropped, that can't happen.

OL (B+) - Only gave up 1 sack and this was their best game of the year. But watching the game I felt like PJ was making the OL look good, not the other way around.

Overall Offense (B+) - hard to criticize 31 offensive points (final 3 points was all special teams), we may not see that again this season. I think we are lacking some balance when 68% of our plays were running plays, but you have to go with what is working. Overall, I can't really complain about anything.

DBs (C-) - They gave up a ton of yards and 3 big plays for TDs. That just can't happen. If we give up 3 passing TDs of 33 yards or more again this year we better hope for 300 yards rushing or we'll lose that game. Brian Griese won't have 380 yards passing again this year (well maybe on Dec. 17) and it is kind of embarrassing that he did yesterday.

LB (A-) - I love this group of linebackers. EJ has been making plays all over the place, Leber is seriously underrated and Greenway is on his way to being a force at this level. The Bears has 9 plays that ended up in negative yardage, 7 of those 9 were made by a Vikings linebacker. Also add 1 forced fumble and 1 interception to the linebackers combined stat line.

DL (B+) - a little more pressure on Griese would have been nice. Ray Edwards probably had the best day of this group with 5 tackles including 1 for a loss (combined with EJ). The Williams brothers were pretty quiet but for the most part I think the Bears were scheming to run away from them.

Overall Defense (B-) - gave up a lot of points but for the most part played their part. A ton of passing yards given up but kept the running game shut down. By my simple math they gave up 22 rushing yards in the 2nd half. It is always nice to make teams 1 dimensional, now we just need to figure out what to do with them when we know they are going to pass.

All in all this was a good game by the Purple. On the road, against the defending NFC champs and we were clearly the physically dominant team. That was the first time all year we have won the battle at the line of scrimmage. This Bears defense isn't what it has been in recent memory but it still had Urlacher, Briggs, Hillenmeyer, Ogunleye, Tommy Harris (playing hurt) and Mark Anderson (6 of starting front 7 from week 1).

Chicago was able to hit us with big plays through the air and return games but we dominated the box on both sides of the ball. Hester is hands down the best returner in football, and if healthy will be one of the best all time (and 2nd to Favre as my most hated players in NFL, I can publish a list later). We won't have to face that with any other team.

The passing game remains a problem on both sides. The Bears were missing 3/4 secondary starters and we really didn't couldn't take advantage of that. Defensively the fact remains that ANYBODY can pass on this defense. That needs to be curtailed. I don't expect it to be fixed but it has to be mended a little bit.

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