The Thanksgiving Hangover: P's & C's
I doubt I'm alone on this, but even if I am it wouldn't change where I'm at with the Vikings right now. After ending the four game losing streak against a talented, yet underachieving Cardinals team on Sunday I had a resurgence of optimism. But through the tint of my glasses I knew that yesterday's contest would not be a gimme. Losing another game in such fashion that they did just shut the breeze down and has me dreading next Thursday's game against the Boys. But I've sort of fallen asleep to the whole situation.
Yesterday I thought it was a food induced lethargy. But I'm as unaffected by it at this moment as I was when the game loser plays went down. Sure, I'm tired from hitting the shopping hard last night and this morning but I still don't think that explains it.
For me, I think it's just the acceptance that this season is all but lost. The playoffs could still happen. The only two teams that are pretty much locks are the aforementioned Cowboys & the Seahawks. The NFC South is unlikely to produce a wild card team but the NFC East could produce two. The "bottom feeding" Eagles have more wins then all but five of the rest of the teams in the NFC and still a lot of football to play.
Nine wins may a playoff birth get but that's far from a certainty. With the preexisting injuries and the ones that happened yesterday this team is just depleted. Maybe someone out there is more optimistic about the team's chances the rest of the way, but roughly 24 hours later I'm just not.
Anyway, on to the P's & C's
Losing Sooner. When the got the ball for the first time I thought to myself how much of a failure overtime was going to be. Then just like the career crushing kick from last year, it went so much worse then that. I don't exactly put it all on Bradford because he managed the game pretty well and the offense did enough to put the team in a place to force over time or even win. But that throw cannot be attempted. Into double coverage, against the Lions best corner, was as bad of a decision as he has made this year.
Injuries. They're an unavoidable part of the game. blah blah blah. There is no way to understand or explain what it going on with this team. I swear that a medical journal could be written based off the experiences of the training staff this year. It's just mind boggling. Going into the game with Diggs, Newman & Sherels hurts, to say nothing of all the prior injuries. Then more offensive lineman go down. I hate to say it but they made a mistake not trading Jarius Wright for an lineman while they could have. Which brings me to the next point.
Running, or rather standing still. I, like everyone am over the spectacularly ineffective nature of the running game and offensive line in concert. The Wild cat's occasional success and relatively low number of hits on Bradford are the only reason it's not a 10. But I'm tired of harping on it, so moving on.
Punt returning. It wasn't a factor in the loss except that it wasn't a factor in the win. Sherels is borderline irreplaceable as a returner but trying to use Thielen did not bode well. Diggs may have filled in but since he was out as well why not use JW. He's fast and he's elusive. It's almost like he's become the new CP. Practically being banned from the playing field, even when he is active on game day. In a ball control offense that is struggling as mightily as ours has been, field position is massive. Using Thielen to determine one half of the position determining factors does not sit well with me.
Does anyone else want to take a (For)bath? Having a kicker, however temporary he may be for the roster, who doesn't miss is nice. It should be expected but it's nice to just have one who doesn't have those ghosts floating around in his head.
The D. Another game lacking in splash plays. I don't expect 100 yard plays, ever but interceptions and sacks are very much a part of the expectation. The mundane way in which they started the game countered with the mostly stifling effort of the second half, in addition to the lack of momentum changing plays, is why they're in the middle