VIKINGS WIN BORING CONTEST AGAINST TERRIBLE LIONS TEAM
Written by Tony Schultz on October 10, 2021
The saying is, ” a win is a win”, but sometimes it doesn’t feel that way. The Vikings pulled out a win today at home against the hapless, winless Detroit Lions and I shouldn’t have to even type that sentence. Greg Joseph hit a game winning field goal as time ran out and I shouldn’t have to type that sentence either. The Vikings should have won running away today based on their other performances and the injuries that the Lions are currently plagued with. The Lions are not good and have found more ways to lose this year than, well the Vikings. The Vikings should have won by multiple touchdowns and not on a last second field goal even without Dalvin Cook playing. Justin Jefferson had a huge first half and the Lions compensated in the second half, but there wasn’t a switch over to Adam Thielen being productive. The Vikings went back to their boring, stale, predictable, noneffective offense and basically played to not lose the game as opposed to going out and will your team to a win. The fans were booing play calls in the game and it got especially loud when the Vikings had 45 seconds left in the first half with two timeouts and they had two run plays and basically ran the clock out. Now I understand some of the reasoning there to not spark the Lions with a turnover, but when they drive the field almost effortlessly at the end of the game for a winning field goal then why not at least try to get down for another score? Kirk Cousins continues to play steady, but doesn’t seem as hot as he was early on this season, but I think that has more to do with the play calling than his performance. Also there were a few miscues by the wide receivers which included Thielen with a pass drop that hit him directly in the chest and a tipped pass that flew up in the air and was picked off by the Lions. That was right after Alexander Mattison ripped off a huge run. It was just never a fun game to watch.
The Lions scored first on a field goal and the Vikings answered with one of their own. The Vikings defense really was on fire as on the next drive Everson Griffen got a sack and then quickly followed that up with a strip sack of Jared Goff as he and Danielle Hunter met at the quarterback with second year player James Lynch recovering the fumble. The Vikings drive stalled and Greg Joseph kicked another field goal. The defense stuck Detroit on the next drive and then the Vikings drove the field with Cousins hitting Mattison on a slant pass that he got to the 5 yard line and then bullied his way into the end zone. I was figuring that the Vikings would now really turn up the heat and drive the Lions into the ground. On the Lions next possession they got near the red zone only to have linebacker Eric Kendricks perfectly read the play and have a spectacular one handed grab for an interception. The Vikings had a dismal 3 and out that ended with a poorly executed screen pass to Mattison and they had to punt. This is where the “boo birds” started to come out. I wasn’t mad at the call, but at the poor blocking by the lead blockers. However, the play call could have been a better more aggressive call. Thank goodness the defense continued their good play and stopped Detroit again. The Vikings next drive had the big Mattison run and then KJ Osborn had a ball bounce off his chest and way up in the air and intercepted by Alex Anzilone. The Vikings then were just playing keep away the rest of the game to keep from losing instead of going for the jugular. They got another Joseph field goal after a lackluster attempt to get downfield with conservative, unimaginative play calling. With 3:39 left in the game Danielle Hunter and DJ Wonnum had consecutive sacks on Goff. The Vikings got the ball back and again stalled and this time Joseph had a kick come up short even though it was right on target. Oh boy. I’m getting a bad feeling at this point. While the defense didn’t completely fall apart they did allow another field goal with 2:30 left on the clock, but the Vikings should be able to run out the clock. …….. About that.
This is where the fan frustration absolutely boiled over. The Vikings ran predictable run plays that Detroit not only stopped, but they stripped Mattison and Jaylen Reeves-Maybin recovered at the 20 yard line. After a few plays D’Andre Swift ran the ball in and the Lions went for 2 and Goff hit Cordarlle Hodge and the Lions had the lead with 37 seconds left. This was just another moment for Kirk Cousins to drive down the field for a game winning score, and he did just that. While the Lions felt they had finally broken their snake bitten season Cousins found Adam Thielen for a huge gain twice to get the ball into field goal range and a 54 yard attempt, and possibly Mike Zimmer’s job on the line. Snap. Hold. Kick. It’s good and Greg Joseph got carried off the field not just with his head high, but with Mike Zimmer’s job intact. If he misses that kick there were several people out there speculating that Zimmer loses his job seconds after the locker room clears. The sad thing is that this win didn’t even feel like a win. Fanline after the game, Twitter, Facebook, you name it were full of negative comments that are uncommon after a win. If it had been over a Tom Brady led team that the Vikings shouldn’t have beaten then fans are ecstatic, but this was over a terrible team that they should have beaten by two touchdowns at minimum. Minimum!
The best aspects of this game was who was in the game for the Vikings and that was 1st round pick Christian Darrisaw getting playing time at left tackle and linebacker Anthony Barr being back on the field. When Darrisaw was in he looked really good. He’s not in full football shape because he hasn’t played but a few snaps last week, but his reps were upped this week and he played strong. It was most evident when Rashod Hill came back in and was immediately bull rushed to the turf. Now while Barr didn’t have any gaudy states he is one of those players that teams scheme for and his presence was most likely felt more than we noticed. Now they need to put this altogether and get more aggressive on their play calls to get wins over the much more talented teams coming up on the schedule. So, a win is a win even when it doesn’t feel like it.