I’d love to give an analysis that makes sense after that game, but it’s virtually impossible.
Here’s what i can offer…
The game was on in the northern market near where i grew up. I was made painfully aware of that plenty during the afternoon via text messages.
Another observation was on the coaching side.
The Panthers head coach thinks he’s changing the game, while ironically holding his team back.
You’re not Sean McVay. Honestly, you’re not even Art Briles.
Vikings fans can celebrate all they want, and believe me I did, because we are used to being on the other end of a finish like that, but Carolina gave that game away. Several times.
How can they not run the ball?
With over 13 minutes to go in the game Zimmer lost his last challenge on a third down spotting of the ball, leaving the Vikings with just one timeout.
The Panthers had a first down from their own 40-yard-line, up 3, with 4:10 to go in the game. They handed the ball off and gained 9 yards, but running back Mike Davis went out of bounds, despite ample opportunities to stay in.
As a result they ended up running their 2nd and short play (a situation where a first down is all but guaranteed) with 4:00 minutes on the clock as opposed to somewhere around 3:25. Keep in mind how critical that is with Minnesota only possessing one timeout.
The Panthers picked up a first down at the Vikings 47-yard-line with 3:13 left on the clock. The Vikings then stuffed their first down running play for a 4 yard loss. With 2nd and 14 upcoming and the clock now running down under 2:30 minutes, the Panthers chose to pass. Incomplete. They chose to pass again. Incomplete.
Inexplicably the Panthers now faced a 4th down punt with 2:18 left on the clock. Giving the ball back to the Vikings only up 3 without even making Minnesota use it’s final timeout.
At the very least they should have been punting the ball back to Minnesota with under two minutes to go and the Vikings having no timeouts. At best they might have won the game…Aside from the first down loss, Carolina was having no problems running the ball all game. One more first down would’ve conceivably ended it.
Then Carolina gets the gift of the muffed punt. Now they have the ball back at the Vikings 9-yard-line, with 2:10 to go. They run it on first down for 4 yards. Two minute warning. They run it on 2nd down for 2 more yards. Timeout Minnesota. 1:56 left.
On 3rd and Goal from the 3 they passed into the end zone. Teddy, who showed flashes of brilliance in the running game but had been merely an average passer all day, missed a wide open receiver in the back of the end zone.
It was like the coaching staff was trying to complete Teddy’s comeback story. His fairy tale finish if you will.
And I’m not even gonna criticize them for that mentality…there’s always a human element in everything, and there’s no person in the world who deserves a moment like that more than Teddy. But if you’re gonna do it, do it in the run game. A qb draw or rollout option would have been perfect there. Even if he doesn’t get in you keep the clock rolling, if he scores the game’s over.
Instead they risked stopping the clock, again. Instead of being up by 6 (after the field goal) with somewhere around 1:10 to go in the game, the Vikings got the ball back with 1:51, making the fact they had no timeouts left almost irrelevant.
Which is right where my coaching critique for the Minnesota Vikings comes in.
Am I the only one who watches football?
Am I the only person who possesses the ability to process and remember what it is that I’m seeing week to week?
It sure seems like it sometimes…Because…
THE VIKINGS SCORED TOO EARLY!!!
Leave teams time to score…and they will.
The Vikings put together a surprisingly solid last drive. But after you hit Kyle Rudolph for a completion down around the ten yard line with 55 seconds left, and there’s a penalty on the defense that stops the clock…
RUN IT! RUN THE BALL ON 1ST DOWN! RUN IT!
You have to put the clock in motion on 1st down there. You have 50 seconds at the 10 yard line to get it in on 1 of 4 plays.
If Cook scores on the handoff he scores on the handoff. I can’t complain about them scoring too early in that scenario.
But this is 2020 NFL Football clock management, where worrying about how much time you leave you opponent is, or needs to be, factored in.
Is there a clock management coordinator position open within either organization? If so, I’d like to apply. I think I could really help your organizations from an efficiency and results standpoint. I’m low maintenance, I’ll work from home, all I need is a headset or a direct link of communication with the coaching staff on game days, and I’m cheap. Winning is the only form of payment that matters to me. Plus it will reduce stress levels and add to my quality of life, so…Bonus.
Who, besides Adam Thielen jumping around on instagram and twitter in his living room, thought the game was over when Beebe made that touchdown catch with 46 seconds left?
No true Vikings fan. That’s for sure. And you saw why.
The Vikings did a good job on special teams, pinning the Panthers inside the 15 yard line on the kickoff, then immediately gave up a 35 yard bomb on 1st down. Just to rub some salt in the wound, Gladney injures himself on the play, which stops the clock for the Panthers, who also have no timeouts.
A couple plays later…a 4 yard pass here, a 12 yard pass there…and the Panthers find themselves lined up for a 54 yard field goal attempt, from a kicker who looks like he’s on steroids and can hit one from 70.
Luckily it worked out for the good guys.