Many of us are now left to ask, what happened to the Vikings?
Everyone today is going to be talking about how and what they can learn from this terrible loss. And judging from yesterday there is a lot to still learn. There is probably going to be quite an overall this week but what would’ve helped the Vikings the most was maybe studying before the game yesterday.
While yesterday’s game was a wondrous disaster, no one is taking it more in stride like quarterback Christian Ponder.
“The good thing for us,” said Ponder, “is that it counts as one game.”
Umm, that’s one way of looking at it.
“We all have to play better,” he added.
Better is a good way to describe how they need to play. Many other words come to mind but we can start with better. And playing better has to start with Ponder, whose miscues were bad in the first half. He had 3 interceptions, 1 touchdown and only completed 18 out of 28 attempts. The Vikings were involved in an unexpected clunker to start their season. While Ponders “one game” mantra is true, it is only one game and we shouldn’t jump ship just yet. Sunday’s debacle in Detroit came at a bad time. Most of the fans had figured this is Detroit, why wouldn’t we win?
Other than our home opener against the mighty Cleveland Browns (insert joke here), the Lions game was supposed to a breeze for the Vikings. But unfortunately for the Vikings the mountain just gets tougher to climb. They go to Chicago next week and in Week 4 they will forfeit a home game to travel to London.
As much as we would all love to jump on the “fire Ponder” bandwagon, it’s full sorry. But before you write nasty comments I agree he was terrible yesterday, but as fans we have to take a step back and look at the team as whole.
The defense played poorly as well and the Lions took advantage of that and took the win. At times the Lions didn’t were just giving up. But the Vikings for some reason or another insisted.
The Vikings’ defense couldn’t get off the field and their offense couldn’t stay on it. At the end, with the Vikings playing catch-up and needing their quarterback to lead them into victory, there was just nothing left. And that is what horrid doomsday scenario everyone was afraid of: having to rely on Ponder to make something, anything happen.
“Well, we had too many three-and-outs,” Ponder said. “We had four turnovers, I had three interceptions.”
What’s scary about that statement is that he could have been intercepted a couple more times, but the Lions had couldn’t keep a handle on the ball. Plus, Ponder messed up a handoff and was sacked three times. In fairness to Ponder, he made several good throws to Jerome Simpson, who appears to be reanimated after a season on the shelf. But the fact remains: Ponder didn’t do a good job.
“It wasn’t all Christian,” Leslie Frazier insisted. “We didn’t play well as a team. There were some things he’d like to do better. But a lot of other guys, too. When they look at this tape tomorrow, we’re going to see that it wasn’t just Christian. We’ve got to do better all the way across the board.”
As much as we hate to admit it– he’s right. The defense couldn’t defend anything. No type of screen or underneath pass. And Adrian Peterson, after taking his first handoff for a 78-yard touchdown, was almost nonexistent the rest of the game. But as always we are already looking at Ponder. Whatever he does, or doesn’t do, is going to be magnified.
For example, late in a first half that had a lot of us feeling like we needed to keep one eye closed, Ponder had a grisly interception that short-circuited a drive and eventually led to a Lions score. He was on the run and tried to reach back to throw. But his arm was nudged by Ndamukong Suh and the result was a floater grabbed by Detroit’s Stephen Tulloch.
“I was trying to get out of the pocket and just throw the ball away, and he hit my arm,” Ponder said. “It was unfortunate. Next time, learn to just take the sack.”
“That was an important point in the ballgame because we were in field goal range at the point,” Frazier said. “They ended up going down and scoring. It was a tough spot, but he was trying to throw it out of bounds and trying to throw it way. Nothing wrong with that.”
Now 99% of the people reading this will not agree with that assessment, but Ponder says he does not feel the pressure.
“I don’t,” he said. “I feel probably less pressure. We have a lot of the right pieces in place. I just have to get the ball to them.”
No pressure huh? He probably doesn’t read the comment section much.
“We understand that we can’t do this again next week,” Ponder said. “We don’t want two losses in a row.”
One game isn’t going to make or break them. Still, this was a probable victory that got away.
“We are going to watch the film, learn from it and play better,” Ponder said.
Better? I think we can all agree on that.