Coming off the Ledge: Vikings 12, Bills 17
--Minnesota's loss at Buffalo was a great illustration of my theory on what it takes to have a successful NFL defense. If you're running a pro defense, you have to know that you will give up completions. Accept that. But if you tackle the receiver at the spot he catches it, you will have a successful defense. If a receiver catches a ball short of a first down, stop him there. Don't let him run past the marker; make the team earn the first down. If a receiver gets a nice 15 yard completion, don't let him turn it into 20. Easier said than done, I know, but I firmly believe that if you limit or eliminate yards after the catch, you should have a successful defense. And for the love of the Runestone, when Peerless Price catches the ball in the backfield, hits the ground, and is absolutely cornered, don't let him run around backwards and run past everybody for a touchdown.
--Brooks Bollinger. Think about it. If necessary, I'll say more in the future.
--Mewelde Moore. Think about it.
--There's a possibility that my child will be born on Super Bowl Sunday. Joke #1: At least I don't have to worry about missing a Viking game.
--I thought the Mike Tice era was over; what's with all the penalties? Childress is supposed to bring discipline, on and off the field (I consider on the field much more important). Penalties have been destroying the Vikings.
--Just like stopping the receiver where he catches it is a requirement for good defense, receivers catching the ball when it hits their hands is a requirement for good offense.
--The Vikings have scored 19, 16, 16, and 12 points in their first four games. Somebody is going to have to convince me now why exactly Brad Johnson needs a raise.
Homoerotic Commentary of the Weekend
During the Florida-Alabama game, an announcer said "he had his hand on his back while his right hand reached around."
If I have no other virtue, let it be that I admit my mistakes. I was wrong about the Bears. They are the best team in the NFC. They've added a real downfield passing game to support a very good defense.
The NFC teams that can beat them in the playoffs in Soldier Field are the ones with a single dynamic offensive player capable of breaking apart their defensive scheme. Last year Steve Smith had 12 receptions for 218 yards and 2 TDs and 3 rushes for 26 yards in beating the Bears. In 2001, Donovan McNabb threw for 261 yards and 2 TDs and rushed 8 times for 37 yards and a TD in beating the Bears. Looking around the NFC, those still look to me like the two players on the two teams capable of going into Soldier Field in January and coming out winners.
Also, thanks to the good people at pro-football-reference.com for accessible stats.
Quick Weekend Thoughts
--For me, the three most detestable, "love to hate" sports movie villains are Coach Bud Kilmer of Varsity Blues, Bob Sugar of Jerry McGuire, and the brother-in-law who wants Ray to sell his farm in Field of Dreams.
--Philip Rivers is a vampire. Think about it.
--Marty Schottenheimer is capable of single-handedly destroying a talented offensive team's chance to win playoff games.
--The Vikings are 2-2, but Daunte Culpepper's and Randy Moss's teams are a combined 1-6.
--I still say Peyton Manning is the best player in the NFL. I would like to see him finally play like it to a Super Bowl run. Granted, if the Colts were in the NFC, we might be talking about a team that had just lost three straight Super Bowls.
--Clinton Portis may be the best RB in the league (compare his numbers for the last four years to anybody else's. It's a legitimate argument). Right now, the only RB in the league I'd take over Portis is Ladanian Tomlinson--and even that is pretty close.
As my sister is learning, if you want to watch football with my group of friends, you have to learn the lame nicknames we have for every player. These nicknames lack creativity or any merit whatsoever, but they are how we watch football. Here are some of my favorites. There are more, but to get an idea how lame they are, just look at these are realize they are the ones I decided to type.
Deion Branch= Old Muffed Punt
Joey Harringon = Joey Ha Ha
Peyton Manning = Dilfer
Trent Dilfer = Super Dilfer
Eli Manning = Dilfer Jr., Ellie
Matt Hasselbeck = Hasselsuck
Jake Delhomme = Jake Dulhomme
Mike Vanderjagt = Vanderjoke, Vanderjerk, Vanderchoke
Brett Favre = Shitdick
Tarvaris Jackson = Turdballs, Tito
Tank Williams = Tank the Tank
Tom Brady = Tom Terrific
Mewelde Moore = First Down and Moore
Chad Pennington = Chad Sexington, Chad Dorkington
Brad Johnson = BJ
Brian Calhoun = Heisman Calhoun
Peter King = Titan Meltdown
(addendum #1: I might add addendums throughout the day rather than start a new post.
First, there are many things I don't get about baseball traditions, so I won't start exploring them now. But while my beloved Vikings are excoriated every time an off-field incident occurs, local networks show extended coverage of the Twins getting drunk, grab-assing, and pouring booze all over each other. What a country.
Second, here's my reason to come off the ledge at the moment. The Vikes haven't been favored in any of their games thus far (as far as I know), and they've come out 2-2. Looking at their schedule, I would guess there will be 5-7 games this season in which they will be favored. If they can win, say, three of every four they are favored in, and half the games they're not favored in, they end up with 9-10 wins. So, is this valid reason to come off the ledge or not?)
(Addendum #2: The Viking defense is good enough to keep teams under 20, but not dominant enough to win games on its own. The Vikes need to find an offense that can put points on the board to make the playoffs. Well, three straight teams have scored 30+ on the Lions, so if Brad Johnson can't punch it into the endzone next week, I'll be screaming "Brooks Bollinger" from my rooftop.)
(Addendum #3: Mewelde Moore needs more plays. The Vikes need to put the ball into the endzone, and Moore is a more dynamic runner than Taylor. He can break tackles, has more potential for long runs, and is a good receiver. Taylor and Moore have very different skills, and both will be useful to the Vikings, but Moore needs more opportunities to help the team win. He can.)
(Addendum #4: Here is a philosophical exploration of the despair of being a sports fan)