Monday, November 29, 2010

Clouds of Heaven

Sure, Washington did its part to lose this game (several dropped passes, one that was deflected and gave the Vikings easy field goal range, an unnecessary block in the back to negate a punt return), but Viking road wins (and on grass, no less!) are hard to come by, and we can appreciate them when they happen. Besides, this was the cleanest and crispest the Vikings have looked all year: no turnovers, few penalties, a team just generally playing smart, quality football.

What kind of coach would Leslie Frazier be with an offseason, a training camp, roster input? Who knows. But in one game we saw a team that was prepared to play, that avoided mistakes, that overcame injury to its best player, and that played hard. Frazier can be given credit for that. And it was good to see the authentic joy he had at the end of the game, and the joy the players seemed to have for him too.


  1. Plinthy the Middling9:47 AM


    - no feet braced widespread the more thoroughly to chew out the cud;
    - no barely contained reactions in utter exasperation
    - no biting off words and spewing them out in all directions like loose metal pieces from an over-revved engine
    - no movement halfway into the field in challenging the qb to explain What the hell was that
    - no on-field challenges so completely ill-timed and inappropriate as to question the purpose of searching for intelligent life in the universe

    and -- who knows? -- perhaps these connected to:

    - no inexplicable, Newton's-Laws-defying balls passing through hands, bouncing off fingers, arms and even just the aura of backs, receivers and d-backs wound up with implications insta-accountability as tightly as a steel guitar in a Motorhead riff.

    (But you know, once everyone is back home in camp, the press corps is going to head into withdrawal over missing their bi-weekly dose of "I leave all that up to the scribes" pablum, and strained efforts to cram wrongly summoned and pronounced polysyllabic words into answers about the deep cosmological mysteries of football.)

  2. Anonymous9:49 AM

    I know I should not go there but Favre was not nearly as slow as I thought he would be on that run and made me think back to the end of the New Orleans game had he just took off on and run on the final play in regulation. :)

    Nice win although some creativity on third and short would be welcomed.


  3. Anonymous2:18 PM

    Loved the offensive gameplan; take the ball out of Favre's hands. Favre is so mistake-prone at this point he has to be treated like a rookie, which he was yesterday.

    I have no idea what kind of coach Frazier can or will be, but let's just say that the Redskins are not a good team, and by simply avoiding the big mistakes Minnesota was able to win.

    I actually think Buffalo next week will be a bigger challenge than Washington. Buffalo can move the ball, and they play with a pride that is lacking in Washington right now. The Bills aren't good, but they play hard enough to give teams like New England, Kansas City and Pittsburgh all they can handle. The Redskins make stupid mistakes and roll over on Monday night against Philadelphia.

  4. I would challenge the notion that the "Bills aren't good." Certainly, a 2-9 record speaks to mediocrity, but they have been blazing since the Bye week. They had an enormous win over the Bengals (a comeback that for any other team would still be talked about, and would continue to be for some time) and have had extraordinarily close games against good teams. Since the Bye, they have sent the Ravens and the Steelers to overtime (and Kansas City, who are doing well this year--the top of their division), have had two wins (against bad teams, I'll grant--but one spectacular performance), and lost to another good team (yes, Chicago is "good") by 3 points (all of their losses since the bye have been by 3). Yes, "good teams get it done," but sometimes that's not true. Sometimes bad luck and positioning and the mere facts of possession means that a better team loses (see: Super Bowl XLII, a clearly better Patriots team lost to the Giants from two freak plays in a row, one of which was by a player that was cut before the end of training camp the next year). They probably, through the strength of their play, deserve to win one of those games against those good teams. Instead of seeing the Bills as 2-9, think of them as a team that is 2-1-3 since the bye. Also, they have a wicked strength of schedule. They have played every AFC East and AFC North team and by Sunday will have played every NFC North team. That means the Pats, the Jets (both 9-2), the Ravens, the Steelers, the Bears (all three are 8-3), the Packers (7-4), and the Dolphins (6-5). And they get to play the Pats, Dolphins and Jets again. that's out of control.

    Also, Fitzpatrick was a monster fantasy pick-up.

  5. Also, Kansas City is 7-4.

    Sorry for the double post.

  6. Anonymous12:06 PM

    I realize the Bills have played better than their record speaks, but I refuse to call a 2-9 team that started 0-8 anything other than "not good." And note that I said they'd be a bigger challenge than the Redskins, who do have a better record than the Bills.

    I hadn't realized it before, but you're right that the Bills have played a ridiculous schedule. Looking at their first eight games, they didn't play a single bad team, the worst being either Miami or Jacksonville. That's crazy. Contrast that with Tampa Bay, who hasn't beaten one team with a winning record but is 7-4. Switch their schedules and I wonder who'd be 2-9 and who'd be 7-4. Oh well, 0-8 is still a very bad start.

  7. Fair enough--perhaps I was more upset because I think the post-Bye Bills can under no circumstances be discounted, which you've pointed out is not quite what you're doing. I suppose I just want to stress how difficult this next game will be in contrast to what expectations might be. They will be a bigger challenge than the Redskins, and are probably better than Miami and Dallas... which is weird. I'll be proud if we beat them... more than when we beat the Lions.

    If they started the season like this (2-4 with 4 losses to good teams by 3 points) they would probably earn a fair spot in the discussion for a playoff berth if they were in another conference (NFC West, anyone?). It seriously bones them hard that they are in the same conference as the Jets and the Pats, because this franchise will be solid (if the owners don't continue to make bumfuck terrible decisions... TO?).

    I would LOVE to see what happens if you switched them with the Bucs... or put them in NFC West.