My first real high-definition game of the season and it’s a stinker. Gawd, did the Vikings look bad.
The first-team offense looked horrible. What could have been nice drives were marred by penalty after penalty. Danute Culpepper looked good but there was precious little else to cheer about. Michael Bennett did nothing to convince Mewelde Moore fans that he should remain the backup running back. Bennett ran for only a handful of yards and then fumbled a ball that led to a Jets touchdown. It wasn’t knocked loose; he just coughed it up. And though he picked up a blitz, he seemed surprised by it and didn’t quite get set for the block; he was leaning a bit when he made contact with the defender and, though he did get in the way, sorta pushed the blitzer into Daunte. Culpepper stiff-armed the guy, but still.
You gotta give Bennett a bit of a break, though, because the offensive line was not opening up even the smallest of holes.
Travis Taylor had a nice catch and run and nearly muscled his way into the end zone. He had to be brought down by a pack of three or four Jets. Nate Burleson had some nice catch and runs and Marcus Robinson and Jermaine Wiggins had some good catches as well,
On defense, the player that stuck out the most was nickleback Brian Williams, who got burned on I think three successive plays. On one scoring drive by the Jets, Williams totally bit on a head fake by the Laveranues Coles and gave up the TD. On another Jets score, a fade pattern in the corner to Wayne Chrebet, Williams did not make a play for the ball even though he could have picked it, or just knocked it away; instead, he fell down.
Special teams? Penalties. Two successive muffed kick returns, one that led to a Jets touchdown. Darren Bennett continues to inspire…fear.
When seventh overall pick Troy Williamson got in the game with the third stringers, Shaun Hill threw the first pass to him out in the flat between two defenders. Hill had to throw the ball inside and it was catchable, but Williamson made no adjustment to the ball whatsoever. The guy is raw.
After that pass, I was thinking why not just have Williamson run a fly pattern and thow it to him deep to give him some confidence? And then I thought, Oh, that’s right, Hill can’t throw it that far.
But the next series was all about Williamson. Hill proved me wrong by throwing a 50-yarder to Williamson, who just had to run underneath it. The dive ended with a short slant route to Williamson, who caught it, turned on the afterburner, and dove into the end zone, leading with an outstretched hand full of football. That was his most impressive play.
I’m extremely impressed with Ciatrick Fason‘s vision; it seems like he’s got extraordinary periphrial vision because he always seems to know where to cut to the open field. He makes great lateral cuts. But two nice runs and Fason was helped off the field after a Jet fell on the back of his right calf as he was running. Hopefully, he’ll be okay.
The game’s not over and it sure has been ugly thus far, but, hey, we got to see Troy Williamson catch a couple of passes. So it was worth it.
Maybe next week we’ll get to see Fred Smoot shut down some receivers (are you listening, Brian Willimas?).