Vikings Vs. Falcons Post Game Analysis

I thought the would beat the ; I just didn’t imagine it would be by such a wide margin. But, you know, I don’t know why stomping on the Falcons would be so implausible, considering who was quarterbacking the team.

did what Joey Harrington does; he made disastrous mistakes. It is, therefore, tough to judge how the Vikings are going to fare this year based on this game. The Falcons just aren’t that good. Let’s try, though.

The Offense

Tarvaris Jackson
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At least we scored a touchdown.

Actually, I was pretty encouraged by a lot of things about the offense. The offensive line played fairly well and looked a lot better than they did last year. didn’t have a great game, what with two mis-snaps and a couple of whiffs on blocks. And committed a holding penalty that turned a first-and-five into a first-and-fifteen. I also thought he totally missed a block that would have sprung for a long gain on his end-around carry.

Nevertheless, the line played pretty well, even on the right side, and held his own against rookie left end . They opened holes for Peterson and and provided with a reasonable amount of time in the pocket.

Taylor looked good for the few plays for which he was on the field; hopefully, his hip injury won’t keep him out. Adrian Peterson got to show he could carry the load and proved he could.

A 22 yard kick return, 103 yards rushing on 19 carries for a 5.4 yard average, 60 yards and a touchdown through the air, and a huge fumble recovery that prevented an Atlanta touchdown; not a bad day at the office for Adrian Peterson.

We haven’t seen this kind of speed since s one good year with us and we haven’t seen this kind of explosion and moves since and we haven’t seen this combination of speed and power since . This is gonna be fun.

The receiving corps did pretty well. caught both catchable balls thrown to him and one was a very tough catch with a defender all over him. made a nice catch for a reception and another on the sideline for a near reception. That kid’s got great body control. had a 28 yard catch during which he was wide open because Willamson cleared out the defenders. Tight end made two catches and even got into the act with a very tough catch on a short slant.

Tarvaris Jackson did a good job of managing the the game, made a couple of nice passes and a few that were off and one that was insanely ill-advised. He’s got great velocity on his throws.

He can also put great touch on the ball. That was demonstrated during Peterson’s 60 yard touchdown reception. That play, in fact, revealed several reasons for optimism about Jackson. He had enough patience to let the play develop and only released the ball when was nearly on top of him. When Jackson did release the ball, he did so with great touch, looping it over the defensive end to where Peterson would be, not where he was.

By the time Peterson got to the spot, the ball had dropped into his fingers. Perhaps it was surprise at how perfectly Jackson had placed the ball that made Peterson bobble it. After he’d secured the ball, all he had to do was follow Sidney Rice’s block and outrun the defense to the end zone.

Jackson does appear to have some problems throwing the deep ball. He overthrew Williamson on a deep pass where Williamson had his man beat by a step or two. And he threw out of bounds to Sidney Rice deep as well as on a twenty or thirty yard pass on which Rice was wide open.

Jackson also made a boneheaded play when he was about to be sacked by making a no-look toss behind his back to try and throw the ball out of bounds. It went out of bounds and he got lucky. That’s the type of pass that usually gets picked off and returned for a touchdown.

The Defense

The defense looks better than it did last year. We game up more rushing yards but still kept them under 100. But both the coverage and the pass rush is much better this year.

I know it was Harrington, but still, six sacks is six sacks. had two of them and was an absolute terror against the Birds. My boy got two, one of them from the left side, which is encouraging as hell because we rarely had pressure from that side last year. Back up DT had one and even had a sack…on the very last play of the game. It was great watching defensive line coach Karl Dunbar and and his fellow players jump all over Udeze to congratulate him after the game.

‘ interception return was an amazing display of athleticism. Williams was only trying to bat the ball down and no one in that situation expects to intercept the ball so the fact that he stayed with the ball and hung onto it says a lot about his reflexes and instinct.

Special Teams

So what the hell?!? Where did these guys come from?!? I was dreading watching the special teams units, specifically, the coverage unit.

But they did a great job. Do veterans really make that much of a difference? They looked abysmal during the preseason but great last Sunday.

consistently pinned the Falcons down behind their own twenty and the coverage units ensured they stayed there. Kluwe pinned Atlanta down at their 11 yard line, their 10, their 3, their 19, and their 12.  consistently launched the ball to the one, two, or three yard line and the coverage units kept Atlanta back around their twenty. Longwell made all his extra points and added a 49 yard field goal as well.


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Minnesota Vikings Vs. Atlanta Falcons Preview

You can be sure the have been watching a lot of college football game tape this past week. Specifically, tape of the , where was the head coach last year.

The Atlanta Falcons Offense

At Louisville, Petrino implemented a and he’s taken that philosophy with him and installed it in Atlanta. There is a long list of college coaches who have brought their philosophies to the NFL and failed but Petrino has something most of those others do not: experience. He was the Jacksonville Jaguars quarterbacks coach from 1999 to 2000 and the team’s offensive coordinator in 2001, so he’s called plays at this level.

So we’ll see about that but we are going to find out very quickly if the Vikings have an answer to spread formations.

The Power/Spread is requires a balanced unit that uses spread formations with one or no running backs and four or five receivers. When they’re not in the spread, they use a traditional Power I formation. They use a great deal of personnel groupings so they can run the same play from as many as ten different formations.

The power part of the Power/Spread is, of course, the traditional Power I running game. Petrino has also some play-action from the Indianapolis Colts.

Joey Harrington 
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But here’s where Petrino’s plan might break down. The Power/Spread requires excellent quarterbacks and receivers and tough running backs. Petrino is depending on as his signal caller. Harrington can usually be relied upon to make at least two big mistakes a game. The Vikings have owned Harrington.

The only proven receiver on the Atlanta squad is 35 year old former Saints receiver . First rounders and have yet to fulfill their promise.

The Falcons do have some rough running backs in and but it’s not like they are behemoths; Dunn stands 5’9" and weighs in at 180 lbs. while Norwood is 5’11" and 204 lbs. Our good friend, third stringer , outweighs them both by a good 30 to 50 pounds!

But the Falcons offensive line is employing a new blocking scheme this year, so it’s likely they are not fully practiced or comfortable in it yet.

You defeat the Power/Spread by shutting down the run, which, if memory serves, the Vikings are pretty good at. If we can force Harrington into second and third and long situations, we can force him to make those deliciously disastrous mistakes he’s so prone to make.

The Atlanta Falcons Defense

The Falcons defense is the hard part. While starting defensive tackle is out (thank God) along with starting safety and defensive tackle is questionable, the Falcons still have a lot of talent on D.

On the line, the Falcons have veteran and highly regarded rookie at the ends. Though listed as questionable, Jackson will likely start at nose tackle with replacing Coleman.

They have two talented linebackers in and .

In the defensive backfield they have at one of the corner spots, 33 year old at strong safety, with two-year man replacing Crocker at free safety.

That’s quite a bit of talent.

The Vikings On Offense

I’d expect the Vikings to play a very conservative offense filled with a lot of and in order to minimize the chances for to make a mistake.

When Jackson does throw, he’ll be limited to the side of the field opposite DeAngelo Hall but don’t be surprised if they attack safety Jimmy Williams, who is a good run defender but is often caught out of position against the pass.

Right tackle , I fear, will have a very long day against Jamaal Anderson during passing situations.

I wouldn’t be surprised if this is another of those games where the Vikings D scores the touchdowns and the offense contributes a field goal or three.

Even so, I think the Vikings will pull this one out. Add it up: Joey Harrington, iffy receivers, injuries on defense, and the Falcons are playing here; throw in the saga and I think you’ve got the ingredients for an Atlanta loss.

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Saturday Play Of The Day

This was the Play Of the Day (POD) for our Saturday on September 1, 2007:

Kellen gets the award for Saturday not so much for a single play as for his body of work. We’ll name him the Player Of the Day.

He had, like, 36 interceptions. Whenever the ball changed hands it was almost certainly Kellen’s hands who held the ball when the play was over.

He was en fuego!

Thursday Play Of The Day

This was the Play Of the Day (POD) for our Thursday on August 30, 2007:

Johnny was ab-so-LUTE-ly EVERYwhere last Thursday. He blocked passes. He ran ball carriers down from behind. He sacked quarterbacks. He caught long bomb touchdown passes. And he intercepted passes, at least one of which he returned for a touchdown.

Johnny was playing cornerback and defending the left flat as Ned ran a drag route in front of him. The quarterback led Ned way too far but at least it was out of the reach of any defenders.

Or was it?

Of course it wasn’t. Not with Johnny on the field. He quickly covered an insane amount of ground to catch up to the ball, just nab it with his left hand, pull it in, and run in for the score.