10 Points: The Aftermath Edition

Once again, the Super Bowl will go down without the Vikings.  The final 10 Points of the season…

1.  Memo to Viking fans who wish to do nothing but bash the referees:  You are making fools of yourselves.  That interference call against Ben Leber was probably a bad call but so what?  Had the Saints lost, they could’ve screamed and yelled forever about the roughing the passer call against Anthony Hargrove, or even the earlier unnecessary roughness call against Bobby McCray where he ran Brett Favre over at a point where Favre was basically a blocker.  Actually, if you add the whole game up, the Saints probably have a greater gripe against the officiating than the Vikings do.  But, in truth, neither fanbase should be focusing on the referees in the wake of that mess.  Blaming the refs is what nitwits do who are unwilling to see the reality of the situation, or simply do not have a grasp of reality.

2.  When time passes and our brains are done filtering the irrelevant from the relevant, the one play that will stick out in our memories is the Adrian Peterson fumble at the end of the second quarter after Reggie Bush handed us six points on a silver platter.  The game was 14-14 at that point, and had the Vikings sealed the deal there, they would’ve gone into the half with a 7-point lead and a huge psychological lift.  The entire dynamic of the second half would’ve been changed had the Vikings led by seven coming out of the break, because even had the Saints scored in their first possession, it would only have been a tie game, and the Vikings would’ve been much less tense and maybe some of those fumbles would not have happened.  And maybe the Saints, who I thought played very tight on offense in the second half anyway, would’ve been the ones feeling the pressure, and would’ve made the killer mistakes.  But we’ll never know now because Peterson coughed it up.  (Note:  Yes I realize that fumble was technically credited to Favre, but come on, we all know who was responsible).

3.  The Peterson defenders will point out that only two fumbles were counted against him in the scorebook and both were recovered by the Vikings.  And they’ll probably point out that the 1st (actually 2nd) fumble didn’t mean much because we immediately came back, thanks to Visanthe Shiancoe, and moved the ball down for the score which Peterson ran in himself.  So no harm, no foul on that one.  And the other fumble, at least Peterson hustled and got the ball back himself.  That 2nd (actually 3rd) fumble was the problem though, because afterward, Brad Childress had no choice but to yank Peterson from the game, which meant his presence was no longer on the field, a fact the Saints undoubtedly adjusted to.  And what happened a few plays after that fumble?  Brett Favre was picked off by Jonathan Vilma (on the same play where we thought Favre had been killed).  There’s no way of knowing for sure if Peterson being off the field really created that turnover, but the point is, we all accept that defenses over-adjust to account for Peterson, which is a large part of our passing success, meaning we are much better off with him in the game than not in the game.  But we don’t get the benefit of his presence when he keeps fumbling and needs to be benched to get his head together.

4.  The overall lack of ball security demonstrated by the Vikings in the second half was, to me, a symptom of a larger issue that reared its head more-and-more as the game progressed:  basically, that the game started getting too fast, too pressurized, too big for some of the Vikings players.  The only one who really kept his head entirely, it seemed like, was Brett Favre, at least up until the last offensive play of regulation when he went dumb.  Everyone else seemed to lose their shit.  Darius Reynaud muffed a punt, Percy Harvin fumbled, Bernard Berrian fumbled, Steve Hutchinson lost his shoe for awhile and had to be replaced by Artis Hicks, Tyrell Johnson and Cedric Griffin both missed interceptions, the kick coverage got lax, which helped the Saints get field position on a couple of occasions.  And then there was the huge gaffe, the killer gaffe, the gaffe that will haunt us forever:  the 12-men-in-the-huddle call that led directly to the Favre interception.  If ever a single moment demonstrated a team’s inability to keep its focus in the midst of pressure, that was it.  And it was inexcusable.

5.  The Vikings really should’ve gotten blown out of the water in the second half, but didn’t because, frankly, the Saints offense played almost as tight as the Vikings’.  The playcalling, I thought, got too conservative from them, and helped the Vikings defense which did a good job holding up in spite of all the turnovers by their offense.  I really don’t know why the Saints didn’t show more killer instinct on offense when the Vikings kept handing them chances.  All I know is that Leslie Frazier and Gregg Williams were the ones who came out of that game shining.  The Saints defense gave up some yards, but they punished Favre, and forced 5 turnovers.  And the Vikings – again, with help from the Saints’ inexplicably gutless playcalling – played arguably as good a game as they did vs. the Cowboys, when you look at how unimpressive the Saints’ final numbers were.

6.  The biggest question facing Viking fans today is:  How angry should we be at Brett Favre for that final interception?  If any point argues in favor of not being too angry, it’s that Favre never should’ve been put in a position to try to throw there.  All the Vikings needed was to keep running it, not lose yardage, not take a sack, and above all NOT TURN THE BALL OVER AGAIN.  But, then Chilly decided to get cute with the substitutions, and someone didn’t know they were supposed to come out of the game and…12 men in the huddle.  Of course, it’s possible Favre could’ve scrambled for a few yards there and gotten Ryan Longwell back in range.  But we’ll never know now because Favre’s first thought is always to pass and it was his first thought there.  Perhaps Favre  lost it under the pressure of the moment or perhaps that is just who Favre is.  All I know is, we would not have been in that game at all had it not been for Favre.  He kept the team together when everything seemed to be falling apart, and but for a couple of unfortunate mistakes, played as well as one could’ve expected from a man his age given the number of hits he took and the number of mistakes his teammates made around him.

7.  I joked during the game that Viking fans had to be happy about the 12 men in the huddle call, because it finally gave them a solid reason to blame Childress for the loss.  I now realize, however, that no matter what happened, Viking fans would’ve blamed Childress.  Had Favre thrown 5 interceptions, fans would’ve cried that Childress should have run the ball more.  Had Adrian Peterson fumbled 2 more times, fans would’ve screamed that Childress should’ve taken him out.  Had Chester Taylor fumbled, fans would’ve blamed Childress for not putting Adrian Peterson back in even despite the fumbles.  Had the Superdome roof collapsed, killing everyone inside, Viking fans would’ve figured out a way to blame Childress for that too.  Childress is simply despised, for a variety of reasons, some of them irrational, and would’ve been the number 1 target of fan scorn regardless of how things went down.

8.  What if…Cedric Griffin doesn’t get hurt on that kick return, putting Asher Allen on the field to commit pass interference and help the Saints keep their drive alive?  Just one more thing to torture yourself about.

9.  Bernard Berrian played like a man possessed up until that fumble.  Where was that all season?  I guess we should be grateful he decided to show up at all, but, damn man.  How about trying to earn your huge paycheck every week instead of just when the bright lights are on you?

10.  Even if Favre doesn’t return, the Vikings have a fantastic offensive nucleus.  Sidney Rice, Visanthe Shiancoe, Percy Harvin…Adrian Peterson, if he learns to hold onto the ball.  Phil Loadholt who I think could shift over to left tackle at some point.  The problems are at quarterback, center, left guard (yes, Hutchinson is a question mark, because of age and health) and left tackle unless Loadholt is the answer.  It will be an interesting off-season to say the least.

Bonus:  It’s a good thing there are no coaching jobs open, because Leslie Frazier’s stock after the last two games is higher than it will ever be again.  I’m guessing that, if the Raiders get rid of the Cable character, Al Davis will hire some weird-ass out-the-blue candidate and not even offer it to Frazier, who probably doesn’t want that job anyway.

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Tags: Adrian Peterson Bernard Berrian Brad Childress Brett Favre Cedric Griffin Chester Taylor Dallas Cowboys Jared Allen Jonathan Vilma Minnesota Vikings New Orleans Saints Percy Harvin Reggie Bush Sidney Rice Steve Hutchinson Visanthe Shiancoe

  • Woo

    You’re crazy if you think the calls against Hargrove and McCray were bad calls. One involved hitting a defenseless player – and that’s how they protect in the NFL now. The other wouldn’t have been a late hit if he hadn’t picked up Favre and driven him into the ground.

    If there’s any real officiating travesty it’s that there were zero holding calls on the opposing offensive line for the 2nd game in a row when Jared Allen was getting brutally mugged for 4 more quarters. Maybe the NFL told the officials to let the lines play, but anybody watching for that will be pretty surprised to see how egregious it was.

    The moral of the story is that the fumbles and final pick cost us the game – not officiating. Without the turnovers we could have won (and I think would have won) in regulation. The hardest part of the awful PI call in overtime is that it prevented us from getting a shot of our own on offense. But that’s more a criticism of the asinine overtime rules than anything else.

  • Mike

    Danzinski offers a reasonable epitath, except he fails to appropriately assign blame to Childress for the 12-men-in-the-huddle penalty. On the one hand, he correctly recognizes it as a huge and inexcusable gaffe that will haunt us forever, especially since it directly led to Favre’s interception that ended the Vikings season. But then he makes fun of Vikings fans (who agree with national commentators) who choose to blame Childress for the gaffe (or anything else for that matter). Who would Danzinski blame for the senseless, inexcusable, season-ending penalty? No one?

  • David

    Right on the $ Danzinski, as usual.

  • SH28

    I am surprised no one is talking about the Saints strategy of trying to take Brett Favre out. I don’t believe they had any sacks but had something over 15 hits??? Doesn’t that indicate in itself demonstrate they were hitting him late??? Yet only a couple were called for penalties. If teams are allowed to do this they will be able to win games simply by taking out their opponents starting QB after sacrificing only a few first quarter penalties. If the Vikings would have had any QB other than rubber man Favre I believe the QB would have been injured and lost from the game. I thought the NFL was trying to protect the QBs???

  • BA

    I have a hard time blaming a coach for a team’s loss, unless he runs out onto the field and tackles an opposing player. Yes, the 12-men on the field was a bone-headed move, but where was the player who was supposed to do the head count? It was almost as if the powers that be or karma decided no matter what, the ‘Aints were going to Miami. The Vikings outplayed, outhustled, outdid the ‘Aints in every category except turnovers and final score. The game was theirs for the taking. The defense played their hearts out, for the Vikes. We would have been 7-9 if Tarvaris Jackson had been at the helm. I wish Brett would come back because the scoring nucleus of this team is top-notch and with a good QB, and less anger from the gods, would go all the way.

  • SH28

    Traitor Danzinski is probably just plain wrong and Woo right, although I can’t remember the play in which Bobby McCray was flagged. BUT, more importantly, that SOB McCray should have got a penalty on the play that he injured Favre. McCray hit the QB below the knees from behind while Remi Ayodele hit Brett Favre high. CBSSports.com Senior Writer Clark Judge says McCray’s blindside hit on Favre was a blatant violation of the “Tom Brady rule” that says defenders can’t hit quarterbacks below the knees. He calls referee Pete Morelli’s missed call on the Favre hit inexcusable, a low moment for the NFL and threatening to Favre’s career. Moreover, Favre had his pass intercepted at the New Orleans 28 where the Vikings could have scored and won the game. I’m now thinking the Vikings were robbed, the Saints are a dirty team and the city of New Orleans deserves whatever bad karma they got and get. Who Dat dirty team?

  • Mike

    The more I think about it, and especially considering Danzinski picked the Saints, the more irritated I get about his analysis as Saints-apologist bullcrap:
    1. He claims we are making fools of ourselves if we blame the referees and even says the Saints have more right to complain. As SH28 points out, the refs allowed the Saints defense to kill our QB!
    2. He tries to divert attention onto AD’s mistake on a handoff from Favre, as if that one mistake cost the whole mojo of the game. The fumble by Harvin was worse since it allowed the Saints to take the lead.
    3. He conveniently blames AD for forcing Childress to pull their best RB. That is ridiculous since AD is the team’s best RB. With AD you get the threat of the big runs that pull defenders into the box and also the occasional fumble. Besides Chilly put him back in later, so he didn’t really have to pull him.
    4. He tries to claim the overall lack of ball security was a symptom of a larger issue that the game got too fast, too pressurized, too big for some of the Vikings players. Pure conjecture. For example, the Vikings defenders have been missing INTs all year.
    5. More pure conjecture that the Vikings really should have gotten blown out of the water in the second half, but didn’t because, the Saints offense played almost as tight as the Vikings. For heavens sakes, are you rooting for the Saints? The Vikings D deserves the credit especially since the Saints offense works off play action and the Vikings stopped the run.

  • Mike


    The coach is to blame if he changes the play and doesn’t tell the player. Tahi was the 12th man and he claims he was not told.

    It was almost as if dirty play and Voo Doo decided no matter what, the Saints were going to Miami, after they sold their souls.

  • Mike

    I should also add Harvin’s fumble seemed to be caused by some kind of play calling mistake – likely Chilly’s responsibility. Since Chilly also caused Favre’s INT at the end of the game with the infamous 12 man penalty and Favre’s other INT should have been nullified by penalty, that leaves only the mistake on the exchange between Favre and AD and 1 fumble by Berrian. The game was lost by Chilly and bad refs! And I don’t care how much Danzinski calls me a fool.

  • Le Pew

    Danzinski is the nitwit here.

    Bad officiating doesn’t affect a game, a player or team’s momentum?

    Next you’ll be telling us that calling a timeout, called by the opposing team, just as a kicker is about ready to kick a field goal, isn’t done purposely to freeze the kicker. You’ll probably say it’s so that the opposing teams coach can have more time to walk down to the end of the field and set up is chair so he can watch.

    And I suppose those “lucky T-shirts” or “good-luck” items that a player wears during a game is because they had nothing else to wear.
    Given that, the referees can kill the spirit and momentum of one team, and keep another team in a game at will.

    The NFL officiating system is broken and needs to be “fixed”, and not “Vegas fixed”, or the “political flavor of the week” fixed, I mean fixed in a “good way” so that the correct calls are made ALL of the time, and the calls are fair to both teams, without any bias.

  • Uncle Bob

    “I’m guessing that, if the Raiders get rid of the Cable character, Al Davis will hire some weird-ass out-the-blue candidate and not even offer it to Frazier, who probably doesn’t want that job anyway.”

    Although it now appears that Al Davis is -not- going to cancel Cable, at least for now, Davis wouldn’t have hired Frazier as HC anyway. That’s because the 80+ year-old owner/GM is a creature of habit. One of his long-time habits is hiring coaches from the -offensive- side for that spot. Defensive coordinators need not apply.

    And Al personally selects the Raider top draft picks and assistant coaches. Frazier’s better off staying put, for now.

  • Viqueen

    Wow, even if the Vikings would have had the higher score at the end of the game, it would not have mattered because they would have lost to the Colts anyway. I don’t care what the stats say- the Vikings led in the biggest one- mistakes (turnovers), and that was their undoing. Such a sloppy, reckless team does not deserve to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. Be thankful that your team won’t be embarrassed by Peyton Manning like the Bores were and drop to a paltry, league-leading 0-5 in the Super Bowl. Quit your incessant whining and write thank you notes to the refs and the Saints’ gravediggers that buried the old Fart.

  • Mike

    @ BA – You asked what player would be responsible for counting the number in the huddle. That would be the QB but he can’t count until it is too late. Childress is responsible for sending 12 into the huddle.

    Another IMPORTANT point. Had the refs not allowed the Saints to injure Favre’s ankle, he might have been more likely to have simply run the ball into position for the field goal instead of throwing an interception.

    The Vikings were ROBBED !!!

    Did you see President Obama has sympathies for New Orleans? Apparently their Super Bowl trip is a much needed boost to the decimated city. Should the taxpayers and now refs favor the Saints because those idiots built a city under sea level?

  • BA

    Two records established in game – tied for most points scored by losing team in NFC champ game (28) w/Dallas-San Fran (95).

    Also, largest differential in total yards for a losing team (457 to 257).

    And, of course, 5th straight NFC title game loss for Vikes.

    All the quirks and unbelievable things that happened to the Vikes in that game after they dismantled the Cowpokes is still hard to believe.

  • Jimmu

    Karma is a bitch, ain’t that right Favre?

  • dk

    When’s the last time Old#4 ever did anything with his feet and not his $12M arm? (not saying he shouldn’t/couldn’t have)

  • George

    Officiating mistakes has always been part of the game of football. Clearly there were officiating mistakes last Sunday, on both sides. The first roughing the passer call against the Saints was bogus, as the tacklers were already lounging at Favre before he released the ball. This clearly was a poor call that gave the Vikings a first down on a drive that had stalled, and for which they would have had to punt. Instead it lead to a touchdown.
    I dont see you Viking fans mentioning that! Bad calls occured for both teams. The hits on Favre are part of the game also. The Vikings hit Drew Brees too, and not kindly!
    Ultimately the refs were not responsible for all the Viking fumbles, or the Favre picks, or for that matter, the Reggie Bush muffed punt. Both teams
    controlled their destiny last Sunday, not the refs, and the Saints won the game. Get over it!

  • http://brophyfootball.blogspot.com brophy

    Good analysis

  • John

    Guess the Saints didn’t get the memo to play nice and not rush the QB, like the Vikings did. I mean, the Vikings O-Line seemed surprised that the Saints actually brought defenders across the line! Al Franken better initiate a congressional hearing about this and better establish the Brady-Favre rule to make sure it’s tackle football for 10 players and touch football for 1 (especially aging or non-birthmark wearing QBs). Also practicing voodoo should be outlawed in the NFL, all NFL players must be Christians and each team must interview at least 1 Nordic coach candidate.

  • Mike

    I hope Danzinski and the rest of you anti-Vikings clowns got to watch NFL Live today. They showed many bad calls against the Vikings, including at least three on the Saints winning drive in overtime.

  • Xan

    Finally a Viking fan who’s being honest.

    1. The call for the hit McCray put on Favre on the end-around was ridiculous – he just handed the ball off!

    2. The Hargrove PF was even more ridiculous; Farve was dropping back and literally lets the ball go when Hargrove was wrapping him up. There was no way for Hargrove to know Favre let go of the ball – none.

    3. I do agree McCray’s going low hit was a violation of the Brady rule, but the Brady rule is a violation of football and this was a perfect example. McCray was going down, kept balance, and made the hit the only way he could. If that’s a violation, just give the QB flags on his belt…

    4. The Casillias PF was really bad – the punt returned calls a fair catch, muffs it, and the refs incorrectly blow the whistle! Bad, bad officiating.

    5. The Gay PI call vs Harvin was real bad, as Harvin was doing more to Gay than can be described in a public sector.

    6. Let’s not even start with holding calls – Will Smith needs to seek therapy after the way he was abused…

    I think the game was officiated horribly both ways, but I also think the Vikings benefited from it moreso. Glad to see a Viking fan without team goggles on.

  • Saints Fan

    First of all, good analysis. I commend both teams for a great game! Now for the whining: the “bad calls” that some of you all are whining about….refs are part of the game live with it! the refs will be 50% with their calls. The hits of Favre….the first one by Bobby Mcray was a good hit. Favre was not “defenseless” as one poster here said. Favre was a blocker and got his arse laid out! And please don’t tell me that Favre never blocks. How bout that fine at the beginning of the year for a low block? Next was how dare a Saints defensive lineman hurt poor wittle Favre’s ankle. He could (from Mike) “have simply run the ball into position for the field goal instead of throwing an interception.” Umm…how did Favre end his last stint with Green bay? With a pick! HA HA HA….It’s football!!! Injuries can happen. Face it my Nordic friends, this game was sloppy, but too many mistakes of the Vikings part. It was like they were carrying a ball sprayed with Crisco. Some “expert analysts” stated before the game that turnovers were going to determine that outcome. And, as I hate to admit they were right….they were right! Call it what you will, the better team is going to the Superbowl.

  • Mike

    The refs sent the more needy team to the Super Bowl.

  • George

    Mike: What we are saying is that the bad calls were not one sided. There was no conspiracy by the refs to have the Vikings lose. The refs did not have anything to with the turnovers. Peterson lead the league in fumbles and that hasppened during the regular season. I was not shocked he fumbled in this game. His own coach benched him for a while because of this. And about Favre’s picks…
    I am not a Vikings hater. I think Fran Tarkenton was probably the best QB that ever played the game. But there was not an officiating conspiracy here!

  • Mike

    I don’t believe Favre will come back, nor do I think he should, if the refs in the NFL are going to continue to allow teams to hit him late 17 times a game, including below the kness, like the cage’n SOBs did and planned to do from the start. Who dat damn dirty Saints? I hate that SOB Greg Williams, and hope he gets what he deserves, like maybe his house flooded.

  • Mike

    No team hit Favre late like that the whole year. He was a mess in the locker room. He couldn’t survive a whole season of that. Neither could Drew Brees. Nobody could. I am disappointed the Vikings offensive lineman didn’t come to Favre’s aid by tearing off the head of that wimp McCray. Also our defensive linemen should have pummeled little Brees into the ground even after he had released the ball. Screw them dirty Saints!

  • BA

    The better team DID NOT win. Refs and fumbles and bad coaching aside, the Vikings were the superior team in every category. First Downs: Vikes 31, NO 15. Rush yards: 165/68. Pass yards: 310/189. Total yards: 475/257. The Vikings outplayed the ‘Aints the entire game. Held them to 28 points until the end, despite them scoring 45 against the Cards the week before.

    It was the mistakes/penalties/boneheaded coaching at critical moments that did them in. Lack of discipline? Bud Grant used to have his players line up on the 20, helmets to the side, at attention, for the National Anthem. They asked him why. It seemed such a minor thing. He believed that mental mistakes, not physical, mattered in football. That in the chaos of a game, if a team has mastered the details, they will make the right calls. This 2009 Vikes team lacked the discipline Sunday, for some reason (because they had it in surplus when they dismantled the Cowpokes the week before.) I believe that if Washington had beat NO or Vikes beat Chicago, we wd have had home field and won the game.

  • winkie

    stats Reflect trends. trends are not set in stone. those stats mean jack and shite, when compared to the score.

    Drew Brees has lead the league in passing the past few years td’s and yrds. Hasn’t helped him much till this year. why? because he has a defense that gets him the ball back, a defense that’s trademark is aggressively going after the ball. The best team won because they made the plays.

  • http://saintsreport ollie

    there were bad calls agaisnt the saints too, i told you vikings fans that brett would help his favorite team as a child to the SB,and he did.thank you Mr.Farve “WE WHO DATS STICK TOGETHER”,so quit your crying the vikings fans dreams were fumbled away to bad,suck it up becuz with the coach who got his contract extension was more important than winning the NFCCG.LMAO its great how chilly screwed the QB’S on the vikings this year,VIKINGS go back to cellar 2010..later

  • Mike

    I bet the Saints beat the Colts. President Obama, who has already publicly expressed his sympathies for the needy city of New Orleans, likely told the NFL and refs (sometime before their game with the Vikings) to send them a Super Bowl. Now everyone will know why they are called the Big Easy.

  • Mike

    New Orleans has already cancelled school the day after the Super Bowl (probably because they already know if they will win).

  • John

    It took you how many superbowls to figure this out? Of course it’s fixed, everyone with a clue knows that. The owners at the beginning of the year get together and choose a winner, and orchestrate the whole season. You think Theisman was pleased when they told him at the beginning of the year that he’ll be the sacrificial lamb and get his leg snapped like a twig? They write it into his contract but he got a nice compensation out of it. This way the NFL can say, “we’re legit because it’s real and people get hurt, see!” It happens in Baseball and Basketball too. What are you gonna figure out next, that pro wrassling is staged? It’s all for entertainment value, and what will make good $$ for the leagues.

  • Mike

    I would rather the rich old men controlled sports than the government.

    Oh ya, they control that to.

  • vike for life

    Mike you can”t possibly believe the things that are coming out of your mouth?!?!?!?!?!?! Guess what everybody??? We lost get over it!!!!!! It was a good game, we made too many mistakes and now here we are blaming the refs to help us out for us fumbling and our 12 men in the huddle and we expect the refs to bail us out??? NO!!!! Also, it was more than obvious that all the media and people across the league, wanted us to win because we had BRET FARVE as our qb and it would have been a great story if we would have won. Now we want to put it on the owners getting together and deciding before the season who will win….C’MON MAN.

  • Mike

    We lost because the refs allowed Favre to get hit 17 times without a sack. The Aints even admit they didn’t care if they got penalties. Yet the refs gave them only 2. You are naive if you think either this game or our government isn’t fixed!

  • Mike

    The Vikings will win next year for the Favre story. But they want it to go another year for more money. The Aints need to win this year to restore their flooded out city, which is far more important than Favre!

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