What’s the recipe for losing a game when your running back goes for 210 and a touchdown? Measure out a generous amount of bad quarterback play, mix in some terrible third down defense, add a dash of stupid penalties and stir. That was about how it went for the Vikings today. They had a shot at Lambeau Field, thanks mostly to Adrian Peterson, but they blew it. They blew it because Christian Ponder threw two unspeakably awful interceptions. They blew it because the D couldn’t get off the field on third down to save its life. They blew it because they didn’t play with enough discipline.
At the top of the list of culprits today was Christian Ponder. Even his most hardcore defenders have to admit this. He played a miserable game. The interception he threw in the end zone was just about the worst decision you can imagine. Can’t pass that one off on the playcalling or the receivers or the pass protection. That was all on Ponder. It was a throw that never should’ve been made. A second interception later was almost as bad. He just did not look like an NFL quarterback today, outside of one drive in the first half where he led them down for a TD. For most of the game he looked lost. Calls for his benching have been getting louder with each passing week but now they’ve become a roar. But of course the Vikes won’t bench him because they have no one else. Joe Webb is not going to lead this team into the playoffs.
The defense didn’t exactly acquit itself well either. The early part of the game was a comedy of offsides penalties. They were able to get some pressure on Aaron Rodgers but Rodgers got away, as he often does, and still made plays. It was the big plays on third down that really hurt. They had their chances to stop the Packers but didn’t make it happen. It wasn’t a brilliant day for the Packers offensively but it was a good enough day. They ran it enough and made things happen to convert first downs. Defensively, they were totally shredded by Adrian, but had no problem shutting down the Vikings pass game. With Percy Harvin out, the Vikes just have no answers except Kyle Rudolph. And once the Packers made up their minds to take Rudolph away, forcing Ponder to look elsewhere, it just didn’t work.
So the Vikes fall to 6-6. Playoff dreams are fading. Now it’s all about the future. Over the next four weeks, Leslie Frazier and Rick Spielman will have to decide if Christian Ponder is their guy. And if not? Then the QB hunt will begin afresh in the offseason.
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