The score makes it seem like the Vikings dominated, but anyone who saw the game realizes this was not the case. Minnesota was actually outgained by Jacksonville 321 to 226 – 286-104 through the air. David Garrard put up career numbers for the Jags, completing 27 of 45 for 317 yards. The Vikings’ running game was held in check and the passing game – well, best not even mention that. Let’s just say that Gus Frerotte did little to quiet his growing legion of detractors.
They Gave it to Us
This game was pure-and-simple gift-wrapped by the Jaguars and handed over to the Vikings. If you’re a Vikings fan and you know a Jaguars fan – I want you to go up to them and shake their hand and thank them for the great favor their team did ours. It started right from the earliest moments of the game, when Jags center Brad Meester appeared not to realize David Garrard was lined up in shotgun, leading to an errant snap, a fumble and a Napoleon Harris recovery for touchdown. Then, on the ensuing kick-off, another Jags fumble and another Vikes recovery. Three plays later Chester Taylor spun away from a defender, cut left and dashed in to give Minnesota a crowd-quieting 14-0 lead – with only 1:35 having elapsed in the game.
The Jags would spend the rest of the game trying to recover from these two early gaffes. They got help from a typically soft Vikings underneath pass defense and a sputtering Vikes offense – but shot themselves in the foot too consistently to ever get anything going. One of the prime offenders was kicker Josh Scobee, who pulled two first half field goals wide left, contributing to a 7-point halftime deficit for the Jags. As things would turn out, the Jags would muster no offensive points at all in the second half. They were killed by a Matt Jones fumble after a pass reception early in the third quarter, setting up a Ryan Longwell field goal to make it 20-10 Vikes. Meanwhile, the Vikes were finally able to gain some offensive momentum. The big drive came in the fourth – a 10 play, 8:05 clock-chewer capped by a 16 yard Adrian Peterson TD run to make it 30-10. The Vikes defense may have been spotty all day, but they clamped down sufficiently in crunch time to prevent the Jags from getting in scoring position.
We Didn’t Blow It
This was not a game the Vikings went out and grabbed – Jacksonville gave it to us, and the best that can be said for Minnesota is, at least we didn’t give it right back. Brad Childress may not be happy with the overall statistical performance but he must be thrilled by the 5-1 turnover ratio in his team’s favor, and the relatively low total of 5 penalties for his players. If there’s something genuinely encouraging to be taken from this game, it’s that the Vikings at last went on the road and played like the more solid, consistent team. But is this a reflection on us or them? The Jags today were the most discombobulated, skittish, self-destructive squad we’ve faced all year. Even the Lions gave a more solid effort when we saw them. Jack Del Rio has been feeling the heat for weeks, and after today, the temperature is only going to go up more. If they proved nothing else today, the Vikes showed that they can get up on an opponent and keep them down – if the opponent is more disaster-prone than they are.
Antoine Winfield led the Vikings with 12 tackles, and also had a forced fumble.
113 of the Jags’ 286 passing yards went to running back Maurice Jones-Drew. Clearly, this was a case of the Vikes deciding they weren’t going to get burned deep, and the Jags taking advantage with an array of underneath throws. Unfortunately, this didn’t add up to many points for Jacksonville, who have terrible problems finishing off drives.
Kevin Williams led the Vikes with 1 1/2 sacks. Jared Allen was shut out in the sack department for the second straight week.
Bernard Berrian disappeared again, catching only 1 pass for 6 yards. His biggest contributions came on a 19 yard punt return and a couple of reverses.
Visanthe Shiancoe was the Vikes’ leading receiver, catching 3 balls for 60 yards. Sidney Rice showed his value as a possession man, catching 3 balls of his own. Bobby Wade continued his descent into irrelevance by again showing hands of stone.
Chester Taylor’s numbers weren’t that impressive, but he was a big contributor during the Vikes’ two touchdown scoring drives (their third TD came on Nap Harris’s fumble recovery). Our offense looks best when Chester is involved in the pass game.
Adrian Peterson ran 17 times for 80 yards and 1 TD. He sat out the first two series for disciplinary reasons.
Chris Rose and John Lynch are officially the worst announcing duo I’ve ever heard during an NFL game. And I heard Sam Rosen and Jerry Glanville.