DBs the Difference
Watching the first half, the Vikings defense clearly stayed in bed for the early kick-off as DeShaun Kizer completed 8 of 12 passes against the vaunted Minnesota secondary and was the gifted time in the pocket by an oddly lethargic pass rush.
That all changed in the second half after the defense was presumably read the riot act at halftime. A fired by defense only allowed Kizer to complete 6 of his 22 attempts after the break as the defensive backs considerably improved their level of play.
Xavier Rhodes returned to his normal lockdown self after giving up a long pass in the second quarter, Trae Waynes turned in what may have been his best performance of the season as he batted away 3 passes and Harrison Smith flew around the field to restrict yardage in his usual manner.
With the secondary playing blanket coverage, the defensive line found additional time to get to Kizer, with all 3 of their sacks coming after the interval. It should come as no surprise that the 3 players mentioned above received a Pro Football Focus grade of over 80 for their trip to London.
Against the Browns the Vikings pass defense could afford to sleep in but with the Redskins, Rams, Lions, and Falcons coming up in consecutive weeks should the secondary take a half off again Minnesota may find themselves in a hole they can’t get out of.