Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Birds of a Feather

Packers 24, Vikings 19

Looks like the Twins aren't the only team in town playing just badly enough to lose. Last night the Vikes had the edge in total yards, time of possession, 3rd & 4th down conversions, and committed fewer penalties for fewer yards than the Pack. Really, they played a very good game against a playoff team on the road. The only trouble was they gave up one huge passing play, one huge running play, and one huge special teams play. Each of those 3 plays led to one of the Packers' 3 TDs. I can forgive the passing one in the first half - the coverage was pretty good, and the receiver just made an outstanding athletic play to leap up bring the ball down. As for the other two, poor tackling, defenders out of position, over-pursuit that allowed cutbacks. Blecch.

The 4pm Pacific start time caused me to miss the first half, which may have been a good thing. My buddy Kenneth missed it all, following the play-by-play online. When he joined us just after the end of the game, he said, "Your QB is a mess." I replied, "He did alright." Then Kenneth's wife, Krysta, asked, "Then why did you wince every time he dropped back to pass?"


Tavares Jackson definitely makes me uncomfortable. However, he had a much better 2nd half after getting fewer game speed reps in pre-season than we all would have liked. He led 3 long scoring drives, all of which should have resulted in TDs. The one that didn't was because Jackson's pass to the back of the end zone was broken up by one of his teammates. Even after the TE tipped the ball, the WR still made the catch, but was unable to quite get his second foot in bounds. If the Vikes could have stayed out of their own way there, they would have matched the Pack score-for-score in the game, and been tied in the final minutes.

I don't know that Jackson is capable of leading a winning drive in the closing minutes in hostile territory - that's certainly the time when he made his fatal mistake (his only INT of the game). But I was impressed with how well he hung in the pocket and delivered the ball accurately while absorbing hits, and how he was able to improvise a few times and use his legs to keep the drives moving. He wasn't as good as Aaron Rodgers, obviously, but Rodgers' performance is a bit overrated. That one bomb he threw counted for about 30% of his total yardage - other than that he averaged about 7 yards/completion. He wasn't asked to throw the ball down the field in an attempt to come back, and he wasn't able to sustain any drives in the 2nd half. If I were the Packers, I wouldn't be feeling too overconfident about the win - it was more that Vikings lost.

Looks like the Vikes have a pretty tough schedule this year. I don't expect things to get any easier for them - or for us fans.

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