Top Plays: Vikings at Steelers

Well, this game was frustrating. We know our team’s weaknesses well. The OL struggles, outmatched DBs, and backup QB play bother me. That stuff is expected though to an extent. The aspects of the game that really frustrate me are the unforced errors. With or without Sam Bradford, I expect clean games from a no-nonsense coach like Mike Zimmer. Yet here we are sorting through a TON of nonsense! The game was going to be tough to win anyways, but the performance irked me.

Here are the top plays from the Week 2 loss:

1st and 20 at MIN 27

(3:02 – 1st) Martavis Bryant Pass from Ben Roethlisberger for 27 Yards

Bryant WK2 

Instant Reaction

Good riddance! Bryant absolutely dusted Newman. That play had no chance for the Vikings defense. Ben saw a mismatch pre-snap and took advantage instantly. So many errors on that drive! Robison offside, Rhodes pass interference. They need better play from their best players.

Upon Further Review

The alarming trend with penalties didn’t go away. By the end of the day The Vikings committed 14 penalties (11 accepted for 131 yards). That includes penalties by Xavier Rhodes, Trae Waynes, and Terence Newman that extended Pittsburgh’s drives. The trend spilled over to the offensive side of the ball, where the OL struggled mightily. Pat Elflein was the only #Vikings lineman that didn’t commit a penalty. All those mistakes mightily crippled our team’s chances of victory.

 

4th and 4 at MIN 36

(14:30 – 3rd) (Punt formation) R.Quigley pass incomplete short right to B.Bell (T.Matakevich). Pressure by 31-Hilton.

fake punt

Instant Reaction

What on our green earth was that?! Terrible decision. We just had our 4th 3 and out, You CANNOT give PIT such a short field in an 11 point game. And the play design was terrible too! Come on Zimmer. Can’t believe I’m watching this.

Upon Further Review

Special Teams made error after error after error today. The awful fake punt attempt gifted the Steelers three points. PIT actually missed the FG initially but another error, this time illegal formation, gave Chris Boswell another try that he made good on. Then Kai Forbath missed the extra point to make it a seven point game. And on top of all that the Vikings were starting drives short of their own 20 yard line simply because Jerick McKinnon decided to take kick returns out from deep in the end zone multiple times. It was almost comedic!

 

1st and 10 at PIT 26

(10:00 – 3rd) (No Huddle, Shotgun) D.Cook right tackle to PIT 1 for 25 yards (S.Davis).

Cook WK2

Instant Reaction

Now we’re cooking! The lateral movement on this kid is special. He jumps cuts to the outside, dashes up the sideline, then jump BACK inside to put the Vikings on the cusp. That’s the play we need! That’s why you don’t fake punt!

Upon further review

CJ Ham punched it in one play later for Minnesota’s only touchdown. The Vikings offense actually made some nice plays in the second half. Keenum hit on a post to Adam Thielen, a fade to Stefon Diggs, and a seam to Kyle Rudolph. The latter converted a huge 3rd down. The big plays weren’t enough to overcome OL struggles and penalties though.

 

1st and 10 at PIT 38

(7:01 – 3rd) (No Huddle, Shotgun) B.Roethlisberger pass deep left to M.Bryant to MIN 11 for 51 yards (T.Waynes). Penalty on MIN-T.Johnson, Defensive Offside, declined.

Bryant2 WK2

Instant Reaction

Oof, and now Waynes gets beat again, by Bryant again. He should have the speed to stay with him but he’s reacting far too slowly. A PIT TD here figuratively ends the game.

Upon Further Review

Waynes didn’t come close to cutting it today. He failed on every deep shot. At this point it’s silly to leave him on an island against any strong WR2. Trae got beat earlier on a 49 yard pass interference penalty too. Zimmer responded by promptly benching him. The look on his face said it all. He knew he was getting toasted.

Waynes’ lack of development under Mike Zimmer is inexplicable. With Mike Evans and Desean Jackson coming to town next he needs to improve quickly. I’m committed to giving him 3 years, as I do all draft picks, but it’s not looking good.

4th and 7 at MIN 28

(0:50 – 4th) (No Huddle, Shotgun) C.Keenum pass short middle to A.Thielen to MIN 34 for 6 yards (W.Gay). FUMBLES (W.Gay), RECOVERED by PIT-A.Burns at MIN 39. A.Burns to MIN 39 for no gain (L.Treadwell).

Thielen WK2

Instant Reaction

Well ok. This goes down as a turnover but the real issue is throwing short of the sticks. Thielen worked hard to get open during the quarterback’s scramble. Loved the effort to reach for the first down but he lost control. Game over.

Upon Further Review

I found it interesting that Keenum was so mediocre, given that he didn’t completely meltdown. The ability to limit turnovers was actually a strength in this game, but the offense still did little. We unfortunately got to see how important Sam Bradford is to this team. If he’s out for an extended period of time, I don’t even want to think about it.

 

Final Take

My purple 84 jersey fell to 1-1 today. I’ll try a new jersey for better luck against Tampa Bay. I’ll also expect a much cleaner brand of football. Until then I’m just hoping Sam Bradford gets healthy.

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