Week 3: Vikings vs. N'awlins

- wadE

A win is a win... right?

I was at Metrodome for this game, and if you got there late you missed a lot.

The first big surprise of the game was the introductions. As you may have heard, the Vikings introduced their defensive starters. In my 7+ years of going to games, I can maybe remember one time the defense was introduced. Tice's explanation of doing it to fire up the defense is somewhat suspect, but I seriously doubt Daunte would have been booed. We save that for during the games! :-)

The national anthem was sung by Brian Leighton, who is the frontman for GB Leighton... and boy do I hate GB Leighton...oy, they suck. At any rate, he sings it as if he's a country singer, but not badly. But I digress...

Kickoff! The Saints for the second week in a row were kind enough to fumble to the opening kickoff. And with Mike Tice now ok-ing every single play, he took a shot to the endzone on the first play after the turnover (that Steve Loney bastid probably would have ran Moore up the middle), and 13 seconds into the game, the Vikings were up 7-0.

The rest of the first quarter was a dream come true for Vikings fans. The defense was aggressive, got an interception and forced the Saints to punt 2 other times (as well as on their last possesion of the quarter that ended shortly into the second quarter).

The second quarter was very quiet for both offenses, punt NO, punt MN, punt NO, punt MN, punt NO, then there was the prettiest series of the game, one play - a 53 yard TD pass to Troy Williamson. Randy who? :-D

This is about the time that the defense started to get sloppy/tired. The last thing you want when you are up 24-0 and coming up on halftime, is to let the other team get a score of any kind to bulid some confidence on.

Two big runs, and a pass to Ernie Conwell, and suddenly the Saints on the board... and for some reason, Haslett decides to go for two. Ok, at 24-0 you are down by 3 TD/2-pt conversions, so maybe he thought his team could just score twice more and tie the game. And maybe considering that the rest of the 2nd quarter was a defensive game, he thought he might not get too many more scoring opportunities... maybe... But it's the 2nd quarter! This is wayyyy to early to go for two. Predictably, the Saints blow the conversion attempt. 24-6.

One last chance before halftime, and the Vikings are driving... they are in field goal range... and then there is a holding penalty, and a looong sack taken by Culpepper. Back-to-back horrible plays.

Halftime: which featured probably my favorite halftime show, pee-wee football! Usually two different age groups play at each end of the field. The third through 5th graders are the best to watch because you have kids who look like they are two feet tall out there wearing jerseys way to big for them and giant helmets. Outside of the Williamson TD, there was more cheering during halftime than most of the second quarter. The only other halftime entertainment that can even hold a candle to pee-wee football is the dog who chases down frisbees. A definite crowd favorite! I often wonder what they have during halftime in other stadiums. Do the Giants ever have the frisbee chasing dog? Is that way too hokey for them? Anyway...

3rd quarter, the Saints get a FG on their first possession 24-9 (should be 10). Vikes go 5 and out and the punt is run back for a TD.... but there is a flag on the play. Depending on the angle, the replay looks like Nate Poole creamed one of our guys (yes, that Nate Poole, the guy who caught the pass at the end of the 2003 season to knock the Vikings out of the playoffs)... however, the side view shows Poole did nothing. Big break for the Vikings because it should be 24-16, and actually it should be 24-17 if it weren't for the boneheaded move to go for two earlier. Instead, the Saints go 3 and out. You can't underestimate how huge that penalty was, because on their next posession, with our defensive linemen and linebackers obviously running out of gas, the Saints march down the field quickly and score to finally make it 24-16 (should be tied at 24!).

Thankfully the Vikes are able to get a couple more decent drives together, even though they end in field goals, but what if in the late 4th quarter, the Saints were only down 30-24 and just needed a TD to win? Could have been scary, but thems the breaks, and after two horrible weeks, we were due for a break. Additionally, the Saints played terribly, they didn't deserve to win this game.

One more meaningless FG is tacked on for our final 33-16 (24). The good news is that we won, the bad news is that outside of 1 play (53-yard TD to Williamson) the 2nd and 3rd quarters were abysmal for the Vikings offense. Punt, Punt, time runs out for the half, Punt, Punt (w/ nullified TD return), and Punt. Even the first posession of the 4th quarter got us to a 1st down inside the 10 and then settle for FG. I'd really like us to get that killer instinct and put away a team in the 3rd quarter as opposed to getting lucky.

All in all, it was good to get a win under the belt, and it was good to not have to be chewing my fingernails off late in the 4th quarter. The defensive continues to be impressive at times, and downright horrible at moments. Far from a perfect game, but our secondary has talent and depth (thankfully since people are getting injured left and right) which it hasn't had in a decade. The offense tried pounding the ball and had some success. Daunte was sacked 6 times, which shows that his knee isn't doing well, but he's making better decisions with the ball (zero interceptions).

Next week at Atlanta will be the game the probably defines this teams season. I'd expect a loss, but if they can play well in that loss, all is not lost. :-)

- 09/27/2005

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