Thursday, October 25, 2012

Coming Off the Ledge: Buccaneers 36, Vikings 17

There will be a lot to complain about regarding tonight’s loss (is this another early season defensive mirage that disappears as the season goes along?), but I’ll narrow my focus here.

The Vikings’ offensive problem tonight was an inability to pass protect. Christian Ponder rarely had a chance to step into a pocket and clearly make reads. He was getting chased and hit on just about every dropback, which significantly hindered the Vikes’ ability to pass. Ponder did not look good tonight, but I’m not sure he had an opportunity to look good. Matt Kalil had some tough moments.

And I think the pass protection problem is tied to the Vikings’ glaring weakness at wide receiver. The Vikings have no deep threat to beat a one on one coverage, so tonight the Bucs risked nothing by blitzing heavy. There was no Viking that could really threaten to make a deep sideline catch, and screen plays to the running back aren’t really the Vikings’ game. So how do the Vikes beat a blitz in obvious passing situations? They can't. And yet the Bucs could get to Ponder with a four man rush too.

I don’t know if Ponder is good (it is deep completions that make my heart pitter patter), but I don’t know that he has the chance to show it when his receivers can’t get open and the line can’t block. And a combination of weaknesses makes the Viking offense severely limited going forward this season.


  1. Bucs blitzed a lot, and unless/until Ponder and company make teams pay for it, I wouldn't be surprised if it continues. Although with Ponder missing badly at times even on some swing passes right now, burning a blitz on a crossing route may be a ways away...

    Not sure what to think of Doug Martin. He clearly was outstanding and while the defends was frustrating to watch against him, you got to tip your cap. Although the guy was averaging 4.1 yards per carry coming in...

    Mike Williams was great.

    In the meantime, I think the offense needs to rediscover Rudolph.


    1. jianfu:

      The Vikings made Martin look pretty damn good. Shoddy tackling throughout the game except for a brief spell in the 3rd quarter. And the Bucs O-line had a pretty nice night. Martin was often getting to the second level under little duress.

      You're right about Ponder's inaccuracy. Even when he wasn't pressured, his throws were like buckshot from a shotgun – spraying all over the place. His confidence has to be at a low ebb right now, and that's not good for this offense.

      Rudolph's been quiet the past two games, but that's in large part because of Ponder's struggles. I'm hoping a long week of preparation will help them against Seattle.

  2. May be the worst pass offense in the NFL and for a long time it has been.
    No wide outs in part of the problem, but not the only part.
    A QB who can only throw the lob pass for loner throws, cannot throw the deep sideline, and cannot seem to throw over the middle is a huge problem. is a part of the problem.

    The great defense cannot stop the run and they tackled horribly.

    Very hard to watch this game at all.

    7-9 may be a reach.