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Credit The Steelers, Don’t Blame Playcalling

Posted by Mike Wobschall on October 26, 2009 – 2:35 pm

The Vikings under Brad Childress have been one of the league’s most proficient rushing teams, averaging 139.7 yards per game on the ground and 4.6 yards per carry since 2006, numbers that are both ranked 2nd in the NFL over that span. The Vikings also rank 2nd over that time period in rushes of 10+ yards with 208 and 4th in rushing 1st downs with 376.

But the going on the ground wasn’t as smooth on Sunday against Pittsburgh, where the Vikings averaged just 3.9 yards per carry on 23 tries and had just 5 rushing 1st downs. As a result, the Vikings had to take it to the air, with QB Brett Favre throwing a season-high 51 pass attempts.

“You’d always like to be able to exert your will and run it all the time,” Childress said on Monday. “Sometimes logic dictates that you don’t and you spread people out a little bit more and you do some other things. In a perfect world you don’t want 51 throws for us, the way we play football.”

With the Steelers so stout against the run on Sunday, I think the Vikings had to adjust their game plan a bit on the fly. So credit goes to the offensive coaching staff for identifying the issue and making the corrections. While the Vikings didn’t abandon the run – Adrian Peterson had 18 carries for 69 yards – they definitely leaned on the air attack more than usual. And the players responded, with Favre passing for a season-high 334 yards and WR Sidney Rice hauling in a career-high 11 receptions.

But credit also goes to the Steelers, who forced the Vikings to at times deviate away from their preferred offensive mode of operation. One such time occurred near the goal line in the 3rd quarter, where the Vikings called 2 consecutive pass plays from the 1-yardline on 2nd and 3rd down. Previously on a pair of 1st down plays (an offsides penalty against Pittsburgh afforded the Vikings an extra 1st down play), Peterson lost 1 yard, which along with a struggle to run the ball near the goal line earlier in the game caused the Vikings to go to the air on 2nd and 3rd down.

The decision to throw passes on 2nd and 3rd down was met with some criticism following the game, and Childress was asked about those playcalls during his press conference on Monday.

“You do what you see fit right there,” Childress explained. “We took our stabs at it (running the ball)…the best avenue we thought to go. We ran it down at the other end. It took us a while to get it in and we didn’t want to repeat a couple of those plays because they’re (the Steelers) coached on that side, too. We had a los yardage play there (on 1st down)…and just thought the better avenue to go was to move it a little bit.”

It’s easy to play Monday morning quarterback right now and criticize the Vikings for not running the ball near the goal line, but the offensive staff doesn’t have the luxury of time that we as second-guessers have.

In the past, Childress has been criticized for being too predictable, and running the ball 4 times in a row in spite of continually being stonewalled by a tough Steelers defense likely would’ve resulted in more criticism anyway.

So rather than piling on and placing the blame on the decision to call pass plays instead of run plays, I give credit to the Steelers for playing great defense and coming up with a goal line stand.

After all, we’re quick to credit our defense for excellent play when they make a goal line stand against someone else’s offense.


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Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 46 Comments »


46 Responses to “Credit The Steelers, Don’t Blame Playcalling”

  1. By bleedingpurple on Oct 26, 2009 | Reply

    how can you not blame the refs? the tripping flag call cost the vikes 14 points and the game. viks lose to a bad call again!

  2. By Robb T. on Oct 26, 2009 | Reply

    I don’t credit the Steelers nor do I blame the Vikes play calling. I blame the HORRIBLE HORRIBLE Calls by the Refs against the Vikes causing them a T.D. The Holding call when there clearly was no holding and even the commentators said it was clearly a bad call. The Tripping call, Terrible! The defender was clearly blocked properly. The NFL needs to get rid of the old, and yes I mean old as in age, refs and get people in there that still have 20/20 eyesight!

  3. By Idaviking on Oct 26, 2009 | Reply

    My only concern witht he play calling was takking a knee before half down 3 points when the Vikes were kicking off in the 3rd, and the lack of hurry up when Rice made the 1st down in bounds at the end of the game. Biggest mistakes of the game…almost like we played for the loss. Next week is a new week and we have to focus on that now.

  4. By Charles on Oct 26, 2009 | Reply

    Please, Peterson in the backfield, in the red zone, run the ball!! Tie it up and go into OT if you have too, but do not throw the game away.

  5. By Viking-ology on Oct 26, 2009 | Reply

    The refs. definitly made some terrible calls, I know you gotta take that in stride as ‘part of the game’ but that was tough. The Vikes still had thier chances… learn from it, and move on.

  6. By purplegang61 on Oct 26, 2009 | Reply

    I’m almost glad they got the first loss out of the way (probably should have happened against Baltimore). The pass D definitely stepped up compared to a week ago. Lost count of how many three and outs they forced. They played good enough to win, but a couple of bad bounces (and calls) prevented them from doing so, as often happens in the NFL. I believe they’re as good as any team in the NFC (and maybe the league). A lot of season left. Go Vikes!!!

  7. By Vikings Fan from Afar on Oct 26, 2009 | Reply

    About That Goal-Line Stand

    ”That’s the biggest point of the game,” safety Ryan Clark said. ”You have the best running back in the world and you don’t give it to him. They’re saying they can’t beat us running, and that’s a major statement when you have the guy they have back there.”

    http://www.dailynorseman.com/2009/10/26/1100827/about-that-goal-line-stand

  8. By Oly Garbo on Oct 26, 2009 | Reply

    Really a pretty good game with two really good teams. I have to say the bad tripping call was a monster … 14 point swing. But we were right back in it. The last pick pass was a shorty and should have been pretty safe … kind of a crowd though Brett…Pack next week .. we still have a great team..GO VIKES!

  9. By Mugwa on Oct 26, 2009 | Reply

    Waaaah, Waaaah, Waaaah. You guys can cry about the calls and play the “What if” game all you want. The Steelers won. All teams have games where everything doesn’t go their way, How about Mendenhall fumbling on the three yard line? Great teams overcome the obstacles. Losers cry about the calls.

  10. By VikeReceiver on Oct 26, 2009 | Reply

    I think that it was overall a great game. We did have to lean on our pass game more than we would have liked, but we did good. We were killed by penalties, and yes that bad tripping call that cost us a 14 point spread was one of them. Chester Taylor should’ve had that last pass, it went right through his hands, so don’t blame Brett. We just need to work on securing the ball. Overall, we could’ve done better, but I’m glad we lost now instead of in the playoffs. Let’s go into next week feeling good about our playing and try to fix some of those mistakes. It’s another chance, and we can’t lose to the Pac! Skol Vikes!

  11. By ray on Oct 26, 2009 | Reply

    The vikes actually played pretty well. Besides kneeling down before the half when we still had a time out and not being able to move the ball 9 inches on that goal line stand. We played good. Chester taylor cost us the game in reality we probably would have one it in the last seconds, or at the minimum tied. The steelers D and the steelers are really not that great, the teams besides us they beat had horrible records. We were overdue for a loss anyways. This is a good team but its not 98 and we arent a 15-1 team. Hopefully a 11 to 12 win team.

  12. By Becharmer on Oct 26, 2009 | Reply

    rumor has it Chilly dressed up in a wig, stockings and a dress on flight to philly. Good luck you vike fans. What a coach.

  13. By MIKE BALSEWICZ on Oct 26, 2009 | Reply

    vikes suck…favre rules ///pack wins by a landslide next week

  14. By balsey on Oct 26, 2009 | Reply

    that last guy is 100% correct!!!!

  15. By Radzinwisconsin on Oct 26, 2009 | Reply

    Hey Muggwa, A delay of game called on a corner for moving his arms while preparing to jam the receiver now thats un heard of!!!!! Eat S**T

  16. By Greg on Oct 26, 2009 | Reply

    The tripping call was bad, but not horribale. The player’s leg did come up. However, that is normal for that type of block. Your legs do not remain tied toghther when you lay your body out. Unfortunately the refs have more than 1 player to watch. With that being said, the flag should be resaerved for the non-questionable calls. The interception was not a bad play. Chester Taylor is a great receiving back. This was a safe play. If you approach a game with the belief that your players are not going to catch even the easy ones, the game is lost before kick off. A win would have been nice, but the team played well on the road against the defending champs. No surprise when 2 of the best teams play down to the end. Now it is time to prepare to win against the Pack.

  17. By Radzinwisconsin on Oct 26, 2009 | Reply

    Johnston,Albert,and that fat puke in the endzone goose just homered the steelers all game to they realized the Vikings offense moved the ball on a average over 107 yards on two drives negated by fluke turnovers. I had to mute my set it was like Aikman and Buck which more then likely will be calling this weeks game. Our radio annoucers may smoke crack n snort a little glass but they know what i want to hear as a football fan.

  18. By hp on Oct 26, 2009 | Reply

    What’s with the bogus 14 point bs?
    Those were two different plays.
    Plus, it’s not like the steelers didn’t have a td called back also on a “pick.”
    14 points! 14 points!
    C’mon, grow up. You sound like six year olds.

  19. By Becharmer on Oct 26, 2009 | Reply

    Hey vike fans. Have fun when Favre loses the big games. He did it to us over and over again. You should have at least two more losses. Can’t wait for Rodgers to bury the Vikes. So sick of the Favre talk. Hope everyone in the stadium is silent when he walks in and all are wearing number 12 jerseys. Go Pack

  20. By Jean Laurent on Oct 26, 2009 | Reply

    That was the worst officiating I’ve seen in years! When are we going to call the refs on their horrible officiating? How can we sit back and watch them GIVE the game to the Steelers?! How about the NO flag against the Syeelers when one of their players was ALL OVER our receiver in the 4th quarter? Tripping call? Calling back a touchdown due to a ridiculous (and false) penalty? Outrageous! When one of the refs was in the way and got plowed down, did you notice all the Steelers helping him out on the field? Wanna know why? Becaue he was one of their VIP palyers! LOL………….tiime to get new refs – these guys were obviously for the home team.

  21. By ibleedpurple on Oct 26, 2009 | Reply

    i think refs should get fined as well as suspended for game changing calls.
    they seen to it that the steelers came out with the win. I mean there was more than one BAD call that went the way of the steelers. i mean the sidney rice play where he had his feet inbounds by 6 inches at least. it is a shame when even commentators said thats a bad call over and over again!!!.

    and for you packer fans its only a matter of time until
    the vikes takes this anger out on you. i cant wait to rub it in!!

  22. By purppleater on Oct 26, 2009 | Reply

    watch the clock at 7 mins left of the 4th the clock was goin down by 2′s and when rice went out of bounds the clock stayed running

  23. By Former Packers Fan on Oct 26, 2009 | Reply

    Bad calls going Pittsburgh’s way? How can this be??? Of course we had “hometown” officiating!

    But, let’s put two and two together. Last fall, Steelers’ owner, Dan Rooney comes out in a big way for Obama for President. Now, Rooney is ambassador to Ireland. Also now, the head of the NFL players union is a former Obama official who worked in the Justice Dept. under AG Eric Holder.

    You don’t think there was pressure put on the officials to make sure the calls went Pittsburgh’s way? Hmmmmm? Makes you think doesn’t it?

    Yes, the Vikes made a few mistakes, but these controversial calls just suddenly seemed to appear exactly when they directly affected the outcome of the game. I’ve watched football for 30 years and never heard a defensive player charged with “delay of game”! The Vikes also played their hearts out and deserved a better shot at winning without having to play against 16 men on the field!

  24. By ohioviking on Oct 26, 2009 | Reply

    How can you not fault the play calling to an extent. You have the best running back in the N.F.L and he isn’t on the field with the game on the line. Not once but twice. You could see the detection on A.P. s face after the that ridiculous call of an inside screen that went so wrong. Yes the tripping call was bull**** and was a big turning point.But once again your in Pittsburgh. Remember last weeks spot that got them a first down. The league said the camera gave a different view than what was on the field. If the Steelers defense was so good why did the Vikes outgain them by almost 150yards and 15 minutes in time of possession. With all that behind the team they still played a good game. Just come back and win on sunday. GO VIKES

  25. By Mugwa on Oct 26, 2009 | Reply

    WOW! You guys must have a really gret team when a five yard penalty can cost them the game. I have seen a defensive delay of game called, but it is rare. It happens mostly when a defensive player kicks the ball from in front of the center. It is a rare penalty, and even more rare when it costs a GREAT TEAM the foot ball game. LOL (P.S. The other team has six rings)

  26. By PurplePeopleEater on Oct 26, 2009 | Reply

    Mugwa, are you trying to be a moron? The point being made was only that the Delay of Game call on defense was more proof that the refs were doing everything they could to give Pitt the win. The ones that cost us the game are the ones that negated two touchdowns. The first being a “hold” call simply because the guy got blocked to the ground. The second being a tripping call, on if anything a chop block. But it didn’t even count for this because it was done by a lineman protecting the pocket. That’s a routine block done in many situations and never called for a penalty, (except of course if it helps out the Steelers).

    On the other side of things, there were plenty of plays where the Steelers were doing things far worse and arguably deserving of ACTUAL penalties at times, but were never called for. AND as has been mentioned, the call that the receiver was out of bounds on that great sideline catch should have easily been called in our favor to begin with, but cost us our last challenge because of the Steelers Reffing Crew.

  27. By Remata on Oct 26, 2009 | Reply

    I think Vikings played up to their potential, Unfortunately Brad Childress took some bad decisions during the RED ZONE by not giving the ball to our beast running back AP. we still had a chance to TIE the game if we can’t make it to TOUCHDOWN. In a big games like this, Coach should take good decisions. Common Coach!!! GO VIKINGS!!!!

    GB don’t have guts to beat VIkes… We are no 1.

  28. By Candyman on Oct 27, 2009 | Reply

    Its real easy to look back and change one or two play calls when they did not work. I think the best thing to come out of this loss was the fact that the Vikings did play well enough to win the game. It wasnt a blow out or a massacre. Just one, two, or three big plays or bad penalties to cost the game.

    And I would like to add that I am recovering Packers fan, and decided to to follow Favre instead of the sticking with the team. How can you dump all over a guy who never missed a game in sixteen years. I am so sick of hearing about Favre never won when i counted. Every year, only one team can win the Super Bowl..does that mean every other quarterback in the league sucks and chokes everytime the game is important. NO!! Every game is important in the NFL because there is only sixteen of them in the regular season and its not like the playoffs are best of seven. Its win or go home

    I believe this is the most talented team that Brett is ever been on and the pack will be destroyed again this week…just like monday night football. I have had more fun this last 7 games as a Vikings fan, than any other season watching football.

  29. By purple08 on Oct 27, 2009 | Reply

    whats with all the idiots coming out of the woodwork all of a sudden? stick to your own teams websites. don’t blame chester taylor for that pic. we win as a team and lose a a team. favre threw the ball too early and too hard. it happens. we were lucky a couple times this year and we were unlucky against the steelers. did we really think we were going to go 16-0? a non divisional loss in the champs backyard and we outplayed them bigtime. it will only make us better. we should be very hungry going into green bay. we have seen how this team responds after a big win… now let’s see how we play after a big loss. i can only say one thing about the packers this week…” I pity the fools! “

  30. By TexasViking on Oct 27, 2009 | Reply

    Regardless, I still think we need a better coach. Yes, we are 6-1 and it is awesome. However, we still need a better coach than Brad C. He still does not have that confidence on the sidelines that all good coaches have. The talent of the Vikings players is what has saved his job. That can only last so long. You need solid coaching and the Vikings do not have that. We still need a better coach. The Vikings are good but would be outstanding with a better coach!

  31. By Jean on Oct 27, 2009 | Reply

    Go Candyman! I’m with you on this one. Let’s see how the officiating goes in Lambeau Field.

  32. By Pack-Man on Oct 27, 2009 | Reply

    unbeleivable how you guys are whining about the refs! The Steelers lost a TD to a bogus “offensive pass interference” call as well. Nobody seems to be noticing the hold on Keyaron Fox that enabled Harvin to turn the corner on his runback, that wasn’t called either.

    The bottom line is that this was the first time this season the Vikings faced a top-notch capable defense…especially against the run. The only possible exception being Baltimore: and their D didn’t show up last week.

    The Vikings shoudl have been able to overcome this to bring in the W…but they didn’t close the deal. Nuff’ said!

  33. By MiamiJer on Oct 27, 2009 | Reply

    The only good thing about this loss is that it was to an AFC team and won’t hurt the Purple People Eaters come playoff time. If Minnie can beat all of the NFC teams, especially division rivals, all will be well come January. But the ref calls were bad!

  34. By vikingsrule on Oct 27, 2009 | Reply

    Have to agree with ida down by 3 before the 1/2, 24 seconds left ,1 timeout. why take a knee. We’ve all seen what brett can do.take a couple shots & try to get in position 4 at least a fieldgoal.

  35. By Mugwa on Oct 27, 2009 | Reply

    As a fan who observes the Pittsburgh Steelers play every week, I can assure you that the Steeler’s offense wasn’t playing up to par. Maybe Ben was a little intimidated going against Farve. If the offense was on, Minnisota would have been beaten much worse than they were. You guys are really something. You think you outplayed Pittsburgh because you only lost by ten points. I guess Arizona should ask us to give them the Lombardi.

  36. By ibleedpurple on Oct 27, 2009 | Reply

    mugwa the steelers have also played some of the worst teams in the nfl
    and wouldve lost last sunday if not for the ref’s! so i thnk you should “Zip it”
    we showed everyone who the steelers really were! i pick the bengals to win that division!

  37. By Bob on Oct 27, 2009 | Reply

    The tripping call was technically correct, although it isn’t called a lot. However, these typses of calls are usually made if a player is doing the behaviour repeatedly.

    Same goes for Defensive Delay of Game, the Steelers have had that called on them as well, so it’s not unheard of…again usually because a player has done it multiple times.

    Same goes for holding. You can call it marginal all you want, but these rules are there for a reason, and if it’s happening on every play then the Steelers defense suffers as a result.

    All the penalty calls were correct as far as I’m concerned…quit whining…the Vikes had many, many changes and couldn’t take the game, Steelers did…end of story.

  38. By jon on Oct 27, 2009 | Reply

    i understand that bad calls made a big difference in the game but i know that every team who the vikes play against need every break they can get…..we were the better team sunday, and its because of favre and peterson and the entire defense…..favre had over 330 yards passing against the reigning champs…..peterson is a friggin’ plow rolling over defenders and the defense held the steelers to 13 points.

  39. By dmac32 on Oct 27, 2009 | Reply

    If there is anything such as a good loos, this was it. Our defense held the Super Bowl champs to 259 total yards. Without those turnovers, we win handily. I would have liked to see about ten more carries for AD, but Chiily did move away from the conservative play calling. I see that some fans would have liked him to have been more aggressive at the end of the first half. I feel that he made a solid decision in that respect; that’s the exact same thing I would have done in that situation. I also see some are questioning the screen to Chester. Chilly was playing to win. Did you all see all of those people in the box? I though that it was an excellent call and just a fluke play. Brett should have let the play develop, but I guess he felt more pressure than was actually there. All in all, I feel good about our team. We’ve gotten some breaks this season; this was just our time to lose. Hopefully our boys can go out and start a new streak, starting against the Pack.

  40. By Mugwa on Oct 27, 2009 | Reply

    Hey Viking Fans, CALM DOWN. I’m just having a little fun ragging on you guys. I like to read what the opponets are saying. I think it is interesting. You guys are ok. The game may have turned out differently if it were played in Minnisota. Pittsburgh is hard to beat at home. Luck plays a part in every sport. Life isn’t fair. Just be glad that pro football isn’t like college football where the championship is decided by opinion.

  41. By hank on Oct 27, 2009 | Reply

    NO PROBLEM MAGWA BUT I BET THOSE DEFENDING SUPER BOWL CHAMPS ARE HOPING THAT THEY DON’T MEET THE VIKES ON A NEUTRAL FIELD IN FEBRUARY

  42. By hank on Oct 27, 2009 | Reply

    THE SCREEN CALL WAS A GOOD CALL JUST NOT EXECUTED WELL AND I THINK THE CALLS WERE GOING THE STEELERS WAY AND WE STILL HAD A CHANCE TO WIN EVEN WITH THE REFS NOT SEEING WELL

  43. By purple08 on Oct 27, 2009 | Reply

    don’t suck up now mugwa! stick to your guns boy! trash talking is what it is all about. can you dig it? i knew that you could.

  44. By ibleedpurple on Oct 27, 2009 | Reply

    i would like to see better play calling as well with sidney being a threat that he is now line another big physical reciever up next to him. i’d like to see greg lewis get a few shots in the endzone. and chilly needs to wake up and use harvin in a better way. i think you get him in some wide reciever screen and let him do his thing. stop sending the injured guy over the middle FFS

    if chilly doesnt wake up and smell the coffee i wouldnt mind seeing him go

  45. By ibleedpurple on Oct 27, 2009 | Reply

    BOB you should line up for some lasik eye care as well if you think those calls were correct.

  46. By Former Packers Fan on Oct 27, 2009 | Reply

    I just watched the replay of the game on NFL Network. Three things jumped out at me. First, the tripping call was bogus. The reaction from the TV commentators when they saw the replay was unanimous and instant – they said it was a wrong call. It definitely cost the Vikes both a TD and the game momentum. Had they scored there, the crowd would have been far more subdued.
    Second, on the third down and goal from the one, the pass was on target to the receiver- Kleinsasser, he just could hold onto it. The play calling wasn’t bad after Peterson failed twice to run it in. The second down pass was a bit high, but the receiver was at the back of the end zone and the goal post got in the way. If the receiver was two feet closer to the front of the end zone, it’s a touch down.

    Third, the screen pass on the final drive to Chester Taylor was a catchable ball. Taylor took his eyes off the pass a second too soon to look around him and that’s why the pass deflected off his hands. It wasn’t too high. It was just above his head – the place Favre had to throw it to get it over the defense.

    The good news is that the Vikes proved they can move the ball against even the best defenses. They also improved their defense greatly since the near collapse against the Ravens. All the pundits predicted a huge day for the Steelers’ offense. It wasn’t

    I’d look for a big game on both sides of the ball on Sunday. The Packers can’t be too pumped up after beating the Browns! They’re the AFC North’s “Detroit.”

    The Vikes have improved weekly since the season began (the last 8 minute “hiccup” against Baltimore excluded). I’d say they are just getting up a head of steam.

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