Scoring 7s, Not 3s

Posted by Mike Wobschall on January 22, 2010 – 10:20 am

Anyone with a rooting interest in the Vikings came away from last weekend’s Divisional Playoff game against the Cowboys with positive feelings, and rightfully so. The Vikings registered a complete team win, playing well in all 3 phases of the game along to a 34-3 victory.

But as any perfectionist of NFL player/coach will tell you, there’s always room for improvement. And that is especially the case when you’re preparing for the a conference championship game, where even the slightest flaw might be the difference between suiting up in the Super Bowl or suiting up for an offseason on the beach.

One area that could turn out to be crucial on Sunday is turnovers and, specifically, getting points off of turnovers. Considering the Saints and Vikings had the league’s highest-scoring offenses, respectively, adding extra points by scoring them off of turnovers could be a significant factor.

And therein lies a potential area of improvement for the Vikings coming off their seemingly flawless victory over Dallas. The Vikings turned Dallas over 3 times last Sunday – 2 fumbles and 1 INT – but they were only able to tally 6 points off of those 3 turnovers.

The Vikings recovered a fumble in the 1st quarter on their own 35, but a sack on 3rd down led them to a 3-and-out, which resulted in a punt. Dallas lost another  fumble in the 2nd quarter giving the Vikings possession on the Dallas 20. But a negative run and then a penalty resulted in a Ryan Longwell FG. Finally, Dallas was intercepted by LB Ben Leber in the 4th quarter but a 3-and-out series from the Cowboys 15 resulted in another FG.

So the Vikings wound up with just 6 points off of 3 turnovers, 2 of which gave them possession inside the red zone.

Those are numbers that must be improved if the Vikings are to upset the Saints this weekend at the Louisiana Superdome. And offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell indicated as much on Thursday while meeting with reporters.

“I think it’s huge,” Bevell responded when asked about scoring TDs instead of FGs inside the red zone. “It’s a game where you have the two highest scoring teams, so you know both teams are going to put points on the board…Any time we get down there and have opportunities to get points, you want to be able to make them seven.

“Obviously, if you can get three, you want to continue to get them, but seven points will be big in this game.”

By the way, the Vikings scored TDs on 62.3% of their red zone trips during the 2009 regular season, a rate that was 3rd best in the NFL. They also led the NFL with 43 red zone TDs and with 27 red zone passing TDs.

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Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 21 Comments »

21 Responses to “Scoring 7s, Not 3s”

  1. By Canadian Viking on Jan 22, 2010 | Reply

    Did anyone see the Favre backups, piece that NFL network aired last night? They had a whole bunch of guys being interviewed on what favre was like as a mentor and some funny stories about him. It was hilarious and also gives me hope for a guy like T-Jack to really become a team leader in the future.

  2. By Derek on Jan 22, 2010 | Reply

    Great point, Mike. You don’t hear that kind of in-depth stuff on ESPN. Keep it up.

  3. By Bigfan1 on Jan 22, 2010 | Reply

    Absolutely sevens win games not threes.

  4. By Rick on Jan 22, 2010 | Reply

    Very relevant analysis in “7s, not 3s”. Thank you Mike. Now to another topic… the Prince fight song that’s all over the news today. The Vikes have to get rid of it. It’s awful. The lyrics are foo foo and trite and the melody and instrumentation is like a cross between 1999, Sesame Street Theme Song, and A Mighty Fortress is Our God. Too many confused genres. I’m a singer/songerwriter and I can tell you that Prince ain’t no John Philip Sousa. Better to raise Sousa from the Dead for one more great “Vikings March”.

  5. By larry on Jan 22, 2010 | Reply

    Hey fans ever heard of Noetic Science on Sunday night we need to as a unit think choke and get into Drew Brees’ head every time he walks to the line work with me

  6. By rodd b. on Jan 22, 2010 | Reply

    am i the only person who saw so many missed calls that i think the officials had BIG money on the cowboys AND thse saints.
    I heard the crew for the (vikes vs cowboys) our game don’t call many fpr pass int. they missed easy calls on the them vs. berrian @ the sideline and on 3rd down vs. percy up the middle and a few others, yet they called us on some questionable ones. also when they ran their wildcat formation in the 1st qtr. (?) they did the high/low on edwards i beleive. while engaged with the tackle, another cowboywent for his knees. not once during the game did an announcer say a word. wait, the did say the one on harvin was an obvious call. but hey it was troy aikman. of course hes not giong to be biased!!!
    during the saints game i saw much of the same. questionable calls against arizona, and none vs. NO.( go to NFL networks video) i saw it live and found a replay of it on the bush record breaking punt return. posted 1-20-10 on the X-factor / r.bush …. @ :18 seconds THE MOST obvious block in the back to spring him up the 1st hole.
    i hope……no pray that we get an inpartialcrew for the games , so we see the best and most deserving teams advance and not who the league, networks or who the refs have their game checks riding on.

  7. By viking101 on Jan 22, 2010 | Reply

    yes i do trust longwell’s leg, but touchdowns are the key to quiet down the crowd early. that’s the bottom line. score quickly and often. sorry ryan.

  8. By m. andre on Jan 22, 2010 | Reply

    Always nice to score 7, but 3 works if the other guy gets 0! But wait a second, “Farve to Rice endzone touchdown!” is more fun than “the kick is up and good”. Much appreciation for everything the whole team does to make a win possible.

  9. By VikingsDefenseFan on Jan 22, 2010 | Reply

    Can’t discount the 3’s too much.. I mean look at the Jets.. Who only won because Kaeding missed 3 field goals :)

  10. By VikingsDefenseFan on Jan 22, 2010 | Reply

    Err not 3, ” 1 “. Had 3 on my mind hehe.

  11. By Logan on Jan 23, 2010 | Reply

    Its definitely a true fact that we can’t, or any team, can’t settle and be satisfied by field goals constantly. Especially the caliber and explosive complex west coast offense and talent with personnel that we have. Touchdowns are what is key and critical hands down. Everyone from Rice, Harvin, Berrian, Shiancoe, and AP will extend plays and battle to get to the end zone. favre and Rice will be on the same page and connect several times every series on sunday nite.

  12. By tony on Jan 23, 2010 | Reply

    one of the big keys is to get heavy pressure on brees, and protect favre, and no turn overs

  13. By tony on Jan 23, 2010 | Reply

    yes, the vikings need to get 7 not 3. and a lot of 1st downs run that clock!

  14. By gmoney on Jan 23, 2010 | Reply

    Rodd, you only see calls for the team that your going for missed because thats all you want to notice. Its that simple and its human nature ;)

  15. By BJ on Jan 23, 2010 | Reply

    Saints Win!!!!!!!!

  16. By BJ on Jan 23, 2010 | Reply

    Saints willl win BIG!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  17. By TW Vike on Jan 24, 2010 | Reply

    Triple 777s for Adrian! AP breeses past Saints!

  18. By jc on Jan 24, 2010 | Reply

    gmoney, thats bullsh!t I seen the same plays hes talkin’ about and there was alot of missed calls. Go back and look I mean keith ball baby brooking had his elbow on bennards throat for 6 seconds and there was no flag. Absoulute joke of refereeing!

  19. By hans on Jan 24, 2010 | Reply

    Once again Vikings lose due to special teams not getting it done, and conservative mindset. Vikings put themselves in a perfect place to put the game away and do not get the chance. Watch the Colts,(who are going to the Superbowl) they are winning the game in he 4th quarter and there were no signs of consevativeness.

  20. By J.C. on Jan 25, 2010 | Reply

    This game was horrific. If the missed calls had been both ways, I would have thought the refs were just letting them “play,” and then I would have felt better, but it wasn’t that way at all.

    Officials missed at least five crucial holding calls on the offensive line that would not have been “picky” calls. If they had called those, their arms would have been tired. There was a lot of holding going on, more than I have seen in any regular season game.

    The late hits of Farve were inexcusable. And I was upset last week at how it occasionally happened with Warner, but when the Saints did the thing with one defensive lineman hitting high and the other man going for the knees, I finished considering the Saints as a team I will root for in the championship game. But there was no flag, an absolute joke.

    And then the ultimate happened. The interference call when the defensive player didn’t touch the receiver was a classic, but not to be outdone, the next play–a dropped pass refs ruled complete after looking at it for a long period of time was the ultimate. Did they not see it touch the ground? I’ve seen examples where slow motion was the only way to detect it, yet the refs were able to get it right. They didn’t here.

    What I don’t understand is this: why didn’t the Saints just hand it to one of the refs in the first play of Overtime and let one of them run the ball into the End Zone? I mean why not? Given the biased calls, it would have saved viewers a lot of time.

    And by the way, I refuse to be a fan of any team that goes for a player’s knees. I was a fan who was impartial and would love to have seen either the Vikes or Saints in the Big Game, but it’s not going to happen.

    My ultimate question is this? if this type of officiating is the standard for Super Bowl Sunday, I hope they just decide to skip it and go to the boring Pro Bowl. At least there, no one tries to intentionally hurt anyone, and at least there, no one appears to have greased anyone’s palms to ensure that the “right team” wins.

    I did not like the officiating in this game. I’ve watched football since the 60’s regularly, and this game was the absolute worst, and I’m not really a rabid Vikings fan.

  21. By J.C. on Jan 25, 2010 | Reply

    Oh, and the only “special team” that hurt the Vikes was the group of clowns who did the officiating. Again, absolutely horrible. They are the worst calls in any game that I have ever seen, and in my over forty years of watching the sport, I’ve occasionally seen some bad ones. This one is a classic.

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