In Sunday’s 17-13 win over the Redskins, the Vikings defense got back to the basics and returned to its stout, run-stopping form that we’ve come accustom to over recent years.
From 2006-08, the Vikings ranked 1st against the rush and were 2nd in that category last season. On Sunday, the Vikings allowed a season-low 29 yards on the ground, turning the Redskins offense one-dimensional. Redskins QB Donovan McNabb and Co. turned to the aerial attack, which opened up playmaking opportunities for the Vikings.
With the Redskins pinned deep in their own territory after a Chris Kluwe punt – which I might add Kluwe is playing at a Pro Bowl level this season, so be sure to cast your vote – the Vikings were given perhaps the biggest playmaking opportunity of the game. Following the punt, McNabb’s pass intended for Santana Moss bounced off his chest high into the air and Vikings middle LB E.J. Henderson came down with the ball, making a diving acrobatic INT.
The INT set up a 31-yard FG by K Ryan Longwell with credit going to the defense for coming away with the turnover to put points on the board.
And when we analyze how the defense returned to form on Sunday, the most profound aspect of their dominant play was that of the front 4. McNabb was constantly pressured all day and that came by way of the Vikings defensive linemen outmuscling Washington’s offensive line.
As a group, the front 4 registered 3.0 sacks. Jared Allen improved his sack total to 7.5 on the season (6.5 in his last 4 games), Brian Robison notched his 2nd of the season and 3-year veteran Letroy Guion registered his first career sack.
Also, putting a halt to any sort of offensive momentum for the Redskins was a difference-maker in the Vikings first road victory in over a year. After the Redskins opening drive TD, here’s what the Vikings defense forced Washington to do for the remainder of the game: punt, punt, punt, sack to end the half, punt, punt, INT, FG, FG and punt.
By my count that’s 6 punts and a turnover without allowing a TD, and if the Vikings defense can continue this trend for the remaining 5 weeks, opposing offenses are going to be throwing fits in trying to score.
Tags: Brian Robison, Chris Kluwe, E.J. Henderson, Jared Allen, Letroy Guion
Posted in All, CJ Siewert | 183 Comments »