One of Leslie Frazier’s strengths is the ability to keep a level head in all situations. He’s not one to get too high in times of prosperity or too low in times of adversity. But there was no mistaking Frazier’s emotion after Sunday’s 35-32 loss to the Denver Broncos on Sunday.
He was frustrated with the defensive effort against Denver’s passing attack. Granted, the Vikings have been decimated by injuries in the secondary and were relegated this past week to signing free agents off the street just so there were enough players to dress. But Frazier refuses to use injuries or bad luck as an excuse.
“We can’t make any excuses about it,” Frazier said after the game. “We just did a poor job. We have to identify that somebody who can come back there and make a play for us when the ball is in the air. It’s not good.”
Frazier is right, the defensive effort against Denver’s passing attack was not good. The Vikings gave up 202 passing yards and 2 passing TDs to a passing offense that ranks 31st in the NFL. Broncos QB Tim Tebow was 10 of 15 for 202 yards and 2 TDs on the game, and his top receiver – Demaryius Thomas – had 4 receptions for 144 yards and both of the scores. The Vikings allowed 3 receptions of 40+ yards.
Adding to the frustration for Frazier was the fact that the Vikings weren’t employing a complicated scheme, yet mistakes continued to plague the pass defense.
“We’re just playing a basic coverage with a lead, and to not be able to execute that is a bad thing,” Frazier explained. “It means you can’t play any coverage, not just a base coverage. The fact that we got new guys and we’re rotating guys, we’ve had some injuries, that happens. When you’re out there as a professional athlete, you have to find a way to do your job. We did not find a way to do our job.”
Outside of being visibly frustrated with the pass defense, Frazier did the right thing in not pointing out any individuals who performed below expectations.
“It’s a combination,” Frazier responded when asked if cornerbacks or safeties were to blame. “The corner has to do a great job of jamming the guy. The safety has to do a good job of being able to talk. There should not be that type of gap. We’ve been playing that coverage forever, and to see it played the way it was played today was just bad.”
As frustrated as Frazier and Vikings fans are with the outcome of Sunday’s game, the positives are not be hard to identify. RB Toby Gerhart (91 yards rushing), WR Percy Harvin (156) and QB Christian Ponder (381) all had career days, and Jared Allen recorded another safety and also another sack-forced fumble-fumble recovery. On top of that, the Vikings defense performed well in the 1st half, holding Tebow to just 37 total yards and the Broncos to just one 1st down.
In the end, though, porous pass defense and a late-game INT were enough to doom the Vikings, and sour the excitement that should surround several impressive individual performances.
“There were a lot of guys who were out there fighting and giving tremendous effort,” Frazier said. “Once again, they put us in a situation where we could win the game. We have to take our hats off to Christian and a bunch of other guys, like Percy and Jared and so many others, who fought their tails off throughout. Denver did a good job of battling and getting the tempo in the direction they wanted it to go, and we did a lousy job at defending some of the things they did in the passing game.”
Tags: Jared Allen, Leslie Frazier
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