Ponder Sharp On 1st, 2nd Down In Week 1

Posted by Mike Wobschall on September 11, 2012 – 6:22 am

Vikings QB Christian Ponder is by all accounts a reasonable guy. He doesn’t point fingers at coaches or teammates, he is cordial to the media and he is friendly to the fans. But this past offseason, Ponder set a goal for himself that many thought was unreasonable – completing 75% of his passes on 1st and 2nd down this season.

“We want 75 percent completions on first and second downs,” Ponder said. “That’s the number we’re shooting for. Obviously, we were in a lot of third-and-long situations a year ago, and we want to get out of that.”

Being efficient and 1st and 2nd down to avoid 3rd-and-long situations is certainly reasonable. The unreasonable part, for many, comes at the suggestion of a 75% completion rate on 1st and 2nd down. Consider, Drew Brees set an NFL record for overall completion percentage at 71.2% last year, and he was 73.1% on 1st down and 70.4% on 2nd down. So if the guy who set an NFL record for overall completion percent wasn’t able to attain the goal, is it realistic for Ponder to do it in his first full year as a starter? Some may say no, but what’s the point of setting a goal if that goal isn’t ambitious?

It’s only one week, so it’s wise to temper the enthusiasm somewhat. But Ponder attained his goal in Week 1 against the Jacksonville Jaguars. On 1st and 2nd down, Ponder was 17 of 20 (85%) for 218 yards. The numbers break down to 6 of 8 for 63 yards in the 1st half and 11 of 12 for 155 yards in the 2nd half. Ponder was sacked twice (both in the 2nd half), fumbled once, and hit 6 different receivers on his 1st and 2nd down passes (Aromashodu, Asiata, Harvin, Jenkins, Peterson, Rudolph). The Vikings average yards-to-go on 3rd down was 6.4.

The Vikings were not able to convert efficiently on 3rd downs against the Jaguars – they were just 2 of 10 – but the good news is that it wasn’t because of inefficiency in the passing game on 1st and 2nd down. The next step in this process is to continue the success on 1st and 2nd down passing, and to follow that up with better execution on 3rd downs.

Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 22 Comments »

22 Responses to “Ponder Sharp On 1st, 2nd Down In Week 1”

  1. By adam on Sep 11, 2012 | Reply

    Thats how its down.. CP7 to be the best in the NFL in a few years

  2. By Mark B on Sep 11, 2012 | Reply

    Ponder had a good game – now he needs to string 3 to 4 starts just like it together. A good start to the season (2-2 or 3-1 in the first 4 games) should go a long way towards silencing the critics.

    Is it too much to ask for a couple TDs however?

  3. By Jeff L on Sep 11, 2012 | Reply

    Who cares whether Ponder or Peterson gets them, as long as we get TD’s? Skol!

  4. By Baba-Kluwe on Sep 11, 2012 | Reply

    The TD’s will come, Ponder was the highest rated QB in the red zone last year. The Offense just needs to be productive in all 4 quarters. If they would have played as hard in the first half as they did in the second, we would have blown the JAGS out. And I was impressed with Jacksonville, I bet they beat Houston next week.

  5. By willie on Sep 11, 2012 | Reply

    db lets get it 2geather

  6. By Baba-Kluwe on Sep 11, 2012 | Reply

    VIKES 34, COLTS 23

  7. By willie on Sep 11, 2012 | Reply

    a baba kluwe i say vikes 17-colts 17

  8. By Dave on Sep 11, 2012 | Reply

    Baba-Kluwe. With Houston’s O-line, I see the Jags losing. They protect Shaub for days and the run blocking is outstanding. Foster and Tate will burn the Jags. Gabbart isnt good enough yet. Anyways, great game for us. Colts shouldnt be too bad. Definitely have a good chance to win it. Colts D is hurtin

  9. By goresumebuilder on Sep 11, 2012 | Reply

    Lets Go Vikings! The win in week 1 was great but now it’s time to keep this going and beat the Colts.

  10. By Baba-Kluwe on Sep 11, 2012 | Reply

    Yeah, the JAGS will probably lose, but I hope it’s at least a close one. If they get blown out it kind of devalues our win against them.

  11. By Baba-Kluwe on Sep 11, 2012 | Reply

    Colts are a mess. 5 turnovers, wow! They’ll probably win more games than last year and eventually they’ll really start to improve, buy it won’t happen between now and sunday.

    I bet half of our points will come from turnovers.

    After them I don’t know. SF, I don’t even want to think about. DET, I just have a gut feeling we beat them twice this year. TEN and ARIZ, I think we beat. I’m 50/50 on SEA and TB. By the time we play the Rams they could be rolling. WASH looks pretty impressive. And then theres GB and CHI twice, and HOU.

    So many of our players are either young and/or new. I think, after the COLTS, most of our wins will be by the skin of our teeth. It’s going to be exciting season, but Fraziers gonna need surgery for an ulcer at the end.

  12. By vikingsfan1955 on Sep 11, 2012 | Reply

    I’m not saying thye next game will put us in the playoffs but if you look at the teams that our nfc central play we can be alone at the top of our division for a week since gb lost last week. i think a good win against the colts will help build confidence in the team and i see we have a chance to be the surprise team this year. Our team fought together and found a way to win and yes they came out rusty but got it together and didnt panic when it looked the the days of old and we would let another win slip away.The guys love the coaching staff we have and I know they will make this team better this yr and next we will be totally at the top of our division.just wait till simpson can play opposite harvin, plus I saw good things from the recivers last week. I’m a believer in this team and coachs so give things time to gel.I think ponder did very well because he didnt make any int’s and when he had no one open he didn’t try to force the ball, his decision making was better. i saw some real good throws from him and he has come a long way from last yr

  13. By GoLong on Sep 11, 2012 | Reply

    It’s only one game, but averaging over 6yds to go on 3rd down just ain’t gonna cut it fellas. Gabbert and the Jags are not that good and they still held on to the ball more than 10 min longer than we did. That comes down to our OL and DL. If we can’t control the line of scrimmage against a team like the Jags, we’re in for a tough year.

    This week’s game against the Colts is listed as a toss-up, which means that Vegas sees the Vikes really as a 3 point favorite. Obviously this would be a great game to have because the 49ers are right around the corner. Unfortunately, it has been our misfortune as Vikings fans that if there is ever a milestone at stake (in this case Andrew Luck’s 1st NFL win), the Vikes always seem to be the goat. That trend continues this week..despite a late charge by Ponder and company, it’s not enough to overcome the hole dug by the defense and the Vikes go down 24-20.

  14. By Baba-Kluwe on Sep 11, 2012 | Reply


    JAGS Defense is wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy better than the COLTS D. I don’t see them holding us to 17 points, especially considering how much they turn it over.

    We’d have to completely sh!t the bed on Offense.

    I do however see our Defense giving up points to Luck, especially if Austin Collie comes back.

  15. By odark30 on Sep 11, 2012 | Reply

    picking pros gives us 60% to win this week

  16. By odark30 on Sep 11, 2012 | Reply

    It was when Musgrave allowed our RBs to do what they do that we turned the game around. This is a run team. We need to be running more than passing. Still Ponders accuracy and patience in the pocket has soared past his abilities last year. Kalil has much to do with that….

    By the by, I had not realized it was Kalil that batted down that extra point. Can you say pro-bowl?

    vikesfan1955 is right………Just wait till Jumpin Jerome lines up with Harvin…….its just too bad we wont have him in there against 49ers week three/

  17. By RichardA1 on Sep 11, 2012 | Reply

    2 more games and we get Simpson back, yeaah! J. Allen is going to eat the Colts for a snack! The Offense can do it! where is our Purple Punching Berzerking Defense? I think there going to do some ass kicking. “SKOL”

  18. By JE on Sep 11, 2012 | Reply

    @dreez. I hope you see how we got the 85% for ponder after you read this article. First and second down success is critical and Ponder understands that.He knows that if he completes 75% on the early downs the offense will roll. He played a solid game weather you want to admit it or not.

  19. By JE on Sep 11, 2012 | Reply

    Minnesota 30…..Indianapolis 20..

  20. By JE on Sep 11, 2012 | Reply

    I totally agree!!! Getting Simpson back is going to make a BIG difference. He was or biggest free agent this year. We have needed a player to take the top off the defense for a long time and he can do just that.

  21. By Woodboat on Sep 11, 2012 | Reply

    I don’t think it’d matter if Simpson was in for the 9ers game or not. Our O Line isn’t up to the task YET of slowing down SFs p a s s rush. I think that that is going to be a hard game to watch.

    Indy is going down, however.

  22. By RichardA1 on Sep 11, 2012 | Reply

    We have got tell the end of the year to be Superbowl ready. Always Skol!!!

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