Ponder In Command On Early Downs

Posted by Mike Wobschall on September 24, 2012 – 9:10 pm

It’s been well-publicized that Vikings QB Christian Ponder set a goal during the offseason of completing 75% of his passes on 1st and 2nd down this season in order to avoid the dreaded 3rd-and-long scenario as much as possible. We’ve followed Ponder’s 1st and 2nd down passing numbers through the first two games of the regular season, and the results have been very good.

Through the first two games, Ponder was 32 of 40 (80%) for 339 yards with 1 TD and 0 INTs (110.3 passer rating). Those are terrific numbers for Ponder, but it resulted in a mediocre 3rd-down conversion rate of 36% (9 of 25) and average 3rd down to-go distances of 6.4 yards in Week 1 and 6.7 yards in Week 2.

This past Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers, Ponder’s numbers were less gaudy on 1st and 2nd down, but the end result was a marked improvement in a couple different ways. Ponder was 14 of 24 for 139 yards with no TDs or INTs, which equates to a modest 74.8 passer rating. But the Vikings converted 7 of 14 attempts on 3rd down (50%) and the average to-go distance on 3rd down was just 5.4 yards, a full yard better than in Week 1 and 1.3 yards better than in Week 2.

It’s a lot of data to crunch and compare, but suffice it to say that Ponder’s choice to set ambitious goals for 1st and 2nd down passing is paying dividends. Ponder is completing 71.8% (46 of 64) of his passes on 1st and 2nd downs for 478 yards, and he’s protected the ball well with 0 INTs and 1 TD toss. Those numbers yield a passer rating of 98.3, but more importantly it’s allowed the Vikings to convert 41% (16 of 39) of the 3rd downs, which represents a 2.6-point improvement from a season ago.

Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 52 Comments »

52 Responses to “Ponder In Command On Early Downs”

  1. By Spencer on Sep 24, 2012 | Reply

    I want J.Wright active with Simpson on Sunday. Jenkins and Burton had their chance, but they just cant cut it..

  2. By vikingsfan1955 on Sep 24, 2012 | Reply

    ponder is progressing very well at the qb position and his maturity is amazing. I was on the fence when he was drafted but now I’m a believer. He is smarter and more poised in the pocket and I have to say the recievers are doing a very good job catching the ball. The line is doing well in protection and the secondary is coming together and the coachs are putting together better game plans. What I see that I like about the team and coaches is that this is a no give up team they fight till the end.This is the start of what we have been waiting a longtime for and next year we will be poised for a complete run and to be hoenest we maybe make that run this year. I feel this is a complete team and the start of a added weapon playing for us the first time off suspesion will give us a even more potient offense,

  3. By Spencer on Sep 24, 2012 | Reply

    pack got robbed

  4. By Matthias on Sep 24, 2012 | Reply

    That last call was questionable at best… But in the end the seahwaks won :).

  5. By TBurbs on Sep 24, 2012 | Reply

    OHHHMMMMYYYYYGOOOOD hahahaha I hate the pack but they got efffffed!!!!!

  6. By sandiamond on Sep 24, 2012 | Reply


  7. By Parkway on Sep 24, 2012 | Reply

    Just how it should be pack, go cry about it

  8. By OTKalil2012 on Sep 24, 2012 | Reply

    There were terrible calls on both teams of that game…All game long…

    I just so happened the last “questionable call” went the Seahawks way…

    Congrats Seahawks !!!….

  9. By OTKalil2012 on Sep 24, 2012 | Reply


  10. By Saddy on Sep 24, 2012 | Reply

    Where are the cry baby gb fans, now it hurts huh… What happened when vikings had been robbed all this time, Aaron was running after his life the whole time

  11. By Rye on Sep 24, 2012 | Reply

    Packers need to remember, on their go ahead touchdown drive, on 3-2 the refs called a BAD pass interference that kept their drive going. What did all those packer fans say to us after all those bad calls in the NFC championship game? If you aren’t good enough to dominate, don’t cry when the game comes down to a bad call!

  12. By Rye on Sep 24, 2012 | Reply

    Vikings need to play with the energy they showed against the 49ers when they play Detroit. It’s an important game as they can send a divisional rival to 1-3. If all goes well, the bears will lose to Dallas and the Vikings could end week 4 in sole possesion of first place. I am excited about the next 3 games because I think they are winnable if the vikings can be consistent!

  13. By vikingbob136 on Sep 24, 2012 | Reply

    I hate the Pack as much as any Viking fan but the calls in that game were horrific.
    The last play was a complete joke.
    But 1st place feels real good.

  14. By tomcat on Sep 24, 2012 | Reply

    iam not too fond of the packers. actually i dont like them. okay i HATE em, but they were flat out robbed! something has got to be done. goodell needs to do what ever it takes to get the refs back. this is compromising the integrity of the nfl. skol vikings!!

  15. By RichardA1 on Sep 24, 2012 | Reply

    Ponder looked like a quarterback great! he must of been in the film room watching the scrambler, Fran Tarkenton create plays by scrambling. I’m telling yuh, this sunday the “D” will reveal there “NO Mercy” defense!! going to carve those kitties up like its thanksgiving!

  16. By Saddy on Sep 24, 2012 | Reply

    Did I just hear Aaron Rodgers say they gave me a field goal ball that was wet, there must be something else wet on you Aaron, Do you know that football is played in snow….Also if you had made that 2 point conversion you wouldnt be here whining about your

  17. By Woodboat on Sep 24, 2012 | Reply

    If you are celebrating the Packers loss, then I have very little respect for you as a fan of the game. This situation is NO BETTER than the Saints purposely and illegally trying to injure our QB so they could advance to the Superbowl. I despise them for their actions and hope they lose every game they ever play from that point on. If you feel the same way about the Saints, and yet you celebrate this debacle, you are a hypocrite in the extreme.

    This cheapens the entire season. I hope that it doesn’t effect the playoff picture in any way… a playoff berth for the Vikes that ONLY happened because of this GB loss would ruin everything about the season for me. I hope that the league office makes an unprecidented ruling and makes the game a tie.

  18. By Woodboat on Sep 24, 2012 | Reply

    that Seattle PI call was the point the game became a farse. You nailed it with your post. From that point on, the game was played under false conditions and neither team really deserves the win.

  19. By Rick on Sep 24, 2012 | Reply

    I am not happy about the way the packers won this game however it brings me back to a packers viking game where the regular refs took a td away from Shianco and then gave the packers a td on a bobbled catch the packers won the game by less than a td and I remember the packers fans saying it wasn’t the refs that blew the game. The packers backed into the playoffs that year and won the superbowl. I hate to see a team win or lose because of bad officiating but i can’t say i’m going to lose any sleep over the packers losing today. I can say that i’m not jumping for joy either. I do hope that this loss is not the deciding point for a playoff berth.

  20. By Saddy on Sep 24, 2012 | Reply

    @woodboat where were you when 49ers got 2 challenges when they didn’t have no timeouts, oh yes that’s what I thought, you cheesehead, go and cry some more.

  21. By robb on Sep 25, 2012 | Reply

    Seems like the teams that were initialy on the “easy schedule” for the Vikings have turned out to be pretty good and the so-called “elite” teams are the reverse.One thing is for certain, the way the refs are calling/blowing games the Vikings better make sure to get the lead early and hang on tight so they don’t get caught in a similar Packers/Seahawks debaucle.Actually the 9er game could have possibly been derailed by the sneaky Harbaugh move with the refs.

  22. By MN Packer fan on Sep 25, 2012 | Reply

    GB – 4 Superbowl Wins!

    MN -0 superbowl wins :’(

    Is it any wonder why Viking fans would be so petty tonight.

  23. By animal26 on Sep 25, 2012 | Reply

    You think viking fans are Petty MN Packer fan? Many of us would agree with you, that you guys were robbed. Now however, lets not forget that the vast majority of you packer fans were bashing us for complaining that the refs were making many bad calls and cost us the NFC Championship in 2009-2010 season. Oh, we also cant forget how the refs robbed us against the Packers in 2010 in green bay, where they took away a touchdown for us and gave you guys a bobbled catch out of bounds and called it a touchdown. It was because of that game, that officials are now required to review all Touchdowns. I’d be willing to bet you’re one of the many hypocrite packer fans that seem to not remember that tonight. :P

  24. By Jared The Beast Allen on Sep 25, 2012 | Reply

    Karma has caught up with GB and NO. Thank you.

  25. By Jared The Beast Allen on Sep 25, 2012 | Reply

    I gotta say, as High and Mighty as GB is supposed to be, why the () were they in that position against the hawks anyways?

  26. By Matthias on Sep 25, 2012 | Reply

    I am kind of sorry for Greenbay, even though it is the team I hate the most. The only reason, why I supported the hawks in the end, is that all the packer-trolls from the last years saying that it doesn’t matter if you lose close or by penalty, are shut down for a while.

  27. By vikingfanforlife on Sep 25, 2012 | Reply

    Sorry guys, I have absolutely no pity for the fudge packers. If you are a packer fan living in Mn. don’t use the name of our great state and associate it with your football team. You have no class..

  28. By Alex on Sep 25, 2012 | Reply

    The fact that no one is talking about in the Green bay game is that they had a pass interference call on there touchdown drive on third and two that wasn’t pass interference. Had that not happened they would have had a long field goal attempt or had to punt and Seattle would have controlled the game and never would have been down like they were. But no every Green bay fan only mentions the last play which by the rule book was a touchdown. Tate had at least one hand on the ball at all times and by the time they hit the ground he had two hands on the ball. It cannot be determined a catch or an interception until they hit the ground at which time they both had possession of the ball and therefore the catch goes to the offensive player.

    There were bad calls throughout the game but Seattle’s defense dominated the entire game and they deserved the win because of how they shut down Rodgers and that offense.

    Im happy to see us at 2-1 tied for first in the division and if that makes me petty so be it.

  29. By Bigfan1 on Sep 25, 2012 | Reply

    I’m glad we have Ponder he’s proving to be a good QB.

  30. By Rick on Sep 25, 2012 | Reply

    @MN packer fan thanks for reminding me why I hate the packers its because of fans like you

  31. By Go Away Packer Fans on Sep 25, 2012 | Reply

    As a packer fan why are you even on this site? GO AWAY. And you can do the same, Woodboat. For once something like this happened to green bay, usually every single call goes their way. Pretty understandable that Vikings fans would find it humorous.

  32. By saddy on Sep 25, 2012 | Reply

    Hey GB pckers fans, the call might have been horrible but the 9 sacks were legitimate, your offense was shut down, take that and leave this site, will ya..

  33. By OTKalil2012 on Sep 25, 2012 | Reply

    How many games have the Packers won because of bad calls from ref’s…

    Now when the shoe is on the other foot…I should feel bad for them ???…hahaha…You can forget that !!!…

    And intentionally trying to injure players…Is quite a different situation..Than just a bad play call from a referee that doesn’t know the rules very well…

    That go ahead drive the Packers made..There was pass interference call that went the Packers way…

    Was that okay ???…Just because it wasn’t the last play of the game ???…

  34. By OTKalil2012 on Sep 25, 2012 | Reply

    The replacement ref’s do need to go though…

    But I don’t see that happening…Until the union for the officials agrees to the “referee pool” of extra ref’s to come in and replace other ref’s for bad calls…

    Goodell expects “accountability” in every phase of the game…That includes the officials…

    Replacing ref’s for poor officiating…Is the only way to get that done…

    If the union keeps fighting that…We may have to deal with replacement ref’s all season…

    So buckle in fans…We might be in for a long ride yet…With the replacement officials… : (

  35. By solo on Sep 25, 2012 | Reply

    pack may have gotten robbed, but it was also the pack who put themselves in position to be robbed. there defensive line was mauled from the jump.

  36. By vegasvike on Sep 25, 2012 | Reply

    It’s not so much the players that make a Viking fan hate the packers. It’s their over pompous, sneering, un reasonable fans that make me hate the packers. And the stupid double choke commercials. And getting the LAST bad call is no where near the same as putting a bounty on the head of other players. Last years playoff loss was the first choke, last night was the second choke. HEY that’s a double!! Hope you got your discount packer wieners!

  37. By DrinkHeavy on Sep 25, 2012 | Reply

    Ok so the officiating stinks more than usual this year..get over it already. I was just happy to see Rogers & company get a real beat-down, first from the 49ers and now the S’Hawks. Hopefully that trend continues for the rest of the season.GO VIKES

  38. By viking181164 on Sep 25, 2012 | Reply

    we get the same refing crew this week agaist the lions..can hardly wait

  39. By RichardA1 on Sep 25, 2012 | Reply

    Good Ponder has the rest of the season to do just as good and better! should be no problem, because we have gotten almost all the cheese off us since we last played the packers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  40. By vikingsfan1955 on Sep 25, 2012 | Reply

    Ok already get off the packer game and talk about our team thats what the posts should be about ok we all have lost many games on blown calls big deal it’s early in the season I could see if it was late seasona nd they don’t have time to recover let me hear what you think about our team and how they are playing.

  41. By NO WORRIES ! on Sep 25, 2012 | Reply

    Ponder is getting better all the time. we need to give it to the packer fans like they give it to us .. thanks refs !! those babbies didn`t even want to come back for the extra point !! LOL bunch of babbies,,

  42. By viking181164 on Sep 25, 2012 | Reply

    who cares bout the packers….this is a viking blog

  43. By 2V on Sep 25, 2012 | Reply

    I almost feel sorry for GB, but corrupt officials have been part of the NFL for decades, and I kind of prefer the randomly dispersed incompetence of replacement officials over the blatantly corrupt calls by the regular guys.
    Admittedly, huge money does not take long to pervert anything, but I don’t think replacement official’s mistakes are that big of a scar on the already ‘offically’ tainted NFL.

  44. By 2V on Sep 25, 2012 | Reply

    Thank God for HDTV. The look of astonishment on the official face (that got it right) when he saw the other signal touchdown was priceless.

  45. By NO WORRIES ! on Sep 25, 2012 | Reply

    I will talk about anything i want to on here…. who are you ?????? the blog police ???? if you don`t like it , thats just to bad for you… you don`t have to read it !!!!! GO VIKES !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  46. By astolpho on Sep 25, 2012 | Reply

    Packers got more problems than the refs, they only scored 12 points in a game against the Seahawks

  47. By ponderfan7 on Sep 25, 2012 | Reply

    fans who can only bring up Superbowl wins are fake fans at least us vikes fans have reasons too be fan of are football team and stick with them and when they do win the Superbowl it will be a amazing moment for vikings fans who have stuck thru them thru the thick and thin

  48. By Boblocruse on Sep 26, 2012 | Reply

    @woodboat Blow it out your arse!

  49. By NO WORRIES ! on Sep 26, 2012 | Reply


    could not have said it any better myself !! GO VIKES !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  50. By Jeffbleedspurple on Sep 26, 2012 | Reply

    Shut up MN Packer fan, TRADER! Go move to Wisconsin, if you can’t support your states team then your living in the wrong state, cheese in Minnesota you suck!

  51. By MN Packer fan on Sep 29, 2012 | Reply

    I’ve served 15 years in the military thus far and been to Afghanistan twice so I’m pretty sure you telling me I can’t choose where I live is messed up. A Viking fan telling me I can’t live here because I like a different team id straight up communist. You Viking fans are such angry people with posts full of hate. You have more problems in the world than Packer fans. What if we have to deal with a terrorist attack. Are you going to not help injured Packer fans? Come on guys it’s just football. You don’t have to get so upset about it.

  52. By sdvikefan on Oct 2, 2012 | Reply

    DEFENSE is spelled with an “S” bloggers. Ignorant MN people are not reflecting well on this blogsite. I will reserve comment on Cheeseheads, at least they can spell, apparently, when not on their construction site….
    MN Packer fan is an oxymoron, as are you. Get off and don’t waste our time please.
    @jeffsbleed. Traitor is what you meant, not “trader”. Traders are what Wisconsin was built on. Learn a little history…. and how to spell.

    While brushing up on history, let me remind all of you that since 1961, the year of the VIKINGS birth, they have the largest number of division championships. They were absolutely jobbed out of 1 (Dallas) and choked out of 1 (N.O) superbowl additional births. Oh , forgot about Bountygate ( N.O), that would be another one.

    The VIKINGS should have been in 7 Superbowls. Deserved 1 or 2 ….out!

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