© JAMIE GERMANO / USA TODAY Sports
Hey everyone, sorry for the hiatus these past few weeks. Taking some time off here and there was always the plan. In all honesty, I didn't plan to write this game either, but a few people asked, and I didn't want to break my word. However, these recaps are going to become less frequent as I continue to lean toward overall retirement. It's not so much a commitment to writing, as I feel like there's less to say. I'm either talking about the same positive types of performance or a letdown. Also, the few days after a loss on this board can be painful, and I don't envy the mods. With that, this might be a different style and not as in-depth, but I tried to enjoy the game as much as I could.
1 - Josh
For all the mystery surrounding his elbow, you never would have thought for a moment he was injured in this game. Allen was making all the throws with ease. Josh made some amazing throws and even more amazing runs. I can't fault him for trying to make a play on the first red-zone interception. It was 4th down, so the Vikings would get the ball unless it were a touchdown. I still don't know who the fumble was on, but it looked like a good snap from the replay I saw, albeit a tough replay to see. The last interception is really my only concern with Josh in this game. We had taken all the momentum back, were moving down the field at ease, and Josh threw it right into a defender's chest, the same as he had the past few weeks. What worries me the most is that I couldn't see anyone he was trying to throw to. This wasn't a matter of receiving running the wrong route or an anticipation throw; he just made a terrible throw. We are going to be in more games like this; that comes down to the last drive, and Josh needs to be better here. The fact that this was the only throw I questioned makes me feel a little better about his decision-making from the past two games, but still a concern.
2 - Coaching
The ONLY coaching issue I have from this game is abandoning the run game in the second half. Motor was the offense for the first two drives until he fumbled. Which, if you are going to have three other active running backs, then don't punish all of them for Motor's fumble (which I'm still not convinced was a fumble). Going one-dimensional in the second half is a large part of our second-half scoring issue. I don't understand why it keeps happening. But on the goal line fumble, the going for it instead of the field goal, and all of the coverages and decisions, I completely agreed with all of them in the moment. They were the right analytical thing to do and made sense if the PLAYERS didn't keep getting beat.
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3 - Pass Rush
If I'm not mistaken, the Vikings have one of the better offensive tackle tandems in the league. With Groot out and Oliver possibly still not at 100%, it was going to be a rough day. Credit to Von for getting home in the 4th, but you have to credit the Vikings' offensive line in this game. Besides the OT drive and the big run by Cook (to the outside again), the Bills' defensive line did a decent job. There were more than a handful of plays where I was surprised Cousins could even get the ball out, but he was just a split second faster with his release.
4 - Jefferson
Yes, the defender should have tried to knock the ball down on 4th and long. However, Jefferson simply made some amazing plays in this game. He's arguably the best receiver in the game right now. His catch near the goal line was also a thing of beauty. I can't blame coaching because players were on him both times but couldn't make the play. And credit to Cousins for making those throws. Now, if Tre were back, is it a different outcome? I hope so.
5 - Special Teams
I'm really curious to know why the Vikings kept bringing KO's out of the end zone and why they kept kicking it to us short. Did I miss something? I don't remember seeing so many kick returns in a single game in years. Also, why was Duke Johnson activated for this game? Both sides played well for these units, and Bass was back to being automatics. Hines showed some nice punt return skills off the bounce as well.
© JAMIE GERMANO / USA TODAY Sports
6 - Super bowl
In the closing moments of the Jets game, you could see the Jets sidelines celebrate like they just won the Super Bowl. In this game, I believe the Vikings played out of their minds. There's no doubt to me that we got their 110% effort. Even though we haven't won anything, we've been deemed the best team in the league all season, and this is what the Bills need to expect each and every week. If there's a silver lining, the Bills absolutely should have won all the games they lost. We haven't gotten "beaten," per se. So if there's a silver lining in this, we are preparing ourselves for the playoffs each week and will be greatly battle-tested.
As I said, abbreviated version this week. Hopefully, you all get the point of what I'm trying to say. Trust me; I'm pissed off too. I'm tired of being on the losing end of these "game of the weeks." But we are only one game out of the one seed, get the chance to play everyone ahead of us again, minus the Chiefs, and are overall getting more healthy. Hyde and Poyer being out are going to hurt us in these games. Poyer might be 50/50 the rest of the way. But we have to get better there. Hopefully, these back-ups can figure it out in time. But come playoffs, regardless of our path, I expect us to be ready.
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