Welcome back, losing at home! Boy, that sure didn't take long! In fact, it didn't even take up an entire game for the Vikings to come home, get fans excited, and then poop on their chest when the expectations were raised. What fun! What a spectacle! What a fantastic return to the Dome! Home sweet home, amirite, fellas?! Well, it depends on how you look at it. Was the first-team offense kind of exciting to watch for a while? Did they offer glimpses that they may not be totally inept for every single game this season, but maybe only half? Did they show you enough in 30 minutes to make you say to yourself, "Hey, you know what? This team may actually be watchable this year! I don't have to go antique shopping with the wife on Sunday's like I promised her I would! Hurray!" Yeah, they kind of dd all of that. Were there some things that made the team look sloppy and stupid like you fed too much 99 Berries to your prom date and she threw up all over your crotch during fellatio? YES. But the difference here is that this girl was actually an ATTRACTIVE girl (see = a decent football team in the Cowboys) and the Vikings showed some strong signs of progress against them. So at least we have that.
That may have been the worst analogy for football ever written. In fact, Rick Reilly and Peter King are both scoffing at it right now. Regardless, let's get into the meat and boners of the Vikings 23-17 loss to the Cowboys on Saturday night.
Mushroom Stamp of Disapproval: First and foremost, we get to blame Phil Loadholt for that entire loss. It was him who whiffed on that field goal which was blocked, scooped up by the Cowboys, and returned for a touchdown. Shades of Winfield versus the Saints years ago, but clearly not as awesome since it happened to us. If Longwell were to make that, as Mr. Mayock referred to during the game, that would have been a ten point swing, WHICH MATHEMATICALLY MEANS WE WOULD HAVE WON BECAUSE WE ONLY LOSS BY 6. Seriously, do the numbers, dude, it works out. Now, I don't know how legal Gerald Sensabaugh's block of that field goal really was, as it sure looked to me like he went Fastball Special over the Vikings offensive line, which is clearly against the rules. Sure, maybe Loadholt isn't supposed to block players who play illegally because in a righteous world, they'd just get flagged for it an punished, but this world is a piece of shit and Loadholt should know that by now, so he still gets the blame. Also, because I still haven't seen him eating people out on the field yet in two plus years now, and that is just supremely disappointing. I'm still waiting for cannibalism from you, Loadholt? FOR SHAME.
And what the hell's the deal with Longwell? I'm also having mixed feelings about Longwell. Not that he shouldn't have had that kick blocked or whatever, and not that he's still a solid kicker for an NFL team, but ... How disappointing is he on kickoffs, even with this new league rule in to favor kickers? I saw him put it in the endzone maybe once Saturday night, and that's being generous, because I'm counting the time the returner had his heal on the goal line as "putting it in the endzone." Every other kicker in the league is putting it through the uprights while filing their nails because they have to kick it like 60 yards now, but Longwell? He's giving it his all out there and the returner is fielding it at the five. Indoors. In a domed stadium. With no wind. Huh? His leg just isn't what it used to be, obviously, but he's still impressively accurate. I bet he when he goes hunting he kicks birds out of the sky with footballs instead of a shotgun. That 52-yarder he tried? Straight as a Brad Pitt but ... short. I thought he had it too, so that's disappointing. I know at this point in his career he's not all of a sudden going to get more "leg" on his kicks, so it's kind of sad because you know you're just watching his career coming down, slowly.
Also, kick returners? So far you people all suck taking it out of the endzone. You end up between the 10 and 15 yard line. Next time, when you field it 7 yards deep in the endzone, take a god damn knee and start out at the 20. It'll save your team yards, you some breath, and the fate of you looking like a pompous moron by getting dropped at the 10.
What is this ... Offensive Line? Despite the loss, we should give credit where credit is due, and that is to the offensive line who probably played their best game since 1998. There were HOLES - like actual, huge, recognizable holes - for running backs to dash through, there was a semi-circle formed pocket that a quarterback could throw out of which lasted longer than you during your first vagina experience (3ish seconds or so?), and I didn't notice any amazingly stupid blown assignments! However, you shouldn't take my word on that last part, as I was about 5 drinks deep then. But it was the work of the offensive line which allowed Purple Jesus to have some sexy runs during the game, as well as the work of the offensive linemen which allowed McNabb to stand in the pocket, wind up, and throw a pretty 49-yard touchdown to our favorite receiver down the middle of the field. We haven't seen a quarterback with that much time since Fran Tarkenton owned a clock repair shop. It was baffling and arousing all at once, like a naked midget. A couple of other items to note here:
1. I didn't see who ended up as the starters who were allowing this amount of time, but I'm guessing it was (left to right) Charlie Johnson, Hutch, Sullivan the Hobbit, The Return of Herrera and Loadholt. Really? Could that be possible? Is it the new blocking scheme or what? They didn't all of a sudden just get smarter. And this was against a good defense too. All encouraging signs, especially since the offensive line has just looked noticeably better since even the first preseason game.
2. The coaches did seem to use a lot of chipping and blocking help from the backs and tight ends, but you know what? Good. If your offensive line is too stupid to know how to block properly, give them some help. How many times did we plead with Childress to offer a tight end to help out McKinnie on Julius Peppers, only to never have it work out? And what are the results now when you do? Oh, only a 49-yard touchdown throw. IDIOTS. Thank god that bald SOB is gone.
Defense as deep as a virgin: Which I think isn't deep? Because Shanko hasn't dug that thing out yet? Point being, I'm still not impressed with the Vikings defense at this point. The front four aren't getting great pressure still, and that was particularly evident Saturday night. Did you know the Cowboys had 14 rookie starters on the offensive line and our veterans could still hardly get any pressure? It's true! "But PJD, the Vikings weren't even blitzing hardly, and they weren't going to show their best defensive plays in the preseason!" Well, then the better players natural talent should just stand out, especially when butting heads with rookies. I don't know, maybe I'm overreacting, but I've watched three teams now frequently move the ball at will against the defense, and all I can think about is EACH starting quarterback in the NFC North moving up and down the field throwing touchdowns and shit like it's not thang at all. And how would that make you feel? How would you feel about Cutler-Face throwing touchdowns on your teams defense? Terrible, wouldn't you? As would I. We need to clean that up now.
One thing I totally didn't miss about Vikings fans at home: The god damn wave. I swear it went on for about eight minutes in the last half of the third quarter. What the hell is wrong with you people? It's like you can't even take Vikings fans out in public any more without them making a complete ass bucket of themselves. The wave? It's not 1986 any more, people. You can choose not to stand up and throw your arms in the air in a circular crowd of people. God I hate the wave, and I hate fans who do it too. I wish the roof would have collapsed again right then. All of them deserved it.
Also on TV Saturday night: The Detroit Lions were also on TV Saturday night, which was nice, because it was like a double dose of football for fans. They played the New England Patriots and actually ended up beating the living hell out of them, 34-10. The defense looked pretty good, pressuring Brady all night long and forcing him into some terrible throws. Ndamukong Suh also looked titillating, punching someone in the face for being a Boston douche bag. I have a couple of thoughts on this game and Suh as a whole. First, the Vikings are in some serious trouble, because the Lions are going to make us and our offensive line look like a gaggle of slack wristed, scarf wearing boobs when we face them. They are going to eat our shitty protection schemes alive, and we won't have enough quarterbacks on this roster to sacrifice to keep them away. It's trouble, some legit trouble. Second, everyone who thinks Suh is a dirty player can go to hell. Suh is a badass, and plays like one. If you don't like it, do something about it. That's what Suh's doing. He's sick of people picking on him, his teammates, his city, and team and he's going to punch you in the face if you keep that shit up. Him and Lagarret Blount. The Lions totally needed a player like Suh, so I'm glad it worked out. Just another reason why they are awesome.
A losing haiku for a team which lost:
Don't look now people,
We're sad to announce this smoke,
Means the roof's falling.
Good stuff. We're on a short week here as we have our final preseason game on Thursday night. We'll be here for a preview on Thursday and some kind of wrap up Friday, after I wake up from drinking scotch.