In what turned out to be an entertaining finish to an odd game, the Minnesota Vikings lost on a last second field goal by veteran Adam Vinatieri. The Vikings had come storming back to tie the game at 20, but the defense was unable to force overtime.
All along I had this game pegged to be close. The official line was 3 points (Vikings), and lo and behold it was 3 points that separated the teams, only with the Indianapolis Colts coming out on top.
The frustrating thing if you’re a Vikings’ fan, is that the game shouldn’t have come down to a field goal at the end to win it for Indy. I’ll point directly at the opening defensive series of the second half. It’s a series which changed the momentum of the whole game.
After the Vikings forced a punt, specials teams ran into the punter, which resulted in an automatic first down, ouch. Then all-pro Jared Allen, on his mission to sack Andrew Luck, tackled the rookie out of bounds on third down, leading to yet another automatic first down, and eventually to a field goal.
If you take away these two stupid mental mistakes, the Vinatieri field goal at the end is to tie, not to win.
Now obviously many things happen throughout the course of a game, and who knows if things would have panned out the same, but those mistakes were a clear difference in this game.
In addition to these two bone-head penalties, Minnesota was hit with another nine, resulting in a total of 105 penalty yards. In contrast, the Colts only committed 7 for 51 yards.
All the other stat lines were about down the middle, so I think penalties are the clear reason the Vikings lost this game.
Whether it was extending a drive for the Colts, or halting momentum for their own offense, Minnesota beat themselves in this one.
For a team that’s not swimming in talent, the Vikings can ill afford to have another game like today for the rest of the season.