Minnesota Vikings‘ fans knew it was only a matter of time before Christian Ponder threw his first interception of 2012.
Through the first four games of the season Ponder had remained perfect, if you want to call it that. The reality is that he’s gotten away with a few bad throws that should have been picked, but the defenders just dropped the ball. Regardless, Ponder was clean in the INT department heading into Sunday.
With the Vikings in control for basically the entire game against the Tennessee Titans, it was clear the Bill Musgrave opened up the playbook a little bit for his second year quarterback. More than ever before this season, Ponder threw the ball downfield and took a few chances.
While things were a little more open in the passing game Sunday, it still was a pretty conservative approach overall. Ponder’s main objective was to manage the clock and keep the chains moving with his team in the lead for the entire contest.
He ended up throwing two interceptions, including one inside the five yard line.
Interceptions are never a good thing, but he chose the perfect game to throw them. It was a great opportunity to push the threshold a little bit with the lead, and now the coaches have a better idea of where they can go with Ponder.
So far this season, he’s played the role of ‘game manager,’ and that’s what he should continue to do. The short passing game has been very effective, and this is a case where if it’s not broke, don’t fix it. Until teams consistently take it away, keep going to the well.
It’s clear that the chance of success goes down as the length of the throw increases for Christian Ponder. Not saying he can’t throw a good deep ball, or that the Vikings shouldn’t continue to take shots down the field, but the Titans game showed that Ponder is still a quarterback with limitations.
Overall, Ponder is far ahead of where most pegged him to be at this point in his sophomore campaign. His first interceptions shouldn’t be discouraging to fans whatsoever. It’s all part of the learning and development process, and of course keep in mind that the ultimate statistic is wins, and Ponder is 4-1 in that department.