Vikings Nation was abuzz on Sunday about the play of backup quarterback Matt Cassel as he led the Minnesota Vikings to a 34-27 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers, but the Vikings’ front seven were the biggest reason for the team’s victory.
The standout player in the Vikings’ front seven was Jared Allen, who before Sunday’s game only had one sack in three games. Allen had 2.5 sacks, four tackles and a team-high three hits on Ben Roethlisberger. Linebacker Chad Greenway, defensive end Everson Griffen and rookie defensive tackle Shariff Floyd combined for 2.5 more sacks, which kept Roethlisberger on his heels throughout the game. Griffen also made the biggest defensive play of the game when he stripped the ball out of Roethlisberger’s hands at the Vikings’ six-yard line as Pittsburgh was driving to tie the game late in the fourth quarter. Griffen’s forced fumble, which was recovered by Kevin Williams, gave the ball back to Minnesota and sealed the victory for the Vikings.
Greenway made the second biggest play for the Minnesota defense in the third quarter when he intercepted a Roethlisberger in Steelers’ territory. The interception gave the Vikings great field position and led to a Greg Jennings touchdown catch to put Minnesota up 34-17 late in the third quarter. The Vikings took control of the game by exploiting the biggest weakness of the Steelers, the offensive line, with the strength of their defense, the defensive line. Jared Allen is the heart and soul of this defense, and when he’s playing well the rest of the defense seems to rise up and play with more emotion.
Although the secondary continued to struggle on Sunday, the Vikings’ front seven played their best game of the season and helped lead the Vikings to a victory in a must-win game.