What We Learned: Colts-Vikings
Five things we learned from the Colts' 18-15
It all comes down to the Vikings' grievous mistake of letting Manning and the injury-depleted Colts offense hang around all day, until No. 18 finally found just enough of his weapons and made just enough plays to send Minnesota off the field in a state of disbelief. Score one for the old Manning magic, which didn't look like a sentence I'd be writing for most of the day, or at least until the Colts scored late in the third quarter to cut into the Vikings' 15-0 lead.
"I don't believe in ugly wins,'' Manning said. "All wins are sweet, and they're hard to come by. I know the Vikings feel just as sick as we felt last week in the locker room. A couple plays here and there and we're feeling sick in this locker room. It feels good to get the win, because obviously 0-2 wouldn't have been good.''
The Colts got outrushed 180-25 by the Vikings, and still won. They played without center
Because Manning simply refused to lose, leading Indy on three scoring drives in the final 19 minutes, the last of which culminated with
Maybe what I'll remember about this game was that it was of the few times where I thought the Colts' vaunted offense looked anemic for most of the day. I saw
But I also saw Manning wind up going 26 of 42 for 311 yards, with his only touchdown pass coming at the perfect time, a 32-yard strike to Wayne with 5:54 remaining, followed by a game-tying
You'd think the Vikings -- and the rest of us -- would have learned by now.
Up 15-7 with just under eight minutes remaining, the Vikings had a 3rd-and-5 at the Colts' 31. A first down there and you give yourself a great shot to both grab at least an 11-point lead and further milk the clock in the process. With
Why? Because there is no truly safe pass in Minnesota's playbook. At least not when Jackson throws it. He has yet to develop the consistency needed to make the Vikings anything but a one-dimensional offense, with that dimension being Peterson's other-worldly rushing skills.
Oh, and by the way, Vikings kicker
"Because we were actually gashing them with the run,'' said Jackson, when asked why the Vikings turned so conservative when the game was there for the taking. "Whatever is productive; why not keep running the football? If it's not broke, why fix it?''
But it is broke, because as talented as Peterson is, you're not often going to beat the Colts kicking five field goals. For most of the game, Indy put eight men in the box in order to stop Peterson, who still ran 29 times for a game-best 160 yards. The Colts were daring Jackson to beat them with his arm, and he didn't rise to the challenge.
Afterward, Jackson admitted he heard the crescendo of boos that washed over him in the third and fourth quarters. How could he not? Vikings fans don't believe in Jackson yet, and even head coach
"He is definitely our quarterback next week,'' Childress said. But I couldn't help but notice he didn't make any promises longer than seven days down the road.
The Vikings can really run the ball, and stop the run. But they can't throw it, and they can't stop people from throwing it. Stop me if you've heard this before.
The Vikings clearly lack killer instinct and the ability to jump on opponents when they're down. They're inconsistent on offense to the point of distraction, and their inability to exert their will when the game is hanging in the balance leaves them forever lacking in terms of a winning-confidence level.
"We've got 14 more (games to go),'' Jackson said Sunday. "A lot of people say that you go 0-2 and you're pretty much out of it, but that's not true at all. You go back to last year and you see the Giants went 0-2, and you know you still have life.''
But counting on some team to make a Giants-like comeback isn't realistic. Just three Super Bowl winners have started 0-2 since the playoffs expanded to 12 teams in 1990, with New York being the latest. The reality in Minnesota is this: The Vikings have lost twice in less than a week, and are already two games behind first-place Green Bay. Chicago is 1-1 and was able to beat the Colts on the road. That leaves Minnesota and the dismal Detroit Lions fighting it out for last place in the division.
And that was not the return on their investment the Vikings had in mind with that $60 million in guaranteed money.
Maybe it has as much to do with Jackson as anything, but it seems to me like all the Vikings ask Berrian to do is to run basic fly patterns, and little else. I don't see much creative effort to get him the ball, and it doesn't seem like Jackson's game is ready to utilize him.
For some, Berrian's role is a reminder of what the Vikings hoped for, but never got from former first-round pick
But after watching him Sunday against the Vikings, it seemed he was an afterthought in the Colts' offensive game plan. Harrison caught just one pass against Minnesota, for 16 yards. Manning fed a team-high nine passes for 137 yards to receiver
Not long ago, no quarterback and receiver had more of a connection than Manning and Harrison, who seemed to know each other's next move by instinct. That kind of timing is obviously lacking right now, and it could be that Harrison's injury last year and Manning's knee surgery this summer has had a significant toll on their on-field chemistry.