Monday Meltdown

The Monday Meltdown with Drew Magary: Skullet, Sapp and Science

Monday, December 1st, 2008

meltdown.jpgWe know you missed it last week, so this go-round we teamed up with Drew Magary — a Vikings fan living in Washington D.C., a noted author and blogger, a man about town and an intense consumer of all things classified as “snacks” — for something of a running diary/e-mail exchange from last night’s Vikings/Bears game. It pretty much starts in the second quarter, when the teams decided that punting every two minutes wasn’t going to be much fun and Drew’s other obligations ceased. Here we go:

RB (7:43 p.m.): Nice tackling.
RB (7:54 p.m.): Don’t touch the [redacted] ball 58!!!
DM (8:09 p.m) Agreed.
RB (8:12 p.m.): I want T-Jack. Frerotte is a statue.
DM (8:22 p.m.) Slap yourself for ever thinking this. Everyone forgets the first two games, where the team literally could not pass the ball.
RB (8:34 p.m.): I cannot recall a more infuriating game. And it’s only 24 minutes in.
RB (8:37 p.m.): Never mind. Holy [redacted redacted].
RB (8:40) Seriously, I go from wanting to kill Bennie Sapp to not believing they stopped them 4 plays from the 1 to a 99-yard perfect bomb. I can’t remember a bigger swing.
DM (9:08): That [redacted] Sapp penalty. You know I didn’t even know we were the most penalized team in the NFL? Christ almighty. Couple more things: Great to see Randle back at the Dome. Also, the challenged spot on the punt was a fair call, but what was our guy charging in for? Again, crummy coaching. The goal line stand made me want to jump through the ceiling. AWESOME.
DM (9:10): RE: The Berrian catch. Never been so pleased to lose a fantasy football game.
RB (9:11): Another thing: Purple Jesus has been a beast today. After the first five or six carries, he got that “putting the team on my back” thing going again. Seriously, he has had three runs today that make me want to have his children. And as far as I know, that’s not possible.
DM (9:14): It IS possible. His sperm are that versatile. They can impregnate OTHER sperm.
RB (9:21): Jared Allen’s haircut is … mercy, what is it?
DM (9:22): SKULLET!
RB (9:23): Chicken McNuggets should always be on the dollar menu. That’s a fact.
DM (9:27): Ruh-roh.
RB (9:27): Well, there’s Frerotte’s weekly crippling pick.
RB (9:38): Thank you, Cap’n Neckbeard!
RB (9:43): Really nice play call there. Gotta give them credit. Bring Peterson out, I’m thinking pass. Instead, Taylor runs the stretch to perfection.
DM (9:44): They have their moments.
RB (9:46): Now go for the throat, right here. This is the time when a team that means business knocks a team out.
DM (9:49): No dice.
/looks at last 3 games on schedule
/has heart attack
RB (10:02): yep. But if they win tonight and beat the Lions, and the Bears win at home against the Packers but still lose one other game, the Vikings really just need to win one of those final three to win the division. I did the math. Third tiebreaker is common opponent and they would win that by a game. GB losing to New Orleans and Carolina kills them. However, if GB wins at Chicago they could still be pesky because they would have the tiebreaker with a 5-1 division record.
DM (10:02): That Lions game is no gimme.
RB (10:03): Well, I hope you saw that strip coming a mile away. The most predictable strip encounter since Leitch and Daulerio.
DM (10:03): I did. But it was OOB.
RB (10:04): i know … it’s frightening. But man are [the Lions] awful. Did you watch the Thanksgiving game? They might lose to Ball State. Put them in the Motor City Bowl and relegate them if they lose.
DM (10:06): The Lions stink, but they KNOW this game is the only game left they can win.
RB (10:11): Couldn’t even stop them with 12 guys. Bad-um chah!
DM (10:12): When it rains, it pours.
RB (10:19): yep. Chester would be just fine now. Nah, on second thought, let’s send the limping franchise guy out there.

And that’s where it ends. It starts with massive complaining and ends with massive complaining. In the middle is a 20-point victory. Yep, sounds like a Vikings game. Anyone else have thoughts to add?

The Monday Meltdown with Drew Magary

Monday, November 17th, 2008

meltdown3.jpgEvery week, we break down the Vikings’ most recent game with Drew Magary, a man who once flunked out of clown college (not really). He IS a talented blogger and an author of a book about professional athletes. If you would like to buy it, he would be your best friend. Here we go:

RandBall: Well, yesterday was like reliving the housebreaking of our dog about five years ago. There were plenty of opportunities to get upset, but they were tempered by the predictability of the whole situation. If I could have written down a final score before the game started (well, actually I could have, but shut up), it would have been almost identical to the 19-13 real-life final. The only mild surprise was the strong first half played by the Vikings. I would have seen the score getting closer late, rather than the gap widening at the end. Otherwise, everything went according to plan.

Drew Magary: I thought they played pretty well in the first half. I even thought the play-calling was pretty solid. I thought the fourth down call on the Peterson pass was ballsy in a good way, even if it failed. But then the second half came and they just couldn’t get Garcia off the field. He just killed us yesterday. God, good scrambling quarterbacks can be so annoying.

Two things again killed us yesterday. 1. Poor defense on the tight end. Why do we continue to allow retreads like Jerramy “Hidin’ In the bushes” Stevens to roam free like the majestic bison of the Great Plains? Can’t they bump him? Or alert police that he’s still wanted before the snap?

Second thing: another horrible special teams mistake with the Hicks fumble. I hate Paul Ferraro now. I really do. Why not fire him? I’d rather have no special teams coach than this guy.

RB: Jeff Garcia would have fit absurdly well into the Vikings’ offense. Can you imagine him at the helm over the past three years? Guy is perfect for the West Coast Offense, and he killed the Vikings with his ability to escape trouble and improvise.

DM: Yup. Tim Ryan noted that the Vikings didn’t have a spy defender on Garcia during the game. And my reaction to that is: WHY??? GOOD GOD MAN, PUT A SPY ON THE GUY GAHHHHHH!!!!

RB: I’m not sure what to make of the second weekend in a row of Adrian Peterson barking at coaches on the sidelines (this time Eric Bienemy, presumably because he wanted to be on the field for every play of that final drive). I like that he wants to win and wants to lead. I worry about his frustration level. Remember, he has dominated for a team that is now 13-13 since he joined it.

DM: I don’t blame him for either instance. He should have been on the field that final drive. Not that it probably would have made a difference. There’s a camera on him at all times. If he gets fired up during a game, I don’t really think it’s a big deal.

RB: It was nice to see a special teams blunder (Hicks’ fumble). That was something new.

DM: Unreal. FIRE FERRARO, PLEASE. I’d rather have ADAM Ferrara coaching the special teams. “The Job” was an excellent show.

RB: Is there anything more maddening than watching Gus Frerotte run Brad Childress’ two-minute offense?

DM: Yeah, watching Tarvaris Jackson run the same offense.

RB: It might be time to try Artis Hicks on the right side. Ryan Cook is just too often overmatched.

DM: Yeah, but I’ve seen Hicks play. He’s a saloon door.

RB: Does Daunte Culpepper look a little, uh, heavy to you?

DM: You’d never know Thanksgiving was still over a week away watching his fat [redacted] waddle down the field.

RB: Pop quiz, hot shot: At the end of an NFL overtime, when teams are still tied, what happens? Donovan McNabb wants to know.

DM: They play cribbage until a winner is declared. Everyone knows that.

RB: Must-win game next week at Jacksonville. That’s the season, right there. Win that one, and they have a decent shot to go 9-7 and maybe even 10-6 to squeak out a division title (if the Giants’ keep winning, they could have the division and a bye locked up by the time they get to the Dome in week 17). Lose that one and anything is possible, up to and including a loss at Detroit. Jacksonville is vanilla and imminently beatable. It’s going to be another game with both teams in the teens.

DM: Yep. Should be another three hours of agony. Can’t wait!

The Monday Meltdown with Drew Magary

Monday, November 10th, 2008

meltdown2.jpgEvery week, we recount the magic and the agony of Vikings games with Drew Magary, a Purple fan living in the Washington D.C. area. Drew is the kind of guy who doesn’t think you can every have too much of a good thing. He’d like a side of wings with that side of wings. And don’t skimp on the sauce! Also, buy his book. Here we go:

RandBall: Well, that was certainly one of the most exciting and intense games I’ve watched in a while. Add to it the fact that I was watching it with an equal group of Vikings and Packers fans at a house in Hudson, Wis., and you can see how critical it was that Mason Crosby pushed that kick just a little wide.

Drew Magary: What I loved was that Purple Jesus basically willed that win. I loved him bitching out Childress to go for it, even if he did fumble on the ensuing attempt. That just made him even angrier, and he freaking OWNED the field on that last drive. Just 100% awesomeness. We seem to actually be developing an offensive identity. Peterson handles the bulk of the rushing work, and then Chester Taylor makes the big 3rd down plays. Frerotte played badly yesterday. But even so, you can see now that the offense is “working,” so to speak. They know how to move the ball. That wasn’t always the case.

RB: I worry terribly about the “little things” such as the fact that the Vikings have already tied a [redacted] NFL record by giving up 6 special teams TDs this year, and they’re only 9 games in. Seriously, that is infuriating. They are brutally lucky that it hasn’t cost them more dearly (think New Orleans and yesterday).

DM: Absolutely pathetic. And why was NOTHING done after the New Orleans game about this? It’s hard enough to get this offense moving, and then turnaround and give enormous returns after a punt or kickoff. It’s insane.

RB: Jared Allen cemented his place in Minnesota yesterday.

DM: Agreed 100%. Worth every damn penny.

RB: Gus Frerotte was absolutely terrible. Sometimes you see a QB with three picks in a game, and one can be explained by a bad read, one by a tipped pass, etc. Those three throws were absolutely abysmal and they, too, could have been the difference in the game. Maybe we’re seeing why the Vikings don’t throw those delightful intermediate passes very often. Because every time they’re picked off!

DM: That’s true. And yet, I wouldn’t bench him for T-Jack in a million years. I’ll take the turnovers as the price of doing business in return for an offense that actually, you know, does stuff.

RB: Purple Jesus: From goat to hero. Son, if you are going to lobby the head coach and openly get after him to convince him to go for it on 4th-and-1, then you fumble on that play when a first down is definitely in the works, then you have to atone. And wow, did he ever atone. Outside of that kick return last year in Chicago, I can’t remember him previously putting the team on his back in a close game.

DM: Totally justified my cheap replica jersey purchase. By the way, was Peterson wearing a condom on his head yesterday? I kept watching him come off the field, and all I could think was “reservoir tip.”

RB: I was surprised by how undisciplined the Packers are (leading the league in penalty yards coming in). Also, thanks to Mike McCarthy for 1) that stupid challenge on the Peterson TD and 2) deciding that the 34 was close enough for a FG try and not attempting to get it to, say, the 25 or something like that. Those extra few yards would have made all the difference on that kick.

DM: Yeah, but the Childress challenge before the 4th down attempt was equally dumb. My guess is that Childress was going to take a time out after Peterson bitched him out so he could send in the offense. Only he said, “Hey, if I’m gonna call timeout, I may as well challenge the spot for fun.” If he seriously meant to challenge that spot, he’s an idiot.

RB: Aaron Rodgers had happy feet all day. Ten more years of that, please.

DM: Yeah, but it was justified. He got absolutely MURDERED out there. If they can pressure the QB like that the rest of the way, the Vikes can win the division.

RB: 5-4, tied for first in the division, and we’ve had to sweat out each and every game. Tough way to live. This one could have been a lot easier. Up 21-10, they should have gone for the throat. They let up, Longwell missed a FG, and it almost cost them. Better special teams. More creative passing plays. A killer instinct. These are the things upon which the final seven games will hinge.

DM: Yep. The giveaway of the lead was juuust brutal. And that’s the real problem with this team. they can go right into the dumper like that at any moment.

The Monday Meltdown with Drew Magary

Monday, November 3rd, 2008

meltdown.jpgmeltdown1.jpgmeltdown1.jpgEach week, we exchange e-mails with Drew Magary, a Vikings fan living in the Washington D.C. area and a noted author of children’s books, to discuss the most recent game by the Purple. Here is our most recent effort (bonus points for anyone who can correctly identify, in an e-mail to us, what all the [redacted] words originally were):

RandBall: Well, I don’t have much to complain about this week. Definitely the best all-around game played by the Vikings – and the first time all season, really, I’ve concluded after a game, “Yes, that is how this team is supposed to [redacted] work.” The offensive line played as well as I can remember all season, opening up big holes for Peterson (particularly on that drive to make it 28-14) and protecting Frerotte. Peterson ran with purpose and is starting to figure out when to go for the home run and when to settle for 3-6 yards. Gus and Berrian continue to have a nice chemistry. The TD to Shiancoe was a great play call, one of several in a game plan that I actually didn’t hate for a change. Jared Allen was a beast. Yeah, I was happy.

Drew Magary: I was too. But how about that Shiancoe drop towards the end. SHIANCOE!!!!!! I still think the run blocking isn’t all that great. In the first half, PJ was absolutely swarmed at the line.

RB: And now, time to nitpick:

*Berrian’s drop led to a pick-six, and another failed hookup between him and Gus could have been another 6 the wrong way early in the second half when the Texans were gaining momentum. His hands were never rumored to be great, and they haven’t been terrible here overall, but that kind of thing just can’t happen. Those can be game-killing plays.

DM: Agreed. I would strongly advise the Vikings to never throw to that [redacted] on the quick slant again.

RB: *By my calculations, Jared Allen had sacks on the game’s final two plays. His final tally was 2 sacks. My question is this: when he caused that fumble by knocking it out of the QB’s hands, why isn’t that a sack? I want the NFL rules changed.

DM: Because it was a forced fumble. Sacks are when you tackle the QB for a loss. Forced fumbles are when you force a fumble. See how that works?

[Upon further review of the game sheet: We're both wrong. Kevin Williams had the sack on the final play, and Jared Allen was credited with a sack AND a forced fumble on the play when he stripped Schaub in the second quarter. See how that works, Drew?]

*RB: Why do the Lions have to be so dreadful? Up 10 at halftime after knocking Orton out, they still can’t defeat the Bears. What a bunch of [redacted redacted].

DM: Who cares why? Just enjoy it.

RB: RandBall Approved Unsung Heroes of the week (brought to you by Bloodbath and Beyond): Chet Taylor for extending two drives with manufactured first down gains on third down; Madieu Williams with a game-high 8 solo tackles and a sweet INT; and Chris Kluwe for some fine directional punting. Hey, no yelling this week!

DM: I thought the Williams pick was the most important play of the game by far. Admit it. You were scared [redacted] at that point by how Rosenfels was destroying our pass D. Oh, and wouldn’t it have been nice to have traded for THAT guy in the offseason?

RB: Underrated call of the day: Throwing play-action on 3rd-and-7 when trying to melt away the clock late in the game. Yes, it fell incomplete, but it was open. And there was no harm done with the incompletion. It basically cost the Vikings a few seconds because the clock stops anyway at the change of possession, which coincided with the two-minute warning after the punt.

DM: I agreed with the call. But then… SHIANCOE!!!!!

[Upon further review: We believe Frerotte was more at fault on that play than Shiancoe. Drew can take that to the bank!]

RB: I know the Vikings QBs are no world-beaters, but Sage Rosenfels and Matt Schaub both strike me as team-killers. I am not heartbroken that neither of those trades went through after watching both of them. Talented but poor decision-makers.

DM: Couldn’t disagree more. Rosenfels put a defibrillator to that offense.

RB: Should any and all enthusiasm be tempered by the fact that this team is still lucky to be 4-4 and could very possibly lose two of its best defensive players for half of the final 8 games?

DM: Yup.

RB: I am currently organizing our annual Vikings fan vs. Packers fan football game for next Sunday at roughly 3:30 p.m., after the two rivals square off. Any chance you can make the trip out and pitch in as a nice combo tight end? (RandBall readers: also let me know if you are interested in playing).

DM: Considering I had to have back surgery after the last time I played touch football, probably not.

Late add-on from DM: Oh, and WHY CAN’T WE DEFEND THE [redacted] TIGHT END???

RB: Come back, E.J. Henderson. We miss you.

The Monday Meltdown with Drew Magary

Monday, October 20th, 2008

Every Monday, we take the time to trade e-mails about the most recent Vikings game with Drew Magary, a quick-witted and red-blooded American male living in the Washington D.C. area and bleeding purple (sometimes out of several openings, as was the case Sunday). Drew blogs in several places (but never on Lake Minnetonka) and recently authored a book about the Hundred Years War. Right now, he is not a happy man. Here we go:

RandBall: I listened to this game while driving back from a weekend in my hometown of Grand Forks, N.D., so interestingly I have mental images instead of actual flickering light images of what happened on specific plays. The first drive of the game for the Vikings takes me back to a happier place. It sounded glorious. Other intermittent patches of offense also sounded nice. Everything else brings about a range of angry mind pictures. The first botched punt: a swarm of angry birds descending upon Chris Kluwe as he desperately tries to bat them away; the second botched punt: a storm of feces. Calling a bootleg with a 900-year-old QB on the game’s most crucial play, a 4th-and-1 when the Vikings were at Chicago’s 36, had all the momentum in the world, and seemed determined in some way to kill it and kill it good: all I remember is yelling, expletives, a frightened dog and so on. I’m not sure if watching or listening would have been worse. Maybe you can help out there.

Drew Magary: I’m pretty sure Vin Scully doesn’t broadcast Vikings game, so unless it was last week’s Detroit game, you’re always better off watching. What’s amazing about this coaching staff is that is finds new, innovative ways each week to be utterly abysmal. Not only were there the two breathtakingly idiotic plays by Kluwe and Gordon, but there were those 20-yard squib kickoffs that we did when Hester was clearly banged up. So it’s always fun to see all the new, exciting ways this coaching staff can be woefully underprepared. Also note: Brad Childress has been coach of this team for three seasons now, and his two-minute offense is still nonexistent. This team has all the urgency of a mall security guard.

RB: Special teams: In two of the last three weeks, the Vikings have blocked field goals. That’s good. Last week, the Vikings had a field goal blocked. That’s bad. In two of the last three weeks, the Vikings have given up two touchdowns on special teams plays. THAT IS TERRIBLE. Seriously, there needs to be some accountability here. It cost them the game yesterday.

DM: For real. I’m pretty sure our special teams coach is [Joke redacted even though it is one of the funniest things Drew ever said but unfortunately could get us fired and possibly executed depending on the outcome of the November election].

RB: Jared Allen had a nice burst in the third quarter, but it sounded mostly like there wasn’t much of a consistent pass rush. Maybe the Bears were doing a lot of quick hits and such to neutralize it. If so, the Vikings need to figure out a counter-punch.

DM: The pass rush couldn’t get there in time because, from the snap of the ball, Chicago tight ends were untouched for the duration of the entire game. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen anything like it. It’s as if the team were genuinely surprised the tight end is eligible to receive passes. Clark and Olsen were open immediately and constantly.

RB: Sweet mercy, do they miss E.J. Henderson.

DM: And that’s why the tight ends were open so often. They’re doing everything they can to replace him, even bringing in the corpse of Napoleon Harris. But that position is KILLING them right now.

RB: The fans here are unbelievable. Listening to the postgame, they actually seemed more pleased with this loss than they did with the previous two victories — and it was mostly because the offense played well, not because they think it will move Childress closer to unemployment.

DM: I had a guy email me saying he wanted Tarvaris BACK in. And I thought, “Are you crazy? I don’t know how this team scored 41 points with Gus at the helm, but it sure as hell wouldn’t have if T-Jack were back there staring off into space.” There were a couple of throws Gus made where he cocked his arm to freeze the defense, and then threaded the ball through the seams. They were great throws, so I’ll take his braindead picks to go along with that sort of occasionally lively passing game any day.

RB: If I would have told you the Vikings would hang 41 on the Bears, I bet you would have been pretty [redacted] excited. This [redacted] team.

DM: This [redacted] team.

RB: Bye week: re-evaluate everything. Fix things, get healthy, destroy Houston and then go into the GB game 4-4. That’s the make-or-break game for the season and maybe this entire regime.

DM: Destroy Houston? You think that game’s a given? (Post-meltdown follow-up): Last thing: When you have surrendered 48 points that day, it’s probably not a wise idea TO KICK AWAY WITH THREE [REDACTED] MINUTES LEFT.

RB: (Post-Meltdown): I actually thought that was the right move, given the fact that teams go into an offensive shell when they’re trying to kill the clock and I thought they could get three run stops to get the ball back with 2:30 left. The first down pass crossed that up, though they did get it back in reasonable shape with at least a chance to drive it down and score. Overall, though: I support on-side kicking anytime under 2 minutes UNLESS the margin is 3 or less. In that case, there is some wiggle room. But I guess a team at the end is really just trying to kill the clock. If an onside kick fails, they generally get it at the 40. If they’re stopped on 3 plays, they’re generally not going to try a 50 yard field goal because of field position issues. If they get a first down, it would have been a moot point regardless of where they were on the field. In short: I might be talking myself into an on-side kick being the right move no matter what.

RB: Hey, but how about the Rays!

DM: Whatever. Baseball is [redacted].