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Vikings-Jaguars: Five extra points

  • September 9, 2012 - 11:40 PM

5 EXTRA POINTS

1. Line, special teams ... Kalil is all good

Other than a couple of chip blocks from Toby Gerhart coming out of the backfield, rookie left tackle Matt Kalil received no other assistance on the blind side. That's huge for an offense that needs its tight ends running pass routes. The Jaguars rotated Jeremy Mincey, rookie second-rounder Andre Branch and Aaron Morgan against Kalil. None of them got a sack against Kalil, the fourth overall draft pick. Kalil also blocked a point-after attempt on the Jags' first touchdown. He had seven at Southern California and four in high school. "I just happen to be 6-7," said Kalil when asked the key to blocking kicks. "I was born that way."

2. Smith shows rare instincts

Harrison Smith did something in overtime that's rarely been done by a safety around these parts in many years: He made a huge play that helped the Vikings win. "It was just anticipating things, reading the quarterback's eyes and getting a break on the ball," said Smith, when asked about breaking up a pass to Laurent Robinson on third-and-2 at the Jacksonville 31. The game ended on an incompletion one play later. Smith, the 29th overall pick, had seven tackles in his NFL debut. But nothing was better than the instincts it took to recognize the pass in overtime and then the athleticism to dive in time to swat it away. "Just kind of reacting, that's all," said Smith, unaware of just how rare that has been for the Vikings.

3. Surpassing his first-down goals

Christian Ponder's goal is completing 75 percent of his first-down passes. He completed 84.6 percent, going 11-for-13 to five receivers for 155 yards and four first downs. He completed his last 10 first-down passes ... but did lose a fumble on first down inside his 20.

4. Refs bungle penalty on Guion

The replacement refs did a good job, for the most part. But they gave the Jaguars an extra 7 yards following a dead-ball penalty for unnecessary roughness against nose tackle Letroy Guion. Rather than account for the 7-yard sack, the Jaguars got 15 yards from the line of scrimmage. That helped them later when they kicked a 47-yard field goal. On the play, Guion dived on top of quarterback Blaine Gabbert after he fell to the ground and before he had been touched. "I didn't spear him," Guion said. "I didn't hit him in the head. I guess I'm not supposed to tackle him. I didn't hear a whistle, so I guess I didn't know what to do. I guess next time I have to be a little more aware of the quarterback situation and just touch him if he falls."

5. Cook gets full blame on TD

For those thinking safety Mistral Raymond wasn't deep enough to help when Cecil Shorts beat cornerback Chris Cook on that go-ahead 39-yard touchdown pass with 20 seconds left in regulation, here's coach Leslie Frazier's explanation: "[Raymond] was playing where he should be on that coverage. We just have to do a better job of finding that ball to make that play." Cook got turned around and never saw the ball come down. "You have to figure out a way to find that football," Frazier said.

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