RandBall: 23 points, Gould's miss and other Vikings thoughts
- Blog Post by: Michael Rand
- December 2, 2013 - 9:45 AM
The Vikings game has been over for about 18 hours now, and that's about the amount of time it took to completely process everything that happened. Here are five leftover thoughts from a 23-20 overtime victory over the Bears:
1) This is a "baby steps" kind of thing, but it was the first time all season the Vikings have allowed fewer than 23 points. When you think about what it takes to win in the NFL, it is pretty hard to imagine a lot of victories when you give up that many points. Last year's squad was 7-0 when allowing fewer than 23 points during the regular season and just 3-6 when allowing 23 points or more. And if Robbie Gould would have made the OT field goal, Chicago would have scored 23 and won on Sunday.
2) Speaking of that Gould field goal, we know he is supremely accurate, making about 86 percent of his career field goal attempts to rank among the best in NFL history. That said, it was not at all smart for the Bears and coach Marc Trestman to send him out on SECOND down to try a 47-yarder. What's the harm in trying another play, getting closer, maybe even picking up a first down? What's the difference in one more first down? Well, in his career Gould is 77 for 85 (90.6 percent) from 30-39 yards. He has NEVER missed from inside 29 yards in 73 career attempts. But from 40-49 yards? He's 65 for 90 (72.2 percent). While that still means he would have likely made it from 47 yards, he is SO MUCH BETTER if you move closer, just as many kickers are.
3) In case you were worried that Adrian Peterson might falter this season after his 2,000-yard campaign, he is leading the NFL in rushing attempts, rushing yards and rushing TDs. He was a thoroughbred on Sunday with 35 carries and more than 200 yards.
4) The numbers say Christian Ponder has performed adequately at times this season, but the eyeball test said this again Sunday: When Matt Cassel is running the Vikings' offense, it looks decidedly more professional and capable. And when it came to the fourth quarter, there is no doubt we would rather see Cassel trying to rally the team than Ponder.
5) After Chris Cook gave up several big gains to Alshon Jeffery and was ejected on the final one, would it be tempting to just cut him this week? Despite the Vikings' woeful depth at corner, it might be a message Leslie Frazier and the higher-ups want to send.
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