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Vikings wideout Jerome Simpson (81) was run into by Bengals defensive back Dre Kirkpatrick (27) during a play that resulted in an interception by safety George Iloka.

MCKENNA EWEN · • mckenna.ewen@startribune.com,

Mark Craig's Five Extra Points

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG
  • Star Tribune
  • December 23, 2013 - 1:41 AM

1. Simpson: Second interception was interference

The Vikings were down 21-7 early in the second quarter when Matt Cassel launched a 49-yard pass to Jerome Simpson. Simpson’s back and head clearly were shoved by cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick before the ball arrived. There was no flag, but that wasn’t the worst part. The ball bounced off Kirkpatrick’s head and was intercepted by George Iloka, who caught the ball while lying on his back. “It was definitely pass interference,” Simpson said. “The ref said [Kirkpatrick] was playing the ball. But the guy ran through my back and my head.” Simpson said the call felt similar to one in the Dec. 8 Baltimore game, when officials made at least three questionable decisions. “It’s been a weird situation with the officials,” Simpson said. “Today that would have been a big play. Could have been a touchdown at the right time, too.”

2. So much for avoiding dumb penalties

The Vikings had only five penalties, but four were of the blockhead variety. They were costly infractions that easily could have been avoided. Backup nose tackle Fred Evans, who lines up right over the football, jumped offsides three times. He did it twice in three snaps on one of Cincinnati’s first-quarter touchdown drives. He also did it in Vikings territory during a third-quarter touchdown drive. All three penalties gave the Bengals first-and-5. Evans was pulled from the field immediately after committing the second and third ones. Meanwhile, safety Mistral Raymond was covering a punt when he drew a 15-yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct after saying something to an official. “I’m not sure why he did that,” Raymond said. “I have no idea what I said. I’m a pretty sportsmanlike kind of guy, so I’m not known for those types of things.” The penalty gave the Bengals the ball at the Vikings 44. Eight plays later, they scored to take a 28-7 lead.

3. Still a problem

Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton completed seven of 10 third-down passes to five receivers for 120 yards, five first downs and one touchdown. It was an all-too-familiar performance for a Vikings Cover 2-based defense that has struggled to get off the field all season long. Dalton completed passes of 18 yards on third-and-10, 21 yards on third-and-7, 16 yards for a touchdown on third-and-10, 34 yards on third-and-15 and 11 yards on third-and-7. “We got outplayed,” defensive end Brian Robison said. “It didn’t matter what defense we ran today. They made plays. They took shots, and their receivers caught the ball.”

4. About 2014: Don’t forget Wright

Rookie Cordarrelle Patterson showed again just how bright his future will be in whatever offense the Vikings are running a year from now. But don’t overlook second-year receiver Jarius Wright. He touched the ball only one time Sunday but still showed a double move that’s becoming a signature for him. His 36-yard touchdown was a route called the “Puma Pump.” He showed a comeback move that completely hooked Kirkpatrick. Then, with Kirkpatrick off balance, Wright finished with a go route. “You just never know when the double move is coming because I also run different routes well,” Wright said. “That kind of confuses the defense because, like last week, I actually caught a ball from [Matt] Cassel on the comeback move. Today, I showed the comeback move, the guy bit on it, and then I showed the go. They look similar.”

5. Bengals and the big 40 at home

The Vikings aren’t the only team to get smacked upside the helmet with more than 40 points at Paul Brown Stadium. In fact, Sunday’s game was the fourth consecutive time the Bengals scored at least 41 at home. The Colts, a 10-win team heading to the playoffs, also gave up 42 points in a loss two weeks ago. The Bengals are 7-0 at home and have outscored their past four guests by a combined score of 174-71. “ ‘The Jungle’ was rocking, the crowd was loud and we tried to give them a reason to be loud by putting up some points,” defensive tackle Domata Peko said. “And we also held the best running back in the NFL [Adrian Peterson] to [45] yards, so that was good, too.”

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