The Vikings had a stunning second-half collapse in their 24-20 loss to Tampa Bay on Sunday after doing so many things right in the first half.
The Bucs deserve credit for pulling themselves together at halftime. I did a column on the drastic change in their performance for Monday's paper.
There is plenty of blame to go around on the Vikings side for the second-half failures. The offense managed just 114 yards in the second half. The defense had trouble stropping LeGarrette Blount, which slowed down their pass rush and allowed Josh Freeman to get into a rhythm.
Freeman completed 15 of 20 passes for 191 yards in the second half.
But the troubling part of the Vikings second half was their self-inflicted mistakes. Brian Robison jumped offsides on a third-down play that ended with the Vikings recovering a fumble.
Antoine Winfield and Husain Abdullah both missed tackles that turned what should have been a short gain by Preston Parker on third-and-12 into a 51-yard play.
Jared Allen was called for roughing the passer after he unnecessarily bumped Freeman after a throw, costing the Vikings 15 critical yards. The Bucs scored on a 25-yard touchdown pass to Arrelious Benn on the next play.
On the ensuing kickoff, Lorenzo Booker unwisely brought the ball out from six yards deep in the end zone and got stopped at the 9-yard line.
Then, with the Bucs in easy field-goal range inside of two minutes, Leslie Frazier opted not to use a timeout to stop the clock and save more time for his offense.
The Vikings simply aren't good enough to overcome all those mistakes.
"The offside (penalty on Robison) killed us," Allen said. "We could have had the ball at the 5-yard line. Roughing the passer on me. I wouldn’t have intentionally done it, obviously, but that’s a knucklehead move on my part to get a penalty in that situation. Still, at the end of the game, we had a chance to stop them, and I’ll take our defense against any team in the NFL. We have to find a way – if we have to stay on the field at halftime, I don’t know – but we’ve got to come out of the locker room and be better. The last two games, we’ve been pathetic. To have a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter and blow it, with this defense, Jiminy Cricket."