Short week forces Ponder to forget about awful day

  • Article by: DAN WIEDERER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 23, 2012 - 6:41 PM

The QB can't dwell on his recent struggles with a game Thursday.

Perhaps no player in the NFL has welcomed the Sunday-to-Thursday quick flip the way Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder will this week.

Yes, Ponder has very little time to refocus and prepare before Thursday's home game against Tampa Bay. But on the bright side, that also means he won't have to wallow too long in the worry and frustration that has erupted after his miserable effort Sunday against Arizona.

Yes, the Vikings won 21-14. But had you ignored the final score and instead gauged momentum based solely on what is being said on sports talk radio and written in comments sections on the Internet, you might guess the 5-2 Vikings were in freefall.

Ponder's shaky Sunday -- his third in a row with multiple turnovers -- suddenly has sparked an inquiry, the conclusions of which are fairly easy to deduce.

Fifty-eight passing yards for an entire game? Not so good.

A quarterback rating of 35.5? Whoa.

One completion in seven second-half attempts? Yikes.

Still, most disconcerting Sunday were the two interceptions Ponder threw, a pair of giveaways in the second quarter that gave Arizona possession at the Vikings 16 and 29.

The Cardinals turned the first turnover into a four-play touchdown drive. The Vikings survived Ponder's second pick when Arizona kicker Jay Feely missed a 47-yard field goal as the first half ended.

Ponder never regrouped and neither did the offense, netting only 58 yards and two first downs after halftime.

Coach's support

Suddenly, legitimate questions have been raised about whether Ponder will experience another confidence slide similar to the one that doomed him in December of his rookie year.

The most panicky of the Chicken Little crowd might soon start making calls for Joe Webb.

All of which prompted Vikings coach Leslie Frazier to voice his unwavering support for Ponder on Monday.

Frazier praised Arizona's defensive schemes and ability to neutralize the Vikings' top receivers.

The coach also asserted that Ponder is far more mature and resilient as a quarterback than he was as a rookie.

"He's so different from a year ago when it comes to negative plays," Frazier said. "I've seen it and we've all seen it over these first seven games where he's had some bad plays and he's bounced back. ... [Sunday] was a tough day against a very, very good defense. But he's not the same Christian Ponder that he was a year ago. I'm convinced of it."

Sure, with seven turnovers in the past three games, Ponder might be seeing his outside approval rating plummeting.

Praised at the start of the month as an intelligent playmaker who doesn't try to do too much, Ponder is now being skewered by anxious fans and critics as turnover-prone and jumpy under pressure.

Frazier isn't worried.

"There are going to be some tough days for him," Frazier said. "He'll get better."

Taking no chances

Naturally, some of Sunday's offensive slippage can be traced back to a conservative second-half approach. For the fourth time this season, the Vikings built a double-digit lead. An interception return touchdown by Harrison Smith in the first minute of the third quarter provided a 21-7 advantage.

And with such a cushion, it's clear that at this point Frazier trusts his defense to seal a victory more than he trusts his developing quarterback.

Ponder's second-half numbers this season during games where the Vikings led by two scores after halftime:

• vs. San Francisco: 6-for-12, 55 yards, one TD.

• at Detroit: 6-for-11, 52 yards.

• vs. Tennessee: 12-for-14, 100 yards, two TDs, one interception.

• vs. Arizona: 1-for-7, 4 yards.

Remember, in Week 6, the Vikings sat in a 31-12 hole early in the fourth quarter and Ponder wound up throwing for a season-best 353 yards. But 212 of those plus two TD passes came in the final period with the Vikings in full catch-up mode.

So statistics don't always provide full context.

Still, Ponder will be the first to admit he struggled mightily against Arizona, with a flood of bad decisions and poor throws.

"I'm trying to do too many things," he said. "I'm getting out of the pocket and trying to force it to happen. I have to be a lot smarter and make better decisions for sure."

For better or worse, the opportunity to regroup comes quickly this week.

  • VIKINGS Up next: 7:20 p.m. Thursday vs. Tampa Bay • Mall of America Field • TV: NFL Network, Ch. 11 (100.3-FM, 1130-AM)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

San Francisco - M. Bumgarner 7:07 PM
Pittsburgh - E. Volquez
Minnesota 10/2/14 7:25 PM
Green Bay
Buffalo 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Chicago 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Cleveland 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
St. Louis 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Atlanta 10/5/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Tampa Bay 10/5/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Houston 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Dallas
Baltimore 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Pittsburgh 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Arizona 10/5/14 3:05 PM
Denver
Kansas City 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
NY Jets 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Diego
Cincinnati 10/5/14 7:30 PM
New England
Seattle 10/6/14 7:30 PM
Washington
Washington 6:00 PM
Buffalo
Carolina 6:00 PM
Columbus
Pittsburgh 6:30 PM
Detroit
Montreal 7:30 PM
Chicago
Arizona 8:00 PM
Edmonton
Fla Atlantic 10/2/14 6:00 PM
FIU
UCF 10/2/14 6:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 10/2/14 9:30 PM
(2) Oregon
Louisville 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Syracuse
San Diego St 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Utah State 10/3/14 9:15 PM
(18) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(12) Miss State
Ball State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Army
Iowa State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(21) Oklahoma State
Marshall 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Old Dominion
Southern Miss 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Middle Tennessee
(20) Ohio State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Maryland
Purdue 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Florida 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
SMU 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(22) East Carolina
Virginia Tech 10/4/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Eastern Mich 10/4/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Texas 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Indiana
Massachusetts 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Tulsa 10/4/14 2:00 PM
Colorado State
New Mexico 10/4/14 2:30 PM
TX-San Antonio
(3) Alabama 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(11) Ole Miss
(14) Stanford 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(9) Notre Dame
(17) Wisconsin 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Navy 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
(7) Baylor 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Texas
(4) Oklahoma 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(25) TCU
Wake Forest 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
NC State 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Clemson
Buffalo 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Bowling Green
Ohio U 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich
Oregon State 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Colorado
Vanderbilt 10/4/14 3:00 PM
(13) Georgia
Kansas 10/4/14 3:00 PM
West Virginia
Kent State 10/4/14 4:00 PM
Northern Ill
South Alabama 10/4/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St
Texas-El Paso 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
(15) LSU 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
UAB 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Ky
Texas Tech 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(23) Kansas State
Michigan 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rutgers
Hawaii 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rice
Toledo 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Mich
ULM 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
Idaho 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Texas State
Memphis 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Arizona State 10/4/14 6:30 PM
(16) USC
So Carolina 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Kentucky
Pittsburgh 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Virginia
Miami-Florida 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Georgia Tech
(19) Nebraska 10/4/14 7:00 PM
(10) Michigan State
UNLV 10/4/14 7:00 PM
San Jose St
Ga Southern 10/4/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Utah 10/4/14 9:30 PM
(8) UCLA
Boise State 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Winnipeg 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Edmonton 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pm
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit Noon
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo Noon
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How will the Vikings do against Atlanta?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close