Craig: For every NFL action, there's an overreaction

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 31, 2012 - 6:50 AM

Win two games and you're Super Bowl-bound. Lose two and you're a bum. Players get used to it.

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Leslie Frazier shook hands with Jim Harbaugh at the end of the game. Minnesota beat San Francisco by a final score of 24-13.

Photo: Carlos Gonzalez, Star Tribune

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Charlie Johnson means no disrespect to the fans, the battalions of former players-turned-analysts or the modern sports journalist whose ironclad declarations tend to flip-flop with every 141st character.

"I guess it's the nature of the business," the Vikings left guard said. "And you see it with every team, not just us. But ..."

Pay attention. This is a good point by the big fella.

"Team A wins two in a row and they're going to the Super Bowl," Johnson said. "Team A loses the next week and it's, 'You stink.' All season long, it's, 'You're a contender! No, you stink. You're a contender! No, you stink. ...'"

In the pendulum of perception, the Vikings stink. Bad. Double-digit-loss-at-home-on-a-Thursday-night-to-Tampa-Bay bad.

In fact, the Vikings never will win another game. Ever. Unless they win this week at Seattle, which is 3-0 at CenturyLink Torture Chamber. Then the Vikings are unlikely to lose again. Ever.

"Thursday night was just one game," cornerback Antoine Winfield said.

Say what!?

"I'm sure everyone has games like that," Winfield said. "Not playing the way you expect to play or have already shown how you can play. Happens all the time to good teams."

A year ago, the Giants lost their opener at Washington 28-14. They stunk. Then they won three in a row. They were a contender! Then they suffered a double-digit loss at home to a 1-3 Seattle team that had recently been shut out at Pittsburgh. Yes, they stunk ... until they won their next three.

Then the Giants lost four consecutive games and really, really stunk. Until they won the Super Bowl.

If recent NFL history is an indicator, the team that will drive to the Super Bowl still is fumbling around the house looking for its keys. In 2005, the Steelers won it all as the sixth and final seed in the AFC. Two years ago, the Packers won it all as the sixth and final seed in the NFC.

"My thing is it's only Week 8," Vikings defensive end Brian Robison said. "Does it really matter who the so-called 'surprise' team is right now?"

We've reached the halfway point of the season for 12 teams. The three worst teams from last season -- Indianapolis (4-3), St. Louis (3-5) and the Vikings (5-3) -- already have surpassed last year's win totals. The Buccaneers (3-4) can match last year's total if they win at Oakland on Sunday.

Asked who the biggest surprise team in the league is at the halfway point of the season, Winfield smiled and said, "What about us? We're good."

Remember, 'Toine? You lost last week? You currently stink forever and ever? Try to keep up, will ya?

Yes, 'Toine, the 49ers have cycled back to Super Bowl 'contender.' Yes, you manhandled them. But, c'mon, that was so September. You couldn't possibly play like that again. Ever.

Speaking of ancient history that stretches all the way back to seven weeks ago, does anyone remember the Monday Night Football game on Sept. 17?

That was the night we all said goodbye to the competitive part of Peyton Manning's career. In Denver's 27-21 loss at Atlanta, poor Peyton's right arm died on national television. Fizzling and spinning around the Georgia Dome like a balloon that hadn't been tied off, Peyton's arm threw three picks and posted a 58.5 passer rating.

Another loss the next week at home against Houston confirmed the time of death. Until the next four games, when Manning became the first quarterback in NFL history to post four consecutive games with at least 300 yards, three touchdowns and a completion percentage of 70. And, yes, at 4-3, the Broncos are very much a contender. At least for another four days.

"The thing about surprises is it's only a surprise to the people on the outside," Johnson said. "I think a lot of people figured we'd be last in the division. And there are still eight games left, so we could end up that way and prove everybody right. I don't think we have that in us. But, I don't know, the swings every week are crazy. Just let the season play out."

Mark Craig • mark.craig@startribune.com

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Cleveland 47 3rd Qtr 9:11
Indiana 55
Washington 46 3rd Qtr 10:01
Philadelphia 47
Golden State 45 2nd Qtr 4:48
Toronto 23
New York 33 2nd Qtr 3:20
Detroit 51
Orlando 34 2nd Qtr 3:12
Atlanta 38
Charlotte 49 3rd Qtr
Boston 45
LA Clippers 15 1st Qtr 2:55
Memphis 9
Brooklyn 29 1st Qtr 2:56
Houston 18
Miami 19 1st Qtr 2:59
New Orleans 22
Minnesota 19 1st Qtr 2:57
Chicago 21
Utah 8:00 PM
Denver
San Antonio 9:00 PM
Sacramento
Milwaukee 9:30 PM
LA Lakers
Oklahoma City 9:30 PM
Portland
Boston 1 3rd Prd
New Jersey 0
Calgary 0 2nd Prd 1:29
NY Islanders 1
Washington 0 2nd Prd 5:59
Carolina 2
Chicago 0 2nd Prd
Tampa Bay 0
Colorado 7:30 PM
Dallas
Los Angeles 9:00 PM
Anaheim
Siena 63 FINAL
Quinnipiac 73
Harvard 45 2nd Half 0:23
Cornell 54
Penn 42 2nd Half 12:23
Brown 54
Fairfield 49 2nd Half 11:55
Canisius 44
Manhattan 42 2nd Half 13:45
Iona 48
Saint Peters 41 2nd Half 12:45
Marist 54
Princeton 52 2nd Half 10:11
Yale 51
Ohio 19 1st Half 6:54
Akron 15
Dartmouth 13 1st Half 11:56
Columbia 17
Valparaiso 9:00 PM
Cleveland State
Louisiana Tech 75 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 88
Seton Hall 68 2nd Half 8:03
Xavier 41
Cornell 27 2nd Half 20:00
Harvard 23
Yale 32 2nd Half 8:10
(14) Princeton 57
Elon 40 2nd Half 6:11
Drexel 45
Northeastern 30 2nd Half 15:52
James Madison 43
St Johns 47 2nd Half 9:06
Butler 37
Creighton 59 2nd Half 7:17
Georgetown 52
Brown 40 2nd Half 9:29
Penn 59
Columbia 29 2nd Half 13:30
Dartmouth 39
Canisius 36 2nd Half 7:52
Siena 41
St Josephs Brooklyn 19 2nd Half 16:29
NJIT 41
Western Carolina 49 2nd Half 14:34
UNC Greensboro 43
Colorado 19 1st Half 6:54
Arizona 17
Southern Ill 18 1st Half 11:54
Bradley 17
Drake 13 1st Half 9:52
Wichita State 16
Indiana State 23 1st Half 6:38
Evansville 17
Illinois State 13 1st Half 11:45
Loyola-Chicago 13
Northern Iowa 12 1st Half 11:47
Missouri State 14
Utah 7:30 PM
(10) Arizona State
Providence 7:30 PM
Villanova
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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 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami NoonX37-35
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago NoonX13-9

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