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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Buffalo 12/28/14 12:00 PM
New England
Cleveland 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Dallas 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Washington
Indianapolis 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Jacksonville 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
NY Jets 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Chicago 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Philadelphia 12/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
New Orleans 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Carolina 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Atlanta
Detroit 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Oakland 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Denver
Arizona 12/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
St. Louis 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Cincinnati 12/28/14 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Washington 102 FINAL
New York 91
Oklahoma City 114 FINAL
San Antonio 106
Cleveland 91 FINAL
Miami 101
LA Lakers 93 FINAL
Chicago 113
Golden State 86 FINAL
LA Clippers 100
DePaul 69 FINAL
Loyola Marymount 72
Ohio 58 FINAL
Nebraska 71
Colorado 66 FINAL
Hawaii 69
George Washington 60 FINAL
Wichita State 54
Central Mich 48 FINAL
Western Ky 49
Fresno State 6 FINAL
Rice 30
Illinois 12/26/14 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 12/26/14 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 12/26/14 7:00 PM
UCF
Cincinnati 12/27/14 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Duke 12/27/14 1:10 PM
(15) Arizona State
Miami-Florida 12/27/14 2:30 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 12/27/14 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 12/27/14 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 12/29/14 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 12/29/14 8:00 PM
Texas
Notre Dame 12/30/14 2:00 PM
(22) LSU
(13) Georgia 12/30/14 5:45 PM
(20) Louisville
Maryland 12/30/14 9:00 PM
Stanford
(9) Ole Miss 12/31/14 11:30 AM
(6) TCU
(21) Boise State 12/31/14 3:00 PM
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(19) Auburn 1/1/15 11:00 AM
(17) Wisconsin
(7) Michigan State 1/1/15 11:30 AM
(4) Baylor
(16) Missouri 1/1/15 12:00 PM
Minnesota
(2) Florida State 1/1/15 4:00 PM
(3) Oregon
(5) Ohio State 1/1/15 7:30 PM
(1) Alabama
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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 Noon

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