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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NY Mets 3 FINAL
St. Louis 2
Pittsburgh 4 FINAL
Atlanta 2
Miami 7 FINAL
Washington 11
Detroit 4 FINAL
Philadelphia 4
Minnesota 6 FINAL
Baltimore 5
NY Yankees 7 FINAL
Houston 0
Tampa Bay 2 FINAL
Boston 3
Baltimore 4 FINAL
Toronto 2
Cincinnati 8 FINAL
LA Angels 6
Chicago Cubs 7 FINAL
Kansas City 0
Los Angeles 9 FINAL
San Francisco 11
Chicago WSox 4 FINAL
Cleveland 1
Milwaukee 0 FINAL
Oakland 7
Seattle 5 FINAL
San Diego 8
Texas 5 FINAL
Los Angeles 10
Colorado 11 FINAL
Arizona 10
Arizona 1 FINAL
Colorado 2
Houston 99 FINAL
Washington 91
LA Lakers 99 FINAL
Brooklyn 107
Minnesota 88 FINAL
New Orleans 110
Philadelphia 86 FINAL
Cleveland 87
Detroit 102 FINAL
Miami 109
LA Clippers 119 FINAL
Boston 106
Dallas 99 FINAL
Indiana 104
Memphis 89 FINAL
San Antonio 103
Oklahoma City 109 FINAL
Phoenix 97
Washington 5 FINAL
NY Rangers 2
Calgary 5 FINAL
Nashville 2
Boston 2 FINAL(OT)
Carolina 1
Detroit 4 FINAL
NY Islanders 5
Florida 4 FINAL
Ottawa 2
Anaheim 2 FINAL
New Jersey 1
Chicago 4 FINAL
Winnipeg 3
San Jose 2 FINAL(SO)
Pittsburgh 3
Michigan State 76 FINAL
Louisville 70
Gonzaga 52 FINAL
Duke 66
Philadelphia 0 FINAL
Chicago 1
Toronto FC 1 FINAL
Real Salt Lake 2
(7) Florida State 74 FINAL
(3) South Carolina 80
Villanova 70 FINAL
West Virginia 75
Michigan 69 FINAL
Southern Miss 60
Temple 69 FINAL
Middle Tennessee 57
Siena 50 FINAL
Louisiana 52
St Marys-CA 66 FINAL
UCLA 82
(5) Baylor 68 FINAL
(2) Notre Dame 77
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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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