Vikings defense renders miscues moot

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 24, 2012 - 4:53 AM

The Vikings got a stop after a Christian Ponder fumble, later staged a goal-line stand and limited the Texans to season-low offensive stats.

HOUSTON - Christian Ponder's one big mistake on Sunday didn't cost the Vikings anything more than 4 measly yards at a point when the league's No. 3 scoring offense was primed for a momentum swing in front of its home crowd.

That, folks, is how good the Vikings played defensively in Sunday's 23-6 victory over the Texans at Reliant Stadium.

Ponder's only turnover came on a strip sack by J.J. Watt with the Vikings leading 16-3 with 9 minutes, 37 seconds left in the third quarter. Houston's Bradie James fell on the ball at the Vikings' 45-yard line, setting off the loudest roar from a fan base that booed its team throughout most of the game.

"That cheer was one of those noises where you go, 'Oh, man, things are ripe for one of those big momentum shifts,' " linebacker Chad Greenway said. "You could feel it. We all knew it. But our mentality around here is so different now.

"We just said, 'Bring it on.' We're not hanging our heads and going, 'Oh, they're going to score a touchdown and be back in the ballgame.' No. Not this time."

On the first play, Texans quarterback Matt Schaub slightly overthrew receiver Andre Johnson on a deep ball down the right sideline.

A stutter step at the line got Johnson a half-step ahead of cornerback Chris Cook, who had spent the previous six weeks on injured reserve. But Cook recovered and was tight enough that he might have affected the arc of the throw.

"I feel me being as tall as I am [6-2] and being so close to him probably caused Schaub to put a little more air under the ball than he usually does," Cook said. "We figured they would try the home run ball on the first play."

The second snap killed the drive. Left tackle Duane Brown was called for holding Jared Allen, giving the Texans a second-and-20 situation at their 45.

"I had been selling the outside [rush] the whole game, so I was able to beat [Brown] inside," Allen said. "I thought I was going to be able to get Schaub right there, but [Brown] got his arm around my waist. I'm glad the ref called it, because last week [at St. Louis] I felt like I got molested and I didn't get a call."

Two plays later, linebacker Erin Henderson dropped running back Ben Tate for a 2-yard gain on a pass on third-and-8. The Texans punted.

"That was big because earlier in the game, they lost a fumble [at the Vikings' 23-yard line] and we go down and get a field goal, but then we fumble and they get no points," Allen said. "That's just the kind of dominant defense that we're playing."

The six points allowed were the fewest by the Vikings since a 24-3 victory over the Falcons at home in the 2007 opener. Not a bad stat when it comes on the road against a Texans team averaging 35.5 points per game.

The Vikings also held the Texans to season lows in total yards (187), rushing yards (34 on 16 carries) and third-down conversions (1-for-11).

They also had a classic goal-line stand late in the third quarter. The Texans had first-and-goal at the 1 but had to settle for a 33-yard field goal when nose tackle Fred Evans dropped Schaub for a 14-yard loss on third down from the 1.

"This," Greenway said, "was as good as I've seen us play defensively in a long, long time. It was a lot of fun."

  • related content

  • Fred Evans (90) celebrated after sacking Matt Schaub (8) in the third...

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Minnesota 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
Houston 6:30 PM
Boston
Portland 6:30 PM
Atlanta
Sacramento 6:30 PM
Cleveland
Toronto 6:30 PM
Brooklyn
Dallas 7:00 PM
Miami
LA Clippers 7:00 PM
New Orleans
Golden State 8:00 PM
Utah
Chicago 9:30 PM
Phoenix
Pittsburgh 6:00 PM
New Jersey
St. Louis 6:00 PM
Carolina
Nashville 8:00 PM
Colorado
Buffalo 9:00 PM
Vancouver
Chicago 9:00 PM
Anaheim
Harvard 5:00 PM
Princeton
Quinnipiac 6:00 PM
Canisius
Brown 6:00 PM
Cornell
Siena 6:00 PM
Manhattan
Marist 6:00 PM
Niagara
Dartmouth 6:00 PM
Penn
Oregon 7:00 PM
Arizona State
Yale 7:00 PM
Columbia
Monmouth 7:00 PM
Fairfield
IUPUI 7:00 PM
Western Ill
Oregon State 9:00 PM
Arizona
Kent State 9:00 PM
Buffalo
Canisius 11:00 AM
Monmouth
Butler 6:00 PM
Providence
Cornell 6:00 PM
Brown
Columbia 6:00 PM
Yale
Coll of Charleston 6:00 PM
Drexel
Penn 6:00 PM
Dartmouth
Elon 6:00 PM
James Madison
(19) Princeton 6:00 PM
Harvard
(9) Florida State 6:00 PM
Georgia Tech
Quinnipiac 6:00 PM
Siena
Richmond 6:00 PM
Rhode Island
Loyola-Chicago 6:05 PM
Southern Ill
Georgetown 7:00 PM
DePaul
Villanova 7:00 PM
Marquette
Wichita State 7:00 PM
Northern Iowa
Xavier 7:05 PM
Creighton
Bradley 7:05 PM
Illinois State
Missouri State 7:05 PM
Drake
Arizona 8:00 PM
Utah
(11) Arizona State 8:00 PM
Colorado
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 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

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who will win the Super Bowl?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close