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Continued: Ponder on Ponder: Vikings QB critiques his own play

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG , Star Tribune
  • Last update: September 8, 2013 - 9:29 AM

Ponder says: “This is a play that we schemed against them. We knew that on third-and-long situations, they run this coverage, so great call by Bill Musgrave. They have three safeties. It turns into a prevent Cover 3. This guy [on the left] always fell inside, opening up that hole. … [Laughing] What am I thinking? My arm was aching at this point. The short throw to Adrian two plays earlier, it was incomplete. I couldn’t even put it on Adrian just because my motion was limited. So I was just lucky to get enough on this ball to get it out there to Jenkins.”

Conclusion

Ponder’s fourth-quarter numbers: 3-for-5 for 93 yards and one touchdown. Twice, he started drives with the score tied and Rodgers playing at his best (365 yards, four touchdowns, no interceptions, 131.8 passer rating). Twice, Ponder helped put points on the board.

But we all know how the tale ultimately ended. That right elbow wouldn’t allow Ponder to play the following week’s wild-card game at Green Bay. Then-backup Joe Webb, who hadn’t thrown a pass all season, was overwhelmed in a lopsided loss, while Ponder’s encore had to wait until Sunday when he opens his second full season as a starter with his 27th career start.

Naturally, without a playoff appearance to try and validate his 4-0 regular-season finish, Ponder, a 59.2 percent career passer, still faces a lot of questions and doubts in what most people assume is a make-or-break year for him.

“You ask, ‘Will he take the next step?’ ” said Fox analyst and two-time Super Bowl winning coach Jimmy Johnson. “I don’t know if it’s possible, to tell you the truth.”

Aikman said Ponder better take the next step. Or else.

“This season for the Vikings depends on that,” Aikman said. “It’s hard to imagine them being able to have the year they had last year and do it the same way. … I’m looking forward to seeing how he does.”

Everyone is.





 

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