Patrick Reusse has been covering sports in the Twin Cities since 1968. He has been a Star Tribune sports columnist since 1988. His sportswriting credo is twofold: 1. God will provide an angle; 2. The smaller the ball, the better the writing.

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Vikings' optimism wasn't universal with 30-24 lead

Posted by: Patrick Reusse under People Updated: September 15, 2013 - 4:25 PM

The Vikings messed up a chance to put away Sunday’s game in Chicago by turning first-and-goal at the 6 into a field goal rather than a touchdown with under 5 minutes remaining.

Even that lead of 30-24 (rather than nine points), there were not gloomy thoughts here in the first tier suburb of Golden Valley – not once Jay Cutler and the Bears appeared to have no feel for their predicament as they started from the Chicago 34 with 3:15 remaining.

Cutler had looked very good a week earlier in beating Cincinnati, and for most of the first half on Sunday. And then he turned into the same whining, mistake-prone non-leader we saw first in Denver and more dramatically with the Bears.

Maybe I’ve been around too long and remember when the Bears would steal defeat from the jaws of victory against Bud Grant’s Purple, but the idea the Vikings’ big-effort game was going to get away didn’t seem feasible.

The clock was running, and Cutler was motioning in disgust, and then there was a holding penalty to push back the Bears to first-and-20 at their 39. The Bears’ offense didn’t seem to have a clue, and neither did the rookie NFL coach Marc Trestman.

And then came a short pass to the left sideline that the Vikings allowed Martellus Bennett to turn into a 23-yard gain to the 16. From there, Cutler made a magnificent throw to the left pylon, and Bennett used his 6-foot-6 frame to snatch it and all that could be said here in Golden Valley was:

“I’ll be diddly danged, this would never have happened with those lovable Chicago losers that Bud used to beat all the time … even with Sir Walter Payton in the lineup.’’

Apparently, there were other old-time Vikings followers not as confident when our heroes wound up with the field goal to make it 30-24 Vikings, rather than a touchdown to put away the season’s first victory.

My phone rang a few minutes after the 31-30 loss. It was a prominent Twin Cities businessman known internationally for his positive outlook on life.

“I have to go out, but I couldn’t leave the house until I called someone to complain,’’ he said. “That last play on the goal line … they miss a pass on second down, and then they power run Adrian Peterson into the entire defense and take the  field goal.

“They are so scared that Ponder might make a mistake that they won’t roll him out, let him make a throw or run the ball and get a touchdown and win the game? It’s the most chicken-hearted thing I’ve seen in football in years.’’

And to be absolutely candid here, my friend Mr. Positive didn’t precisely say “chicken-hearted,’’ either.

This told me that those three plays near the Bears’ goal line are going to put Bill Musgrave in competition with Bob Schnelker as the Purple Faithful’s all-time favorite offensive coordinator.


Atlanta - WP: A. Harang 11 FINAL
Pittsburgh - LP: F. Liriano 3
Houston - WP: J. Fields 7 FINAL
NY Yankees - LP: D. Robertson 4
Seattle - WP: H. Iwakuma 5 FINAL
Philadelphia - LP: A. Burnett 2
Arizona - LP: C. Anderson 1 FINAL
Washington - WP: S. Strasburg 8
LA Angels - WP: J. Smith 4 FINAL
Boston - LP: K. Uehara 3
Detroit - WP: J. Johnson 8 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: G. Balfour 6
Texas - LP: N. Cotts 3 FINAL
Miami - WP: S. Dyson 4
San Francisco - LP: R. Vogelsong 0 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: T. Wada 2
Baltimore - WP: C. Tillman 5 FINAL
Chicago WSox - LP: J. Quintana 1
Cleveland - WP: K. Crockett 7 FINAL
Minnesota - LP: B. Duensing 5
Toronto - LP: J. Happ 1 FINAL
Milwaukee - WP: M. Fiers 6
Cincinnati - LP: J. Hoover 4 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: P. Neshek 5
Kansas City - WP: J. Shields 7 FINAL
Colorado - LP: T. Matzek 4
NY Mets - LP: D. Gee 2 FINAL
Oakland - WP: S. Kazmir 6
San Diego - LP: I. Kennedy 6 FINAL
Los Angeles - WP: K. Correia 8
Pittsburgh 8/21/14 6:30 PM
Carolina 8/22/14 6:30 PM
New England
NY Giants 8/22/14 6:30 PM
NY Jets
Jacksonville 8/22/14 6:30 PM
Oakland 8/22/14 7:00 PM
Green Bay
Chicago 8/22/14 9:00 PM
Tampa Bay 8/23/14 3:30 PM
Tennessee 8/23/14 6:00 PM
Dallas 8/23/14 6:00 PM
Washington 8/23/14 6:30 PM
New Orleans 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Minnesota 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Kansas City
St. Louis 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Houston 8/23/14 8:00 PM
San Diego 8/24/14 3:00 PM
San Francisco
Cincinnati 8/24/14 7:00 PM
Montreal 8/22/14 7:30 PM
Toronto 8/23/14 3:00 PM
Calgary 8/24/14 2:00 PM
Saskatchewan 8/24/14 6:00 PM
Brt Columbia
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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 pm
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pm
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis Noon
Sep 14 - vs. New England Noon
Sep 21 - at New Orleans Noon
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pm
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pm
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit Noon
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo Noon
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon




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