Vikings win, Ponder injured after guiding comeback

  • Article by: CHIP SCOGGINS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 8, 2013 - 10:53 AM

The script was remarkably fitting on a night that started one way and veered completely in an opposite direction.

Down to only 42 players in uniform because of a rash of injuries, the Vikings secured their first victory on American soil Thursday night in unlikely fashion: With Christian Ponder leading a comeback and their defense holding firm.

Strange developments, right?

Matt Cassel provided a steady hand in relief of an injured Ponder and the defense cranked up the pass rush after a miserable first half as the Vikings halted their four-game losing streak with a 34-27 victory against the Washington Redskins at Mall of America Field.

The Redskins had three consecutive incompletions from the Vikings 4-yard line in the final 38 seconds to end a potential rally, allowing the 2-7 Vikings and their fans to breathe.

“There were many times during the course of that game when they could have said, ‘Oh, no, here we go again,’ ” coach Leslie Frazier said. “But they didn’t. They just kept battling and believing that we were going to get a win.”

In one frenetic stretch, Ponder finally looked like the quarterback the Vikings desperately have wanted since drafting him 12th overall in 2011. He made critical plays with his arm and feet. He didn’t look skittish when the pocket collapsed. And he didn’t appear nervous with a double-digit deficit on the scoreboard.

But in a cruel bit of irony, Ponder didn’t get a chance to finish what he started thanks to a shoulder injury that sent him to the locker room at the end of the third quarter.

With his team trailing 27-14 in the third quarter, Ponder directed back-to-back touchdown drives. The first one ended on a 28-yard touchdown pass to tight end John Carlson.

On the next possession, the Vikings faced a third-and-12 from the Washington 43. The Redskins’ pass rush chased Ponder from the pocket, but he found Jarius Wright standing along the sideline for a 28-yard completion.

Then, on the next play, Ponder scrambled to his left and sprinted for the end zone. He dived for the goal line but was drilled hard by DeAngelo Hall, knocking the ball loose out of bounds at the 1-yard line.

Ponder got up holding his left arm and returned to the locker room. Frazier said Ponder dislocated his left shoulder but did not give a timetable for his return. Ponder had his arm in a sling after the game. Frazier expressed hope that Ponder would be available for the Vikings’ next game, at Seattle.

Ponder completed 17 of 21 passes for 174 yards and two touchdowns with one interception.

“I think Christian is really growing,” Frazier said. “He’s becoming more confident, more in command. He’s growing as a leader. Just the fact that he never got shaken, even after that interception [on the first drive]. That did not cause him to go into the tank and have self-doubt. He came back and played some of his best football.”

Cassel replaced Ponder, and on his first play he handed the ball to Adrian Peterson, who went 1 yard for a touchdown to give the Vikings a 28-27 lead.

The Vikings defense took over at that point. Shredded in the first half, the Vikings turned up the heat on Robert Griffin III. The Vikings collected three sacks in the fourth quarter alone. Veteran Pro Bowl tackle Kevin Williams collected 2½ sacks and four quarterback hits.

“We always play hard, [it’s] just not executing,” Williams said. “That’s been the story all year. Shoot, we had to do it eventually. We put a second half together.”

Their first half was a mess. Members of the Vikings defense fumed over coaches’ play calls after a late-game meltdown at Dallas on Sunday. Defensive coordinator Alan Williams returned the favor in the halftime locker room.

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Buffalo 12/28/14 12:00 PM
New England
Cleveland 12/28/14 12:00 PM
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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
TBA 1/3/15 2:00 AM
TBA
TBA 1/3/15 2:00 AM
TBA
Toronto 110 FINAL
LA Clippers 98
Boston 88 FINAL
Washington 101
Orlando 102 FINAL
Charlotte 94
Memphis 103 FINAL
Miami 95
Indiana 96 4th Qtr 5:15
Brooklyn 80
New Orleans 98 4th Qtr 0:44
Chicago 106
Atlanta 64 3rd Qtr 2:26
Milwaukee 58
Philadelphia 32 3rd Qtr
Utah 44
New York 2 1st Qtr 10:10
Sacramento 2
Minnesota 9:30 PM
Golden State
NY Islanders 3 FINAL(SO)
Buffalo 4
Detroit 3 FINAL(OT)
Ottawa 2
Carolina 1 FINAL
Tampa Bay 2
New Jersey 1 FINAL
NY Rangers 3
Boston 2 FINAL
Columbus 6
Winnipeg 4 FINAL(OT)
Minnesota 3
Washington 3 FINAL
Pittsburgh 0
Dallas 4 3rd Prd 14:38
St. Louis 2
Philadelphia 1 3rd Prd 11:07
Nashville 3
Anaheim 1 3rd Prd 8:13
Arizona 1
Chicago 2 2nd Prd 13:36
Colorado 2
Edmonton 0 1st Prd 17:31
Calgary 0
San Jose 9:00 PM
Los Angeles
Indiana 87 FINAL
Georgetown 91
Maine 43 FINAL
Seton Hall 72
UNC-Wilmington 82 FINAL
Minnesota 108
Georgia State 61 FINAL
Green Bay 78
Jacksonville St 61 FINAL
Jacksonville 75
Kentucky 58 FINAL
Louisville 50
Northern Ky 55 FINAL
Northwestern 76
UAB 58 FINAL
North Carolina 89
IUPUI 55 FINAL
Pepperdine 53
Santa Clara 60 FINAL
St Marys-CA 73
Oakland 56 FINAL
Maryland 72
Gonzaga 87 FINAL
BYU 80
Mercer 77 FINAL
Georgia 86
San Francisco 77 FINAL
Pacific 71
Wright State 55 FINAL
Ohio State 100
Presbyterian 65 FINAL
Virginia Tech 87
Brescia 42 FINAL
Western Ky 89
Tennessee St 43 2nd Half 2:38
Tennessee 61
Kennesaw St 18 2nd Half 18:30
Illinois 57
Colorado State 24 2nd Half 16:17
New Mexico St 30
Portland 37 2nd Half 11:34
San Diego 37
Wayland Baptist 38 2nd Half 15:31
Utah State 44
Bristol University 39 2nd Half 15:20
Weber State 67
Sacramento St 43 2nd Half 14:30
Utah Valley U 38
Southern Utah 7 1st Half 15:32
UNLV 14
SD Christian 4 1st Half 16:30
San Diego St 8
Illinois 18 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 35
Rutgers 40 FINAL
North Carolina 21
NC State 34 FINAL
UCF 27
Cincinnati 17 FINAL
Virginia Tech 33
(15) Arizona State 36 FINAL
Duke 31
Miami-Florida 21 FINAL
So Carolina 24
Boston College 30 FINAL
Penn State 31
(25) Nebraska 17 3rd Qtr
(24) USC 24
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Texas
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(14) UCLA
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Florida
SMU 45 FINAL
(2) Connecticut 96
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Houston 50
BYU 62 FINAL
Gonzaga 78
Pacific 92 FINAL
San Francisco 54
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Santa Clara 61
San Diego 87 FINAL
Portland 65
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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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