Screen stings stalwart defense

  • Article by: CHIP SCOGGINS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 4, 2009 - 11:38 PM

Philadelphia quarterback Donovan McNabb's fourth-quarter pass to Brian Westbrook out of the backfield went for the TD that finished the Vikings.

Vikings cornerback Cedric Griffin intercepted a pass intended for Eagles wide receiver Kevin Curtis in the second quarter on Sunday.

Photo: Brian Peterson, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

The Vikings defense executed its game plan effectively for 3 1/2 quarters Sunday.

They shut down the Philadelphia Eagles run game, held Brian Westbrook in check and got pressure on quarterback Donovan McNabb. But the bottom fell out on one disastrous play in a 26-14 playoff loss at the Metrodome.

Trailing 16-14 in the fourth quarter, the Vikings needed one more stop to give their offense another chance. But on first down, Westbrook took a screen pass 71 yards for a touchdown.


"You don't want to give up a 71-yard screen, but if that happens in the first quarter or first half you can recover from it," defensive end Jared Allen said. "If it happens in the fourth quarter when you're down by two ... I thought we were dominating. We were taking away what we needed to take away. The sad part is I thought we played well enough to win until that screen play."

Said linebacker Ben Leber: "You take away that one play and we played pretty solid. But it's hard to really hang your hat on a good performance when you give up a play like that."

Defensive tackle Kevin Williams got within a step of McNabb on the pass rush but tripped as McNabb released the ball. That gave McNabb a clear lane to dump the ball off to Westbrook, who had a convoy of blockers.

Cornerback Antoine Winfield dived for Westbrook at the 45-yard line but just missed. "We can't give up that play at that point in the game," Winfield said.

That play was the only real blemish on an otherwise solid performance by a defense that played without injured starting linemen Pat Williams and Ray Edwards.

The Vikings made the Eagles completely one-dimensional, holding them to 67 yards rushing. Minnesota also had an interception by Cedric Griffin and a sack-strip by Allen, three sacks and seven quarterback hurries.

"We harassed him all day," Kevin Williams said. "He couldn't get his feet set. He was getting away from a lot of sacks that we should have had. ... Whoever thought the guy is immobile or falling off is sadly mistaken."

McNabb also took advantage of soft spots in the Vikings defense. He repeatedly found receivers over the middle.

"We ran a lot of zone blitzes, which is similar to what their defense does," Winfield said. "He knows where the weaknesses are and he hit a few today."

Still, the defense held the Eagles to three field goals and gave the Vikings a chance until that game-breaking screen play.

"I wish we could go back and have it over, that's for sure," Leber said.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Buffalo 12/28/14 12:00 PM
New England
Cleveland 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Dallas 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville 12/28/14 12:00 PM
San Diego 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
NY Jets 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Chicago 12/28/14 12:00 PM
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
Detroit 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Oakland 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Arizona 12/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
St. Louis 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Cincinnati 12/28/14 7:30 PM
Marshall 52 FINAL
Northern Ill 23
Navy 17 FINAL
San Diego St 16
Central Mich 48 FINAL
Western Ky 49
Fresno State 6 FINAL
Rice 30
Illinois 12/26/14 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 12/26/14 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 12/26/14 7:00 PM
Cincinnati 12/27/14 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Duke 12/27/14 1:10 PM
(15) Arizona State
Miami-Florida 12/27/14 2:30 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 12/27/14 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 12/27/14 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 12/29/14 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 12/29/14 8:00 PM
Notre Dame 12/30/14 2:00 PM
(22) LSU
(13) Georgia 12/30/14 5:45 PM
(20) Louisville
Maryland 12/30/14 9:00 PM
(9) Ole Miss 12/31/14 11:30 AM
(6) TCU
(21) Boise State 12/31/14 3:00 PM
(12) Arizona
(8) Miss State 12/31/14 7:00 PM
(10) Georgia Tech
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters



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




question of the day

Poll: Grade the Vikings offense

Weekly Question