1. Sendejo: ‘Not intent to hurt’ Wallace
The scariest play of the game, if not the season, came three minutes in when Vikings safety Andrew Sendejo delivered a crushing blow to the head of former Vikings receiver Mike Wallace. “It happened so fast,” Sendejo said. “I’ll have to watch the tape. All I know is I just ran in there and made the tackle. We had the ball. And then they called unnecessary roughness.” Wallace ran a slant route, caught the ball and was in the grasp of cornerback Xavier Rhodes. Sendejo blasted Wallace’s head, knocking his helmet off as he slammed into the ground. Wallace suffered a concussion and didn’t return. “Obviously, there was no intent to hurt Mike,” Sendejo said. “He was here for a year. I got to know him. Hopefully, he recovers and can play next week.” The Ravens used Sendejo’s penalty to take a 3-0 lead.
2. Underrated J-Wright to the third-down rescue
All young receivers should watch how Jarius Wright moves on third downs. He continues to be the Vikings’ most underrated player. Sunday, he caught three balls for a team-high 54 yards and three first downs. Two came on third down. The most savvy came on third-and-10 from the Vikings’ 16-yard line in the second quarter. “They sent the nickel blitz, which they’re known for,” Wright said. “I had an option where to set up. I just went to the zone over the middle. Case found me.” The 12-yard gain jumpstarted a 15-play drive that led to a field goal. Earlier, Laquon Treadwell caught a ball on third-and-10, but his route was short of the marker. “We can adjust our routes to go where we need to [for the first down],” Wright said. “I made sure I went to where I needed to get to.”
3. Ravens get grabby, especially on pick
Coaches and players were heard talking about how often Baltimore’s defensive backs grabbed receivers without penalty. No Raven got more daring with his grabbing than cornerback Brandon Carr. The Vikings had the perfect start going. They won the coin toss, forced a three-and-out and got a 46-yard Marcus Sherels punt return. The next play was a nice deep throw to Treadwell inside the 10. Treadwell went up and got his right hand on the ball. But his left arm stayed down. Why? Because it was hooked under Carr’s right arm. Carr made the juggling interception. “I’m not the ref, so I don’t know what he saw,” Treadwell said. “[Carr] had great technique. It’s something I’ll have to work on because I’m pretty sure it will happen more often. I need to figure out how to overcome it and make the play or get the call.”
4. Thielen punished for showing rare temper?
With five catches for 41 yards, Adam Thielen has caught at least five balls in every game this season. He could have had a very important sixth catch, but was flagged for offensive pass interference after making a 3-yard grab on third-and-3 at the Baltimore 20-yard line early in the third quarter. The Vikings settled for a field goal and a 12-6 lead. Replays showed Thielen pushed off, but it was a borderline call that sometimes goes overlooked. “They usually flag the second guy, not the first,” Thielen said. Perhaps the officials were sending Thielen a message for how much he complained in the first half about not getting defensive holding calls. “Yeah, I’m sure they don’t like when I’m complaining,” Thielen said. “So that’s probably my fault. I have to get over it faster. I get a little heated up in the game sometimes.”
5. After another low hit, Tom Johnson perseveres
For the second time this season, a big defensive play was wiped out when tackle Tom Johnson was flagged for roughing the passer. And for the second time this season, it wasn’t a head shot that got him, but rather a low shot around the knees. The score was 3-3 when a blitzing Anthony Barr forced Joe Flacco to throw incomplete. But then came the flag on Johnson, who drew the same penalty against the Saints. “I beat the center clean,” Johnson said. “As I got by him, Flacco stepped up into me. I wasn’t being malicious. I wasn’t trying to take him out of the game.” Three plays later, Johnson beat his man clean again. This time, he got his first sack of the season to force a punt. “I guess you could say it was my time,” Johnson said. “I’ve been close all year.”