The Vikings did it! They proved to everyone they CAN win, they CAN beat Dallas and they DID it. The defense played huge! That’s how you win championships. Yes, the offense played well and scored points, but the defense played out of their minds.
The tempo was established in the first quarter. The defense attacked and pressured Dallas quarterback Tony Romo. That was the key for the game: getting to him and not allowing him to throw the ball. He’s a great player, who with time, can deliver. Dallas didn’t get this far in the season without having some quality game.
Ray Edwards probably played one of the best games in his career. With three sacks, a caused fumble and pressure to boot, he was definitely a leader. When I played, it’s my experience that big plays like that make the game, so they want to continue making all the big plays they can. Other key players on our defense were Jared Allen, Kevin Williams and Pat Williams. I feel the best part, which I alluded to last week, was that the defense needed to step up to the next level and they did! Ben Leber probably made the biggest play to seal the victory by intercepting the ball in the third quarter. Romo’s timing was off, and that’s due to the pass rush. We were h-o-t!
Even special teams stepped it up today! The kicking was perfect, and the coverage was outstanding. Everyone was on their feet and getting to the ball. With the week off, players had a lot of bottled up energy.
The Vikings defense set up the offense to get points by creating turnovers. That happened on at least three separate occasions. If you look throughout the playoff weekend, the Vikings defense was the only team that didn’t allow a touchdown. Amazing!
During the season, other teams saw the Vikings stats and where they were ranked on the passing game, the sacks, etc. Today there were 28 other teams watching, and the Vikings proved they are capable of playing like champions!
The Vikings offensive line gave Brett time to do his job. Even though AP did not run for a lot of yards, he didn’t fumble and he ran hard. That’s all a part of the game and he’ll get his time. But when one area doesn’t happen, it’s good to know that we can go to another element, the pass, to make things happen. Speaking of the pass, Sidney Rice is truly a gifted receiver. I feel he’s the best in the NFL this year. He proved it today. His work off the field made him capable of making things happen.
The Vikings didn’t turn the ball over today, that’s crucial in the playoffs! If you have turnovers and sacks, the game never seems to go your way. I can’t say anymore how great a job they did. They are in the right direction and doing the right things. They just have to continue studying, preparing, concentrating and getting mentally focused as they move into next week. They should enjoy the victory today. Come Monday morning, it’s back to preparing for the Saints.
I’ll be back mid-week to let you know where I feel we need to focus on for the NFC Championship.