ReFo: Vikings @ Seahawks, Week 9
That was the case on Sunday as two running backs combined to excite and enthrall a boisterous Seattle crowd. Yet, when all was said and done, the real separator between the two teams was the difference between the two quarterbacks, and that is ultimately why the Seahawks walked away with a precious win.
For Minnesota, their promising start to the season is starting to fizzle but all hope is not lost. Let’s look at some of the key performers.
Minnesota – Three Performances of Note
The Best Back in the League
Where do you start when you talk about Adrian Peterson (+4.4)? Our top-ranked back heading into the week, he looked like making something every time he touched the ball with a combination of speed, power and lateral agility that left Seahawks defenders flat footed time and time again. When all was said and done he’d forced eight missed tackles and picked up 126 yards after contact. Nothing highlighted his brilliance (and brilliance is probably not a strong enough word to use) than his second rush of the game where he made a good cut, forced two missed tackles, then made another cut before sprinting away, only for Brandon Browner to catch up. Simply a joy to watch.
Not the Best Quarterback in the League
As good as Peterson was, Christian Ponder (-5.5) was nearly as bad. He overthrew his receivers on a variety of throws, often times forcing balls into coverage that had between slim and no chance of being complete. Ultimately, he was ‘rewarded’ with the interception his performance deserved with 5:36 to go in the fourth quarter, and it made the stat line far more reflective of his display on the day. The 63 yards are an embarrassing figure, but when only 27 of those actually came in the air you know how much he is holding this team back.
Still Going Strong
There are some out there who think that Kevin Williams (+3.5) is overrated. That the reputation he earned from his years of dominance blinds people to how he is playing now. While it’s true that he’s not at that level of dominance, he’s hardly ready for the scrapheap. He was unlucky in that he had a sack called back due to a Brian Robison offsides penalty, and he got the better of John Moffit on a number of occasions. Throw in a blocked extra point and you’ve got one Viking defender who can be happy with his performance.
Seattle – Three Performances of Note
Anything You Can Do …
While it would be incorrect to say that Marshawn Lynch (+4.3) had quite the same impact as Peterson running the ball, you won’t see too many games this year where a back is able to do as much as Lynch did. His 4.8 yards per carry (including some clock killing at the end) saw him force four missed tackles. He also picked up 60 yards after contact as he nearly always managed to drag Vikings defenders with him for an extra yard. His ability to run the ball continues to make this offense tick, setting up the play action and making life a lot easier for his rookie quarterback.
A Rookie in Name Only
Speaking of which, it almost seems that Russell Wilson (+4.1) is getting better on a week-to-week basis. This may have been his finest performance to date with a near flawless first half coupled with a second half where he didn’t put the ball in any dangerous positions. His command of the offense is apparent for all to see and his accuracy was impossible to miss, and in our Accuracy Percentage Signature Stat, he scored an 86.4%. A lot of teams are starting to regret passing over Wilson.
Quiet Day Up Front
There’s no shame in failing to impose your will on a line like the Vikings’. However, after such a strong start to the year it will disappoint more than a few people to see the drop off Seattle’s in defensive line play. This was another game where they were hardly dominated, but neither did they dominate. Brandon Mebane started off well, but John Sullivan soon came to grips with him. Red Bryant rarely had any joy against anyone other than Kyle Rudolph. Have teams figured this line out? We’ll see in the upcoming weeks, but they’re not playing at the level they were before the 49ers humbled them.
– Sidney Rice earned at least one positive grade for his receiving, run blocking and passing in this game.
– Rookie left tackle Matt Kalil was perfect in pass protection and earned his highest grade in the run game to date.
– He gave up a penalty, but after that Marcus Trufant allowed only three of four passes into his coverage, for 9 yards.
Which way to go? Wilson is probably the cooler pick, but it was the running of Marshawn Lynch that kept the Seahawks from falling behind early on, and what closed the game off late.
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