My buddies over at "The Classy Gentleman" are rolling with a solid blog about the Gophers Football squad. Check it out
ESPN is releasing a new promo for their NBA broadcasts and it features a shaved up Kevin Love and also Ricky Rubio. This is now the 2nd ESPN commercial that Love has been part of in the past 3 months (other was the Sportscenter Double-Double Espresso ad) I guess you only need to be in large markets to be popular………….
Plain and simple, this Vikings season has been awful. Positives are rare, negatives are in abundance. From the QB's to the coaches to the injuries to the regression by players, it just hasn't been good. Heading into this game the Vikings were a super un-splendid 1-7 on the season, with the one victory occurring in London which when broken down looks like 1-0 in Europe, 0-7 in Merica'.
We've seen some odd personal pairings this season and a lot of them have been due to necessity. My god, last night the Vikings rolled out Andrew Sendejo and Robert Blanton as the starting safeties. You might not know who they are but they are potentially the worst safety pairing in the NFL this season.
Anyways, props to Christian Ponder for the game he played. There hasn't been a Viking beaten down by the fans since T-Jack wore the same "7" Jersey (sidenote–it might be time to ban Vikings QB's from wearing #7). When Ponder's 2nd pass of the game landed in the arms of the Redskins, the crowd couldn't have booed any quicker than what they did. At that point, things could've gotten nasty for CP7 but……they didn't. Ponder regrouped and played the kind of football that he played at the end of the 2012 when he resembled what an NFL QB should look like. In fact his game was the 14th best game by an NFL QB this season according to ESPN's Total QBR rankings.
Ponders passing stats of 17/21 for 171 yards and 2 TD's/1 INT was what we'd like to see. Remember, he didn't play the 4th quarter after he was injured late in the 3rd trying to get to the end-zone (I had him as my fantasy QB this week, I needed that TD). Of his four incompletions, they could be broken down like :
- one was the INT
- one was the bad pass nearly picked off
- one was Simpson falling down on an out route
- one was a high throw out of bounds
People don't like Christian but he played a heck of a game. If he played that game 70% of the time, there would be no talk of tanking and drafting a franchise QB in the 2014 draft. In typical Ponder fashion, as soon as it looked like he was putting it together, he separated his shoulder which led to Matt Cassel finishing out the game.
- Kevin Williams played excellent, he had 2.5 sacks and was making a habit of breaking through the Washington line
- Washington was scared $h!tless of Cordarrelle Patterson. They squibbed away from him all game, content to give up field position but wanting to avoid the huge TD
- I'm not sure why Leslie Frazier called the late timeout (other than he's not that smart and is potentially half-assing his last season as an NFL head coach). If the timeout would've been called right before the snap (like icing a kicker) I'm fine with it. Instead he called the timeout while the pile of players were being moved around. He could've burned about 5-10 seconds and then called it as Washington was lined up. he didn't though
- The Vikings defense was awful in the 1st half, allowing Washington to convert 9/11 3rd downs, in the 2nd half Washington was 0/5. HUGE!
- John Carlson has been irrelevant for the 1st 24 games of his Vikings career. With Kyle Rudolph out, Carlson stepped up and caught 7 passes for 98 yards and his 1st TD as a Vikings player.
- There was a guy behind us yelling "Johnny Football" after every Washington score. Kind of funny.
- It was an odd feeling in the dome. On one end, I want a high draft pick so I'm pulling for a loss, on the other side, the rube in me wants to win the game. I didn't know if I should cheer or not as Washington was driving the field at the end of the game. We ended up cheering because it was what's right to do. It's always fun to see a win.
- Last thing. We had a bozo in front of us. The guy was in his upper 30's, had out-kicked his coverage based on the fiance/wife with him and was a major D-bag. They had 2 kids along with them who both appeared to be between 6-8 years old. This idiot was bored in the 2nd half and decided it would be fun to teach the kids how to make paper airplanes. For a majority of the 2nd half, this fool in a Favre jersey was making piss-poor airplanes and assaulting the people about five rows in front of us. He and the kids were laughing as adults and kids in front of them were getting hit by poorly made airplanes. This same idiot was one who said "Four seconds is all the time in the world, you have to take a chance there". He said this as the Vikings took a knee from their own 25 yard line with 10 seconds to go in the half. I'm not a parent so I shouldn't comment but his human created humans and guides them…….. unreal
The Vikings trailed 35-3 at one point on Sunday at home vs the Carolina Panthers.
Carolina was 1-3 entering the game.
This Vikings game was one of the worst Vikings games in recent memories. The purple were coming off of a bye week, at home, versus a bad team and managed to still get their butts kicked. At 1-4, the season is effectively over two weeks before Halloween. Entering this week the Vikings were just a game out of the Wild Card spot but on Sunday night the Vikings are three games back. Diseased!!!
What this game reminded me of was 80% of the Twins games in the past three years. At no point was I upset today, I was just bored. My favorite crowd shot that Fox showed was when they cut to about 5 different groups of Vikings fans and all of the groups were sitting there sitting looking numb to the world. The people were not talking to each other, they were not checking their phones, they were just sitting there looking like Bernie from "Weekend at Bernies".
We essentially saw this period of the Matt Cassel era end today as the Josh Freeman era will likely begin next Monday on Monday Night Football versus the New York Giants in a game where the teams have combined for ONE win this season. If ESPN could use a mulligan on this turd-fest I'm pretty sure they would.
I'm still sticking to my guns that the QB play isn't the worst part of this team. The defense flat out sucks and cannot get off the field. They can get teams to 3rd and 7 but then they allow teams to convert them. Cam Newton dominated the Vikings today. Portly running back Mike Tolbert looked like Scottie Graham on steroids by the way the Vikings defenders couldn't tackle him. My favorite penalty the Vikings had was when we took a "Taunting" penalty after allowing a TD that made the game 13-0. The offense didn't taunt, it was the defense taunting!!! C'mon!!!!
The offensive line also looks lost and confused. With Matt Kalil, John Sullivan and Phil Loadholt this shouldn't be a problem. It is though. Last year AP was a stuf but the offensive line was able to create holes. This year……their ain't no holes!
When the only holes opened by the offensive line are ones that allow the defense to burst through and make plays in the backfield, it's not a good thing.
This season is a disaster. It may get better but not by much.
Thru 2 games of the WNBA Finals, the Minnesota Lynx have out-muscled, out-played, out-coached and out-scored the woeful Atlanta Dream as the Lynx have taken a 2-0 series lead. On Tuesday night the Lynx matched the 25 point victory margin from Game 1 to flex their dominance.
Heading into the finals it was widely thought that the Lynx would be heavy favorites to win the title and they have done almost nothing to put any doubt in anyone's minds that anything other than a sweep would be a surprise. These aren't games, these are beat downs. The 4th quarters have been closer to exhibitions than playoff games. In Game 2 the Lynx were putting on a clinic with possibly the highlight being a Janel McCarville behind the back pass from the top of the key to Seimone Augustus who buried a mid-range jumper. The crowd was in a party mode pretty much the entire game knowing that until the championship parade, this would be the last time the Lynx would play at home this season.
Lindsey Whalen and Maya Moore may have been the two Lynx players to make the ALL-WNBA 1st team but similar to the 2011 Championship squad, it's veteran Seimone Augustus who has been the squad's MVP and I'd say she is heading towards her 2nd Finals MVP trophy. In the 1st two games of the series she is shooting a cold-blooded 18/27 (67%) and is averaging 19.5 points per game. Augustus has brought her 'A' game while Atlanta's star Angel McCoughtry looks like the female Michael Beasley as she is shooting 11/42 (27%) and averaging 16 points and committing hate crimes on the rims with her errant shots.
Think about that, Augustus has taken 27 shots and has scored 39 points while McCoughtry has taken 42 shots and has 32 points. One star is bright, the other star has faded away into oblivion.
For the series, the Lynx are shooting 53% while Atlanta is shooting a percentage pf 33% is similar to Prowl's half court shot proficiency. The percentages carry right over into the starting units as the Lynx's starters lead Atlanta's 54%-34% on percentage.
The Lynx are attempting to be the 4th WNBA Championship to sweep through the playoffs. The others (Seattle in 2010, LA in 2002 and Houston in 2000). The difference is that the Lynx are blowing teams out. Their average margin of victory in the 2013 playoffs is 16.5 points. That's unreal. Of the other 3 champs that have swept, LA won by 12 points per game, Houston won by 8.7 points per game and Seattle won by 6.7 points per game. Not even close.
The Wild look to be back in typical Wild form after they have opened the season with a pair of home losses to a couple of Californian teams. After opening the season with a shootout loss to the Kings, the Wild doubled down and lost in overtime to the Anaheim Ducks 4-3 on Saturday night. Adding to the disappointment was the news that Charlie Coyle will be out 3-4 weeks with a sprained knee.
The Gophers didn't get the jug. Well, we never get the jug. The traditional rites of fall kicked in when Michigan defeated the Gophers 42-13 on Saturday. Don't be fooled, the Gophers actually gave Michigan a pretty solid scare in the 1st half as Michigan only led 14-7 after the opening 30 minutes.
Overshadowing the score was the fact that Jerry Kill didn't coach Minnesota. Why didn't he coach? Well, he had another seizure which caused him to not make the trip to Michigan.
Fact– The Gophers have played 12 halves of football this year and Jerry Kill has been the head coach for NINE of them. He also missed the 2nd half versus Western Illinois.
Having a coach who can't coach (insert Tim Brewster jokes here) doesn't do anybody any good.
You really expected the Vikings to stay clear of the action this weekend???? In an effort to add even more gray into an already cloudy situation, the Vikings decided to give recently cut QB Josh Freeman $3 million dollars to play on the Vikings this season. If you are paying 3 separate QB's each over $2.5 million a year, you don't have a battle, you have a mess. This likely means the end of the Christian Ponder era, sorry for everyone who bought Ponder jerseys.
The Lynx opened the WNBA Finals versus Atlanta the same way that they opened their other playoff series this season. By kicking the snot out of their opponent in a game that was more of a laugher than a championship level game.
Versus Seattle the Lynx won game 1 by 16, versus Phoenix the margin was 23, so why not beat the Dream by 25 (84-59)
Maya Moore, Seimone Augustus and Monica Wright outscored Atlanta 62-59. That's not good. Atlanta may not suck but they cannot compete with the Lynx. No way. This series will be a sweep, possibly 3-1, but that's it. Get ready to get your seats along the parade route.
If you can, try to get to game 2 on Tuesday night. There was a legit 13K fans on Sunday night and all 13K were going crazy. It was a pretty fun place to be, especially with the Lynx beating down Atlanta.
On Thursday night at the Target Center, the Minnesota Lynx opened the Western Conference Finals by beating the crap out of the Phoenix Mercury by a score of 85-62. Don't be fooled, that score makes it look closer than the game actually was.
It took the Lynx about 10 possessions to get going but once they got going it was pretty clear that this game was not going to be a contest. The Lynx gradually pulled away in the 1st quarter to lead 24-16 when it was over. Then it got ugly.
In the 2nd quarter the Lynx outscored Phoenix 21-6 and held the Mercury to just 2/15 shooting as the Lynx led 45-22 at halftime. That was it, this game was done. In the 2nd half the Lynx would push the lead up to 31 points on multiple occasions to completely embarrass the Mercury.
The Big 3 of Lindsey Whalen, Seimone Augustus and Maya Moore combined to score 58 points which nearly matched the 62 points that ALL of Phoenix scored.
Yes, I shed a tear watching this. Once again it was proven that the Yankees do ceremonies right. Last night Mariano Rivera entered his final home game ever in the 8th inning to a massive ovation. To let the party really pick up steam, the Yankees Manager Joe Girardi decided to remove Rivera with two outs in the 9th inning in order to get Big Mo the ovation he deserved. Girardi didn't remove Rivera though, instead he had fellow Yankees(and fellow 1995's rookies) Andy Pettitte and Derek Jeter do the honors. This is awesome. Loved it.
Tonight at 8 PM on ESPN2 (Our broadcast is on 106.1 on the radio) the Minnesota Lynx participate in their 3rd straight Western Conference Final when they take on the Phoenix Mercury in a best of three series. I'l be court-side(by Lynx bench behind scorers table) so wave at me if you see me on the television. I look good in HD.
The Mercury successfully tanked last season to get college legend Brittany Griner. They now have the Griner and Diana Taurasi combo that could potentially be great. Things this season didn't go as planned and the Mercury fired their coach midway through the season. The Mercury got their act together and actually played like a good team over the final weeks of the season.
Now here we are with the battle of the Lynx and the pre-season hype team of Phoenix now meeting to figure out who will play in the WNBA finals.
My Prediction: Lynx win in three games. Each team will win their home games.
If you need to be entertained, you have to watch this video of former Twins outfielder Carlos Gomez from last night. He's having a breakthrough season but still has a tad of maturing to do. This is still more fun than anything the Twins collection of centerfielders have done this season.
Lost in the disaster of September known as the Vikings 0-3 start combined with the Twins being irrelevant for the 3rd straight September, is that the Minnesota Gophers Football team and the Minnesota Lynx are actually doing good.
The Lynx rolled into the Western Conference Semis as the best team in the WNBA to take on an over-matched Seattle Storm. This was a series that the Lynx should've swept and sure enough they completed the two game sweep on Sunday in Seattle. On Friday night in the opening game, the Lynx were the better team in the opening half but struggled just enough t keep it close as the Lynx led 40-36 at the half. It was just a matter of time until the Lynx got their act together and sure enough the Lynx did as the dominated Seattle in the 2nd half as the Lynx outscored the Storm 40-28 to win 80-64. The Lynx started the 2nd half shooting 68% on 17/25 before they cooled off in garbage time.
On Sunday, the Storm grossed up the game and treated the nationally televised crowd on ESPN2 to a dirty WNBA game. Whether the basketball was pretty or gross, it didn't matter as the Lynx held on to win 58-55 in a game which Minnesota shot 38%. In the playoffs, the wins don't need to be pretty, you just have to win. This Lynx team can win dirty and they can win pretty.
The Lynx will now wait for the winner of Phoenix/LA as they play a deciding 3rd game tonight. The winner of that game will play at Minnesota on Thursday night in Game 1 of the best of three Western Conference Finals. This will be Minnesota's 3rd straight appearance in the WCF. Get your tickets here http://www.wnba.com/lynx/lynxtix/playoffs.html
On Saturday the Gophers had their most impressive win of the young season as they defeated the San Jose State Spartans by a score of 43-24. The Spartans came into the game with a potential 1st round pick playing quarterback while the Gophers entered with a Freshman QB making his 1st collegiate start. The win moved the Gophers to 4-0 as they begin Big Ten play on Saturday at home vs Iowa (Who hates Iowa? We hate Iowa!).
Mitch Leidner started for Minnesota and looked like the 10,000 Lakes version of Tim Tebow as he ran the ball 24 times for 151 yards and FOUR touchdowns. HE'S A QUARTERBACK! In the process Leidner was named CBS Sports Rookie of the Week. To go along with that showcase, running back David Cobb ran the ball 25 times for 125 yards and TWO touchdowns. Minnesota would end up running for a Glen Mason-esque 353 yards on 67 carries. That's some power football against a solid San Jose State team that held powerful Stanford to 34 points. When a team averages 5.3 yards per carry like the Gophers did (on 67 carries) with no run longer than 35 yards, that's a consistent beat-down.
With the 4-0 start the Gophers are now starting to creep onto the national radar of relevance. In the newest USA Today Coaches Poll, the Gophers are receiving votes and have now received the 39th most votes in the country. People are noticing! They also were mentioned by CNNSI as a "Wild Card" team to make noise in the Big Ten.
There is still a lot of work to do and we've seen starts like this before turn into massive disappointment but why can't this season be different? The Gophers catch a break this year by not playing Ohio State (until Big 10 Championship Game) and the rest of the conference seems ripe to lose each week. Many of the teams have big flaws so anything is possible. How fun would it be to get Floyd of Rosedale this week, then get the jug the next weekend by beating Michigan? That would put the Gophers at 6-0 and heading into a bye-week. Let's hope and dream that scenario plays out……..
Brown = Cleveland's Team Name
Brown = Color of poop…aka…the 2013 Vikings
"We've got to get it fixed in a hurry" Leslie Frazier in post-game press conference on Sunday
They did it…..they really did it. The Minnesota Vikings found a way to lose to the lowly Cleveland Browns. Crap like this really only happens to us Minnesotans (even though Cleveland can make a similar case).
Cleveland traded their franchise running back this week, used their 3rd string QB Brian Hoyer and came to the dome with a playbook arsenal similar to how an over-caffenated kid would play Madden which was stocked with fake field goals, fake punts, going for it on 4th down and taking chances. IT WORKED.
"We've got a lot of things to figure out" Leslie Frazier in post-game press conference on Sunday
There was no way the Vikings should've lost to Cleveland by a score of 31-27. No way. Lucky or not, the Vikings were a playoff team last season and improved their personal over the off-season. Cleveland was a bad team last season, changed coaches, traded Trent Richardson, was 0-2 heading into this game and was ripe to lose. The Vikings had to win this game, they just did.
The easy thing to point at as problem child is always Christian Ponder. Yes, Ponder does not create comparisons to Tom Brady, Drew Brees or Aaron Rodgers but he also doesn't make me return to the sick feeling of watching Donovan McNabb throw bounce passes two years ago. Ponder wasn't awful on Sunday, he made some good throws but also made some bad ones.
I really think the offensive line going matador with how they are allowing opposing defenses to breakthough into our backfield is triggering our poor passing attack. On Sunday the Browns had SIX sacks and hit Ponder numerous other times. Yes, Christian may have held the ball a little long a couple of times but if he is dropping back and getting pressured as he is making it to the final drop-back step, the protection sucked. We have seen that far too often this season with opposing defender running nearly untouched at Ponder. That shouldn't happen.
On the opening drive, the line kept Ponder clean and Christian responded by going 3/4 for 52 yards passing and leading the Vikings to a touchdown. He looked like a real quarterback, like what other teams in the NFL have.
After that drive, Cleveland turned up the pressure, the happy feet began and the ball started flying around. At that point he was expecting to get hit, when that happens the trouble isn't on its way, the trouble has arrived. On the final "Hail Mary" the Vikings blocked the four Browns rushing with SIX blockers and it still wasn't enough. GROSS.
The offensive line is also being exposed in our running game. This season Adrian Peterson has ran for 281 yards on 69 carries. OK, not that bad. Well, remove the 78 yard run on his 1st carry of the year and AP is averaging just 2.99 yards a carry. Does AP not know how to run the ball anymore? I don't think so. Are the holes that were gaping last year gone? Yeap. Do we get Jerome Felton back this week and are we praying that he makes a MASSIVE difference? Yeap.
The Vikings offense is not the only culprit in Crapfest 2013, the defense and special teams are making sure to chime in as well.
The defense allowed Brian Hoyer to throw for 321 yards and three touchdowns. Brian Hoyer is not that good. We've now seen Hoyer, Mathew Stafford and Jay Cutler pass at will against the Vikings. Our once solid defense, is a mess. Other than Harrison Smith in the secondary, who else back there has made a play?
Our special teams unit must hate their coach because it looks like they are trying to get him fired. After allowing Devin Hester to run back kicks at will last week, this week the Vikings allowed the Browns to complete a touchdown pass on a fake field goal which occurred a drive after the Browns gained 34 yards on a run from a fake punt situation. Gross.
When you combine all of these faults….. maybe it isn't that tough to figure out why the Vikings lost to the Browns. Off to London the Vikings go to take on the 0-3 Pittsburgh Steelers. Someone has to win……..