Arizona Cardinals quarterback John Skelton dropped back to pass 43 times Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings. Not once did the Vikings bring a blitz his way.
Skelton completed 25 of 36 passes for 262 yards, one touchdown and one interception, but despite sending no blitzes, the Vikings sacked Skelton seven times.
"I know we've had some multiple sack games. I don't know if we've done it that effectively without blitzing, though, because in the past we probably would have mixed in a little bit more pressure than we did yesterday," Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said Monday. "That was the goal, to go into this game and be able to generate a pass rush without having to bring five or six guys and our D-line stepped up to the challenge. They dominated just like we had hoped that they would and really took a lot of pressure off our secondary and helped them to play a very good game as well. It was great execution but it started with our guys up front."
Brian Robison – going against oft-beaten right tackle Bobby Massie, who entered the game giving up a league-high 9.5 sacks – led the charge with three sacks and Jared Allen added two. Kevin Williams added his first sack of the season and Antoine Winfield also beat Robison to another sack when Winfield left his fullback in the flat to come up and meet Skelton for a 2-yard loss on fourth-and-1.
The fact that the Vikings got to a Cardinals quarterback seven times shouldn't be a surprise. That's what the Cardinals were averaging over the previous three games, and they now have given up 29 sacks in their last four games, the most by any NFL team over a four-game span since the Cardinals themselves were sacked 29 times over four games in November 1997, according to Elias Sports Bureau. The last time that happened to another team, according to Elias, was in 1986 when the Eagles pulled off that dubious feat.
What may be a bit surprising in the scenario is that the Vikings' sacks came against Skelton while Kevin Kolb was the victim in the previous three games – tacking eight sacks against Miami, nine against St. Louis and five against Buffalo. Skelton hadn't played since he started the regular-season opener, but he took only one sack in that game.
Teams tend to want to blitz experienced quarterbacks, but that was the case for the Vikings against Skelton, who was making his second start of the season and the 13th of his three-year career.
"We just felt like for us and where we were and where we thought they were as a team that this was the best strategy. And if we could execute it, we felt like it could give us the results that we wanted in order to be successful as a team, as a defense. It worked out just that way. It worked out perfectly for us. We were able to generate the pressure, didn't give up the big plays over the top of the defense and made other players have to make plays for them. We knew it might hurt us a little bit in the run game but it turned out to be the right thing to do."
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.
Vikings create pressure without the blitz
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