Xavier Rhodes entered Sunday’s game as questionable with a groin injury. He didn’t use that as an excuse or try to blame his play on the officiating.
The Minnesota Vikings’ second-year cornerback took responsibility for the plays made against him Sunday in a 30-7 loss to the New England Patriots, and there were plenty of them.
His first quarter wasn’t bad, but it appeared veteran quarterback Tom Brady targeted Rhodes the longer the game elapsed. Fellow cornerback Captain Munnerlyn said he didn’t think that was the case, but it was clear Rhodes was getting frustrated.
“I talked to him and let me know to just let it go. Just let it go, man, it’s football,” Munnerlyn said after the game. “They made plays. They get paid, too. We’re not the only ones getting paid on this side of the ball. They get paid good money and they make plays. We just got to make our share.”
The worst of it may have been in the second quarter on a play that Rhodes doesn’t even show up in the play-by-play. Brady cocked to fire a pass for his favorite receiver in the game, Julian Edelman, and Rhodes missed both the ball and Edelman on the way to a 44-yard pass play, the longest of the game for the Patriots offense. After converting that third down, the Patriots went the remaining 21 yards for a touchdown and a 17-7 lead.
“I was just playing my game. I was playing what I came to do and be aggressive in press man and that’s what I was doing,” Rhodes said.
The third quarter was especially damaging as the score started to get away from the Vikings. On the fourth play of the second half, Rhodes was flagged for pass interference. That was a 12-yard penalty.
Late in the third quarter, it got even worse. He was called for defensive holding, a penalty that was declined because Edelman still caught the 12-yard pass. One play later, Rhodes was flagged for pass interference on Edelman as the two players had their arms around each other.
“I’m an aggressive player. That’s in my game, being aggressive. The receiver was, too, and I guess it was a 50-50 and the referees called what they call,” he said.
“It was a 50-50 call. I can say that. I was being aggressive along with their receivers being aggressive.”
Said Vikings coach Mike Zimmer: “They were called so I’m assuming they were good calls. These officials do a good job. We’ve got to do a better job of getting him in better position than what he was.”
Munnerlyn just encouraged Rhodes to forget those penalties and play on.
“You’ve got to let things go. Being a younger guy, you can’t just dwell on the past. You’ve got to let it go and go onto the next play,” Munnerlyn said. “If you’re over there thinking about it, teams see that and they come at you some more. You’ve just got to let things go and move on.”
Rhodes declined to use his groin injury as an excuse and took responsibility for his play and his penalties.
“Penalties killed us. Turnovers and penalties killed us. We need to work on it, look at film and work on that,” he said. “I myself personally need to just go out there and tweak some things about myself. I was penalized a lot this game.
“… I just need to go in the film and see what I did wrong, see where they had the chance to call the penalty on me. I feel like I was there, I was being aggressive on the receiver, close on him, and I don’t know where the penalty came so I have to go on the film and see.”
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.
Vikings CB Rhodes takes ownership of mistakes
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