Twenty years ago, following a 38-6 loss to Denver, Eagles head coach Buddy Ryan said of the defeat, “It was an old-fashioned butt kicking and we provided the butt.”
Twenty years later, there wasn’t much more that needed to be said following the Minnesota Vikings’ 38-7 dismantling at the hands of the Seattle Seahawks.
The numbers summarized it but couldn’t truly tell the entire story of a day that was a nightmare for a Vikings team looking to make a statement and keep a one-game lead in the NFC North.
The offense stunk. The defense got pushed around. The only points of the day came from the special teams. It was brutal from start to finish.
What made it worse was that, like the humbling loss to the Packers two weeks earlier at TCF Bank Stadium, it seemed so inevitable early on in the game and got worse as the game progressed.
“We didn’t get anything going,” guard Brandon Fusco said. “It was kind of like the Green Bay game. We made ourselves one-dimensional. It just turned into a pass-fest. That’s not us. Our game is to run the ball and be physical to the defense. We got embarrassed today.”
The Vikings offense crossed midfield only twice. They converted just two of 10 third downs. They averaged only 2.6 yards on the 48 plays they ran, which included just 1.9 yards on their 16 rushing attempts.
The offense accounted for just 125 yards, by far its lowest total of the season. To put that in perspective, Adrian Peterson has accounted for that many or more yards by himself on the ground in five games.
But it wasn’t only the offense that stunk up the joint. The defense did more than its part to help account for the lopsided final score, which has become a painful trend in potential statement games.
“We’re getting our butt kicked when we lose these games,” cornerback Captain Munnerlyn said. “It hasn’t been close at all. I don’t know, man. We’ve got to fix it and fix it soon.”
The Vikings allowed Russell Wilson and the Seattle offense to roll up 433 yards. Wilson had a passer rating of 146.0, completing 21 of 27 passes for 274 yards and three TDs. Rookie Thomas Rawls ran for 101 yards. Wilson would have run for more than 100 as well, if not for a penalty that called back a 53-yard touchdown. Wide receiver Doug Baldwin caught five passes for 94 yards and two touchdowns.
As badly as the offense played, it could be argued the defense was just as bad or worse.
It didn’t help that the Vikings were without arguably their top three defensive players – Linval Joseph was out with a foot injury and both Anthony Barr (groin) and Harrison Smith (hamstring) were lost for the game in the first quarter. But veteran Terence Newman said not having the full complement of players is no rationalization for the team’s poor play.
“We’ve had guys go down on both sides of the ball,” Newman said. “That’s no excuse. Guys play with injuries. That’s no excuse. That’s why there are as many players as we have on the team. It has to be the next man up.”
The frustration the Vikings felt throughout the day was complete and thorough. It started early on and never let up as the game went on. On the big stage looking to send a message that the Vikings are ready for prime time, once again they made an emphatic statement that would suggest otherwise.
“It was pretty steady throughout the day,” linebacker Chad Greenway said. “We had a lot of second- and third-down situations where we could have got off the field. We had penalties today, which was kind of indicative of how we played against Green Bay. We were kind of shooting ourselves in the foot, which is what we really haven’t done. We can’t let that become us as the season drags on.”
What made the beating even worse was that the Vikings didn’t appear to put up much of a fight. There wasn’t a lot of emotion. It seemed more like resignation to their fate.
“We didn’t bring it today,” Newman said. “This is all on the players, I think. We didn’t bring any emotion or any attitude today. That’s definitely on us. We have to get that corrected and get back to work tomorrow.”
If there is good news, it’s that the Vikings won’t have long to dwell on this loss. With a road game Thursday at Arizona, the Vikings will have to clear their heads of Sunday’s loss in hurry.”
If anything, it should be easy to try to forget. Whether that’s possible or not is another story because, for the second straight home game, the Vikings have fallen flat with a chance to cement their spot in the playoff positioning.
“It definitely hurts, because we’re definitely capable of playing a much better game,” wide receiver Jarius Wright said. “We had a couple of chances to make statements in the league by beating Green Bay and then turning around and beating Seattle. We’ve still got a four-game season left, but those are two we let get away. I just hope it doesn’t come back to hurt us down the line.”